Onboarding New Employees
Onboarding a new employee is a process that arms them with the knowledge and confidence they need to be successful in their role.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hi, welcome to the Close The Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny. And today we’re going to be talking about onboarding new employees. I’m joined by my cohost Ronn burner. He’s back with us today. So welcome Ronn.
[00:00:13] Ronn Burner: Thank you, Kevin. Happy to be back.
[00:00:15] Kevin Dieny: So we’re going to be talking about onboarding new employees, because it’s actually something that we’ve heard from our feedback. From asking our listeners, asking people, what would you like to hear about? And one of those topics was hiring, onboarding, and so I’ve put together this topic, we’re going to be diving into the onboarding part.
[00:00:34] Kevin Dieny: We’ve talked in the past about hiring, and we’ve touched a little bit about onboarding, but now we are going to go a little bit more into focusing this entire episode on how to successfully onboard new employees. So you’ve hired somebody, you spent a lot of time, I’ve heard a lot of people say hiring sucks. Hiring is terrible.
[00:00:51] Kevin Dieny: Hiring is just, uh, uncomfortable, uh, like tedious thing. And once it’s over, it’s like, oh, I can get back to, I could take that time I was spending, hiring and put in another things. So you’ve spent a ton of resources, trying to get someone in. And now you need to train them, take that hired person, and give them the tools, the education, the knowledge download that they need to be successful in whatever role you hired them for.
[00:01:18] Kevin Dieny: And there’s quite a lot of roles in quite a lot of different formats for this and a lot of different industries. So, uh, Ronn and I have an interesting background of experience. So we’ll be, we’ll be jumping into that and I guess. Uh, question to throw it over to you, Ronn is why do, why do companies bother doing the onboarding for new employees?
[00:01:39] Ronn Burner: I mean, I think it’s a transition because usually. When you’re hiring, there’s a need for them, right? So the people that are already there are wearing multiple hats and doing things which can be a little bit disjointed or a little bit discombobulating. Even for them that are there, whose role is this technically is not my, we need another person.
[00:01:59] Ronn Burner: So it’s confusing for the people that have been there along for the whole ride to begin with. So when somebody new comes on, you really want to cater to their, to the specific role that they’re going to be in. So you want to catch them up as best as you can. Just to try to get them somewhere near the knowledge base that you’re at on where something currently is so that they can actually kind of apply their experience.
[00:02:22] Ronn Burner: Ideally you’re hiring them in a very specific area of need, and they’re already an expert, so to speak our subject matter expert in that area. So when they come on board and during the process of explaining to them and catching them up. They’re seeing things and hopefully learning things. And immediately identifying areas where, okay, I can improve on this or I can step right in.
[00:02:46] Ronn Burner: But I will say that is so much easier said than done.
[00:02:52] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, so what do you think if a company, let’s say there’s two a companies says two different things. So company A says, okay, you’re on our typical onboarding process is about six months. And then company B says, all right, you know, day one, you’re going to go, you’re expected to perform. So those are two drastically different onboarding lengths.
[00:03:13] Kevin Dieny: So what do you think of about those two possibilities?
[00:03:16] Ronn Burner: Well, as the person being hired and stepping into the role. During the interview, you’re always, or not always, but typically you’re like, yeah, I’m ready to go throw me into the fire kind of a thing. I find, even with my experience and education and quote unquote subject matter expert in marketing automation in gen strategy in general, even that, with that background.
[00:03:40] Ronn Burner: I’m terrified. I don’t like that. I thought I did, but the getting thrown into the fire situation because there’s so many moving parts. And every company is different, especially if you’re talking like we’re talking specifically about marketing. And there are very, very different philosophies and even terminology, you hear contacts and leads and prospects and the funnel.
[00:04:04] Ronn Burner: Everything is all. You need to learn how the organization is doing what they’re doing. You need to relearn the language because they may be using…. The definitions differently than the way you’ve known them. So getting thrown into the fire of marketing is something that I am absolutely opposed to these days after experience.
[00:04:24] Ronn Burner: I’ve recently onboarded for a major company, very large Kaiser and they all have an extensive onboarding process. Like to the point of almost crawling, even the HR took three weeks, you know. HR being there, just watching videos and stuff. But the, as far as the learning goes, you get set up with people that are in departments that you’re going to work with just as an, as an introductory level.
[00:04:52] Ronn Burner: And then just being a fly on the wall for months. Like there, I wasn’t asked to do anything for months because I was a fly on the wall to learn basically. And even with that, it was difficult because it’s so many, I mean, we’re talking our vendor list alone is, you know, five pages of, of just marketing stack, just the marketing stack.
[00:05:18] Ronn Burner: So getting your credentials and getting those things is it’s it’s work.
[00:05:23] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, it’s like day one. It’s like, here’s a manual, a an encyclopedia collection of, of everything you need to know about this company. That, being handed a manual. It, I would say is one of my least favorite ways of being onboarded because, oh, I mean, there could be lots of contexts in the manual, but it’s just not exciting.
[00:05:46] Kevin Dieny: Not it’s, it feels like you may may read through this whole book and then you’re like in school and you’re going to be quizzed on, you know, what one sentence said and it kind of does feel scary to have that. Okay, here’s the manual, go get them. Instead of, okay, here’s the manual as like a backup reference, ’cause, you know, you may not always have access to ask somebody a question. And you may just need to have this information somewhere.
[00:06:14] Kevin Dieny: These manuals are like PDFs now, and then there are all the opposite side of that spectrum is like, there’s no manual for this, everything you’re going to learn. You either take your knowledge, you have going at coming in, and then you’re going to have to digest everything that I tell you, or that you learn on the job, which is a lot more like in the fire.
[00:06:32] Kevin Dieny: I like to think of it as, and there’s a lot of formats for onboarding. But I like to think of a pretty good format being that you start out with learning about the company’s resources. That means getting to know your team, people, right. You know what, you know, your setup’s going to be your computer or PC or Mac.
[00:06:51] Kevin Dieny: Sometimes that throws people off. Like email formats they’re used to scheduling, like, how do you schedule meetings? How do you get in touch with people? Some companies have slack, some people have Microsoft teams or something else.
[00:07:02] Kevin Dieny: And so I look at that as like the resources to get, to know what resources you have, who you have to ask and who you have to talk to before, like going full into the deep end right away. Seems a little daunting, but some, some industries, I think it has to work way, right. Have you ever had, do you have any experience where you felt like you were thrown in the deep end, right off from the beginning?
[00:07:25] Ronn Burner: Uh, I would say two areas, I’ve worked in have been. My undergrad is, is exercise, physiology, kinesiology. And when I stepped into run health clubs, I mean, I needed to know about the human body. I needed to know how to treat. I needed to know how to help people, whether it be safety, injury, CPR, all of these things.
[00:07:45] Ronn Burner: So you’re on the floor and you’re working one-on-one with individuals, for speed and acceleration programs or whatever their needs are. Regardless of age and athletic ability. Everybody, is unique in that way. You’re not learning on the job for that. They want, I mean, you’re not a doctor of course, by any stretch, but at the same time you are, you have other people’s health and wellbeing in your own hands.
[00:08:08] Ronn Burner: So you don’t want to have them doing things that are unsafe, that that are just not smart. That was one element. And I would say another one. I also worked in the NFL in research, and as a producer and coming from the entertainment background as well. You really don’t go there to learn. You should know entertainment very well.
[00:08:29] Ronn Burner: And you should be as well, knowledgeable as you can, about the sport about NFL, but everything that’s going on. There’s no time to learn, it’s kinda, you’re thrown into the fire and those, those two specifically, but they made sense. And there was little fear in either one of those situations because of.
[00:08:49] Ronn Burner: I probably, I probably was overconfident in both of those as a matter of fact saying, Hey, this is X. This is all at that time in my life is like, this is all I know. So of course I could do it all. And then as we get older now in marketing is so many years in working and getting thrown into the fire. Like I alluded to, it’s like, okay, this let’s let’s pump the brakes.
[00:09:07] Ronn Burner: And I keep it simple in my mind. I always say goal action obstacles. So you were talking about the manual, uh, and talking about reading. I agree with you, the manual. It’s not that it’s daunting, but you don’t know what you’re, you’re just reading it. And as you’re reading it, everything makes perfect sense to you.
[00:09:23] Ronn Burner: Right. But you’re not applying it. And that’s where things become more, like the resources you’re using to solve these problems, are used. And you’re finding out where the resources are to solve them and you’re applying it. And you’re actually thinking, because I can tell you that when I was going through some of the….
[00:09:40] Ronn Burner: I’m a Marketo automation user. And when Kaiser was going through them, all the marketing automations that they have in place. So the person that had built them, the subject matter expert prior to my arrival is walking me through them and saying, this is why we did what we did, what we did.
[00:09:55] Ronn Burner: And of course. If they’re robust, they’re sophisticated. I’m like, well, yeah, it makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. That’s a far cry from completely reading it and understanding it because I don’t, I’m not applying anything, right. So now if I need to go build some very sophisticated segmented, um, sort of dynamic program, now, all of a sudden it’s like, okay, this is, I, I need to understand the fields.
[00:10:18] Ronn Burner: I need to understand that what success looks like. So to me, every question, no matter how big or small is goal, action to, to achieve that goal, an obstacle preventing you from getting to that goal. Work in that kind of mentality. So it’s like I needed the goal. I needed the obstacle to overcome. And the actions I’m going to take.
[00:10:38] Ronn Burner: What is your experience? Especially with onboarding, like from the Y like you T my knowing you, you’re kind of the subject matter expert that typically comes in and implements, like what you do, right. Rather than you learning what the company does. And you just kind of fallen in line with that.
[00:10:56] Ronn Burner: You’re more, you’re gonna have a little bit more direction as you’re bringing two organizations, typically, is that right?
[00:11:02] Kevin Dieny: Yes, I have experienced from like a lot of things, sometimes not even in marketing, but the experiences where I jumped into the fire or were closer to like when I first started doing jobs and doing work. And a lot of times it was like, okay, you know how to sweep a floor? Go!?
[00:11:19] Kevin Dieny: You know how to do this go, you know how to, you know, like I remember the first time I was, I was working with a register. Taking cash and stuff. I remember thinking, like I had this thought like, wow, this is a lot of trust placed in me. Cause there’s a lot of money in here. I mean, relative to me at the time, I’m just like a young kid.
[00:11:37] Kevin Dieny: I remember thinking there’s a lot of money in here. A lot of trust for not training me, like how to do this, well. I worked for El Pollo Loco at the time they, they made it, so that look, you just work the register. And then when it reaches a certain amount, someone else will come in and take it from you.
[00:11:52] Kevin Dieny: And when you need money, you ask and then someone else will ring your register. I didn’t have to do everything. So they took away all the hard parts about the job, so that I think they could hire people who needed to be trusted less, that needed a whole lot less skill because all they have to do is talk to people and press the button on the screen.
[00:12:08] Kevin Dieny: They didn’t have to be responsible for making sure every penny matched and everything. Later, like the longer I was there, the more they’re like, okay, now you’ve got to make sure the money in your register is accurate. Now you’re going to make sure at the end, that matches up with the total on the screen.
[00:12:21] Kevin Dieny: And then now you’re going to be working at totally different area. So, I could see how they evolve the skills over time and gave me more and more responsibility. But there’s another format that I’m not super familiar with, but I have a lot of family and friends who do stuff and that’s like apprenticeship.
[00:12:38] Kevin Dieny: So that’s a style of onboarding where it’s like, look, you’re kind of jumping in the deep end, but I’ll be there with you. I’m jumping in with you. Like that, that might be the step up from jumping into the deep end and getting right into the fire right off the bat is someone being like, look, I’ve been doing this for a long time.
[00:12:55] Kevin Dieny: Eventually you’ll be able to do it on your own, like plumbers, electricians. A lot of times they have this format. Carpenters, welding will do this. And so you, you jump in and they guide you, walk you. They may give you little tasks, but over time you’re given, you’re given more skills, more.
[00:13:10] Kevin Dieny: Responsibility, larger projects, less of them watching every little thing you do. Less micromanagement because I think almost everyone strays away from intense micromanagement. Cause they, they want the ability to see how they’re doing without being critiqued to every second of it. You know what they’re doing?
[00:13:26] Kevin Dieny: So I think apprenticeship is probably that next step up of an onboarding format where it’s not a hundred percent deep end. Have you ever experienced an apprenticeship?
[00:13:38] Ronn Burner: I have in, I guess, if you want to call an internship and an apprenticeship, because I had it, my internship for my undergrad. I had to, I had to work a year in a hospital. And I chose cardiac patients, cause I knew I was going to be working with athletes when I, for a career, at that time. So I specifically chose cardiac.
[00:13:58] Ronn Burner: I love older people because there’s a whole story. The elderly have amazing stories that we don’t know anything about, right. We just assume they’re old people. Well, there, they had, they were once 20 years old as well, and I loved working with them. And of course, you know, I’m what, 22 years old or however old you are senior in college.
[00:14:18] Ronn Burner: Yeah, I was definitely not thrown to the wolves in that setting, right. There’s a, what I would consider an apprenticeship. Because I’m with a nurse at all times, and they’re walking me through every step of the way of what their day looks like.
[00:14:33] Ronn Burner: It’s the resilience in, in old men who have open-heart surgery and they need to be up and walking within a day, think about that. That’s insanity. So I’m viewing surgeries, apprenticeship, right? I’m just sitting there. They’re telling me what they’re doing through glass. I’m not in the room, but it’s through glass and I’m sitting there observing and their sawing open a chest and, and doing whatever.
[00:14:59] Ronn Burner: Oh, it’s insane. And they’re doing whatever they’re doing, but I’m being kind of talked through it a little bit under the breath. While the doctors are doing this, we’re talking about movies, it’s insane. It’s the most craziest experience I’ve ever had in my life. Like that’s how casual doctors are knowing what they’re doing.
[00:15:14] Ronn Burner: So anyway, they would go into recovery post op obviously. Certainly needed lots of rest and they were kind of out on anesthesia for most of them a day. But once they’re off that next day. Literally, we stand them up and walk them. And of course they weren’t going to leave that all in my hands. I was just there completely as an apprentice, watching them do it to other people in.
[00:15:35] Ronn Burner: Until trusted in me enough to do, to walk into give exercise and comfort and conversation and all the things necessary for post-op major surgery. That’s really my only experience that comes to mind, I guess I did build houses. In high school and college for that kind of money that you needed back then, like El Pollo Loco.
[00:15:56] Ronn Burner: And I certainly didn’t know how to build a house and I certainly didn’t know how to pour concrete and do all those things. So of course I was not technically an apprentice. However my friends were, as you alluded to. They’re all a lot of electricians and plumbers and that’s union work. So the, those union jobs is where the apprenticeship really comes in. Is that is you have to kind of like earn your stripes, especially in the electric electricians.
[00:16:20] Ronn Burner: You have to earn their stripes because of course it’s highly dangerous. But that’s about the extent of my apprenticeship knowledge. Haven’t seen it. Can’t really think of where it’s applied outside of what you alluded to, those gigs.
[00:16:34] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, well, there are companies where an onboarding takes longer. And it could be the industry, like you mentioned, there’s industry apprenticeships, healthcare like doctors, uh, they’re not just finishing school and then jumping into that role. There’s a lot of time they have to spend. Residency and other things, uh, to perfect the art of practicing.
[00:16:58] Kevin Dieny: Cause it’s, it’s. There’s a lot of risk. Maybe that’s one reason that makes onboarding longer. If there’s a lot of risk for the, maybe for the company, for the employee, maybe to the end customer or patient or whatever. So something about onboarding and makes it take longer, right? And the answer is probably, well, when it’s necessary, it takes longer when we need them to learn more.
[00:17:18] Kevin Dieny: When there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot that they have to learn by experience. Like it could be like, look putting a nail into the wood is not kind of going to take long to learn. But where to put it when to put it different types of nails, lengths, wood, I mean, you know, spacing. It, it can get to the point where it’s like, yeah, there is a lot of stuff here and it might be too much to learn in a quick amount of time.
[00:17:41] Kevin Dieny: Simultaneously, there’s probably industries where it’s like, look, there’s just an infinite amount of stuff to learn. The only way you’re going to do it is if you’re actually doing it. Is if you get thrown in, in a sense, and then you, you can make a lot of mistakes because the risk is low. So I think a lot of that contributes to, to making it longer. But there’s a, there’s one other aspect of onboarding I wanted to ask you about.
[00:18:02] Kevin Dieny: And that is once you walk a new employee to the resources. Here’s other employees, here’s HR if you have a problem or a question about your benefits. Here’s the employees you’re going to be working with, right. Get to know them.
[00:18:13] Kevin Dieny: Here’s who’s been here a long time. Here’s the new hire before you, right. Here is your boss. Here is my bosses boss. Here’s like how the company’s organized, your computer. Once the resources are out of the way, right. I think the next step is the process.
[00:18:28] Kevin Dieny: Here’s how we do do the work, right? Here’s the order we do it. Here’s the priorities we’ve placed in certain things. Here is, what is important to us, like values. Here’s the key performance indicators. Here’s sales or revenues, a goal. But in other things it’s like.
[00:18:44] Kevin Dieny: You know how long we spend on a job, how, you know, the feedback we get from selling a car, the returning patients and how well they’re receiving, the experience. How much they paid for something, you know, there’s lots of measurements of success and you need to communicate to the role, right?
[00:19:02] Kevin Dieny: Here’s how you’re measured. Here’s what the company is trying to do. Here’s how we go about doing that. And so teaching process or being taught process. Can, can be a little tedious, but do you have any experience there?
[00:19:16] Ronn Burner: I have and not only that I have experience preaching process. I think process from the marketer standpoint is absolutely imperative. In my opinion. I think you need to understand, again, it’s goal, action, obstacle. You need to absolutely understand why you’re doing something. The couple of things I always say in marketing is, then what? Everybody has this great idea.
[00:19:39] Ronn Burner: Then I say, then what? Like then what, because the picture is always somewhere else, especially if we’re talking about a customer journey. And in marketing, that’s essentially what we’re always talking about in a roundabout way. Because without the customer, there isn’t any other marketing anyway. And without the conversion, which is all why we measure it.
[00:19:55] Ronn Burner: So my process elements are really key. I think your leader should put the, the, the person being onboarded in a position to succeed. So they’re coming in and they’re clearly defining and clearly explaining, you know, what their role is, what they’re here to do and, and reassuring them, you know, we’ll, we’ll get you there, you know, but nothing to fear at the moment.
[00:20:20] Ronn Burner: I’m going to even queue them up. I’m going to ask you in our meeting and our weekly meeting or whatever meeting we have, I’m going to come to you. I’m going to ask you this. And what that does is it builds confidence because they know what they’re going to be asking. They’re prepared to answer that in front of a group.
[00:20:33] Ronn Burner: So now their voice is being heard and now they’re feeling like they belong. Now they feel like they matter. That is additional in addition to actually learning and process, that is actually like making them feel a part of it. So queuing them up those little wins. And that just speaking confidently in front of people that you don’t really know all that well, because you’re onboarding and in doing your piece, um, that to me is a big part of the process.
[00:20:58] Ronn Burner: The manager, the leader, putting you in a position to succeed for the big picture. So you mentioned KPIs. That’s also part of the process where they need to know where they’re headed and where the organization is headed. So, they know what their focus is from a roundabout way, at least, uh, at least a guidepost to say, if I know what my end goal is or what my KPIs are, at least I know where my train of thought should be. Where everything should be kind of thinking along these lines, just for a general guidelines.
[00:21:27] Ronn Burner: The other thing I think is really important is, for onboarding specifically, and it gets back to setting that comfort level. Is here’s where we are today. This is our current state of affairs in the entire marketing ecosystem. This is exactly where we are today. Here’s our end goal.
[00:21:46] Ronn Burner: All the diagrams and all the talk and forget numbers per se. Just talk about the scaling. You want something sustainable and scalable. So this is our end goal is this is where we want to get. So this is how we’re going to get there. Now that’s where you come in. Like, this is how we’re going to get there.
[00:22:00] Ronn Burner: So once they thoroughly understand where the company is, where the organization is at the point, and then how are we going to grow together and move together, then the person being hired. I like to think that. Early access is how I think of myself and tell I am there on a knowledge base and tell them caught up to you in some way.
[00:22:16] Ronn Burner: Then when we start expanding upon this to get to the desired state. Now is when I can really offer my expertise and my experience, because this is how I’ve seen it go. And this is how I would do things. Or here’s how I would improve things. And maybe not even improve them. I see that you’ve done something in the strategy in automation and touch points and sequencing.
[00:22:37] Ronn Burner: And I see you’ve done something differently than I’ve traditionally done in the past. Can I ask you why you do that? So then now you’re having this conversation but conversation is learning and learning for both sides is really, really helpful. And that’s part, in my opinion, that’s part of the process rather than a.
[00:22:53] Ronn Burner: First we’re going to do this, then we’re going to do this. Then you’re going to do that. That’s a whole that is processed, but that’s a different process that, that sound, when you’re getting into the deliverables. Like now we have a project and we need A, B and C to happen. You know what I mean by that?
[00:23:09] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, yeah. I think of a process is something a company has used for a while. It doesn’t have to be per se, but it’s something that company has found is successful. Or it’s something that a company is trying to make successful. So a lot of times process is the thing a company is less willing to change. Our manager or your boss or whatever.
[00:23:30] Kevin Dieny: They’d be like, look, this is how we do it at a different company, that was successful. You might’ve done it a different way, but here we do it this way. And as a new onboarded employee, you might be like, well, you brought me in here with experience and I did do things a different way, you know. I want to learn the new way, but at some point there, you might have to decide like, is this for me?
[00:23:51] Kevin Dieny: And I think that, that comes down to like where process runs up into culture, right? So this is the way we do it here. And here’s why we do it that way, because this person always drops the ball. So that’s why we always do it. And you’re like, oh wow. So our whole process is wrapped around someone who’s dropping the ball kind of odd.
[00:24:11] Kevin Dieny: Or another time it’s like, look, we’re doing it this way because this is what corporate says or we’re doing it this way because the law says, or whatever it is. It’s setting parameters around it. And that’s why maybe they’re doing it. But within the parameters, there might be a couple of ways to do it.
[00:24:26] Kevin Dieny: Whatever it is they’ve chosen and stake down, this is how we’re going to do things. It sometimes is a pattern that exists everywhere else. I like to think of it as well, the process is loose here and it’s loose there and it’s loose over here and it’s kind of tight there, but it’s again loose there.
[00:24:42] Kevin Dieny: So there’s like, wow. Process is there. It’s fairly loose everywhere. So to me, so then if you think about it, that way, the culture is that processes are a little bit looser here and that’s this company. And some people are like, I love that. Cause I love having wiggle room and other people are like, uh, the processes being loose, make it really hard to see what’s working.
[00:25:05] Kevin Dieny: It might be really hard to see why it’s not working. It might also be difficult for other people to learn because it’s like, okay, I went with this guy today and learned how to spray for pest control. And then I went with a different guy and he does it a totally different way. And I was like, well, I was told by this guy, that’s the way you have to do it because of the rules.
[00:25:25] Kevin Dieny: And this guy says the rules don’t matter. So it’s like, well, man, at the end of the day, onboarding a new employee has to figure out, okay, you know, do I want to job hunt again? Do I want to quit this job? Do I want to start looking again? Is this the culture I want? And so sometimes they just, you know, I’ll just go along with this.
[00:25:44] Kevin Dieny: This is the work I want, or this is, I’m fine with this. Let’s see how it goes for a while, but culture is a big deal. So what do you think about onboarding new employees and then figuring out whether the cultures for them or not?
[00:25:55] Ronn Burner: Well, I think one thing to avoid, and this has happened to me in multiple stops. Too much information, you can, you get paralysis by analysis because when you’re new, you’re eager, you want to learn everything and you want to know everything. So on one hand, it’s good to that the company has given you all of those things.
[00:26:12] Ronn Burner: I also know that going meeting to meeting. Department to department and just getting fed stuff. You might know marketing from a overall standpoint, but you don’t really know how things are done in, in the particular business that you’re at and per se. You know on some level.
[00:26:28] Ronn Burner: Look how confusing it is for the people that have been there for years. Like there’s a lot going on, right. They’ve been there for years. You’re there for day one and you’re thrown into all these meetings and you’re just getting bombarded with information and yes, you need that information, but you just can’t get it all at the same time.
[00:26:45] Ronn Burner: Not only that you can’t retain it, it’s like months later things will come up and you’re like, oh, okay. Now I remember this conversation day one, when they told me everything. That’s the trick really is the pace of onboarding and the information that’s that they should have and when they should have it. I found most places, I just get thrown into the weeds from too quickly, from not necessarily on what I need to do on a day to day for my job. But into information that I’m just not ready for yet, simply because I don’t understand.
[00:27:16] Ronn Burner: How things are working to, even to that point. So it’s hard to understand points B and C when I’m not clear on A yet. That’s one thing that I really think is the bomb boarding of information all at one time.
[00:27:30] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s what you make a really good point about the pacing. And then the organization, the order of onboarding. Those are huge. And if you get them wrong, let’s say an employee, new hire partway through says it is not for them. And they leave. Now, okay, now why did that happen?
[00:27:50] Kevin Dieny: I like to look at it like until someone is completed onboarding and the manager, I think a leader has a point where they’re like, I trust this person’s onboarded. They’re done with the onboarding at that point on, I think the responsibility of the onboarding shifts off the manager’s plate and in there they’re done with it.
[00:28:08] Kevin Dieny: But until that point has reached, I think it really is the responsibility of the, the onboarding person and the hiring person. If it’s separate, if it’s the same person, maybe better. The responsibility, on making sure this person is set up for success, relies on them. And so, they may need feedback, like from someone like you saying, yeah.
[00:28:29] Kevin Dieny: You gave me the org chart and told me to memorize this, and then later explained who was actually important to ask for certain questions. And so I didn’t really remember who it was. And then when I had questions, I didn’t remember who it was. Cause I it’s not something I needed or whatever it is.
[00:28:47] Kevin Dieny: Right, so like the, the cart came before the horse. And so it was hard to put it together into a contextual way. At the end of the day, though, I think the whoever’s responsible for onboarding an employee, wants them off their plate. Because they want to move on and do other things. And they’re responsible for it because if you know, you spend, I don’t know, four, six weeks onboarding someone and then they leave.
[00:29:10] Kevin Dieny: Now you have to restart hiring. That’s going to take time. We know from previous discussions and stats, it was something like 30 to 90 days is the average time it takes to hire a new person. Then you have to onboard them another six weeks probably. And then hope at that point, they, they are the right fit. So over time, you’re just cycling through this process, doing this over and over again.
[00:29:29] Kevin Dieny: And with some employees, they may get it quicker in the beginning than others. Others may, you know, take it really slow. It may not all relate to like the quality of the employees. So, but I still think, it falls on the onus of the manager who’s responsible for how well onboarding goes. What do you think?
[00:29:48] Ronn Burner: Right, I do think it falls on them. I also think it goes a step earlier in the interview process. I think you want to be very specific and clear. Almost what they could expect, because that will, I know as a person that gets interviewed for roles to move throughout my career. I always say, I let them know straight up very professionally of course, but like we’re vetting each other here, right?
[00:30:13] Ronn Burner: It’s not like the only job possibility in the world for you. So if you’re, if you’re desperate, you probably wouldn’t say that. But in the grand scheme of things, really what you’re doing is you’re vetting the company. That’s employing that that’s, that’s interviewing you. As well as they’re vetting you.
[00:30:28] Ronn Burner: So in that process, if the manager’s very, very clear with the role that they want this job to be and this person and how they want to take them and how they foresee them going and grow and growing. And all of those things. If you’re very clear with all of that, the employee, the interviewee is going to obviously ask questions back because it’s the choice that they’re going to make and is a big deal.
[00:30:53] Ronn Burner: So that kind of back and forth will really tip off on both sides on how things are going. So that is all handled well in the interview process was once again, the onus is on the manager, right? It’s they’re the ones, that are doing it. So then when it gets to the actual onboarding process with the manager it’s not a lot of surprises.
[00:31:09] Ronn Burner: There’s not a lot of tricks. And if there is then shame on you and no wonder they’re leaving and going to a better opportunity, because the picture wasn’t painted quite as, the interview process led them to believe. And that’s, that’s back on the manager again. But I do agree with you. It’s pretty much a manager’s responsibility and that’s why I think transparency and even something you mentioned earlier about not knowing how long the loosey goosey culture and environment. But that’s where SLA has come in.
[00:31:36] Ronn Burner: So I think I have confidence in an organization when I know specifically that this is the ask, this is the work that’s going to be done. We’re having meetings constantly to, to work out this process. As we alluded to, and in this process, we determined the SLA is basically in that moment. The service length agreement of how long it’s going to take you to get what you need to get.
[00:32:04] Ronn Burner: And that puts pressure on them. So you’re not waiting around. So the culture becomes, there’s two days, it’s gonna take them two days to, for this release or for this, process to happen to, for them to complete the work required. That’s a comfort, in my opinion, that’s a comforting feeling. I like knowing the timeline.
[00:32:22] Ronn Burner: I like knowing when to expect something from somebody else. And I like knowing how much is on my plate that I need to take care of to get to them. Because like you said, when they get to that meeting and they’re like, oh yeah, I’m not ready yet. Or that kind of a thing. And they’re like, ah, okay, well, how long am I gonna have to wait?
[00:32:38] Ronn Burner: That’s not great for anybody, but the person that says, well, I’m not ready yet. Now they’re accountable. They have to be held accountable because they’re in the meeting and it’s okay. Things happen. Let’s say that you’re in trouble. Cause you need to get things done on time, but we’re in a meeting. This is not done.
[00:32:54] Ronn Burner: And this has been a hold up. So what’s your update. When, when can we expect this? What’s you know what I mean? So you typically, I would think no employee wants all that pressure on them saying, okay, this I will, should have delivered on this date. And I did not deliver now I just had a meeting and say, I need another day or whatever.
[00:33:10] Ronn Burner: You know what I mean? So that kind of perpetuates the culture to say, okay, we’re a machine and I need to answer for not having, A, B or C completed. So that communication that collaboration is clean and clear
[00:33:25] Kevin Dieny: I think it is really important to make sure that collaboration is clean and clear. And I think it needs to go both ways in a sense. Cause I think it helps you as the hiring manager or a leader to get some feedback. I think it’s important to know, maybe this went too fast.
[00:33:40] Kevin Dieny: You know, if you would ask me here, we could have gone faster. Like maybe in one area, they’re like, look, we went too fast and other way we went too slow. And so how do you know? And every person is going to be different.
[00:33:50] Kevin Dieny: I think you can really screw up onboarding. I think you could. I think it’s easy to drop things and make things so that, you just spend all your time hiring and when they’re done hired. You just want to wash your hands of it, you know, and be like, Hey, go, you know, other people will train you.
[00:34:04] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, some other employee here who’s been doing it a while. They’ll just train you. They’ll pick up the habits, good or bad of that person, the processes, good or bad, the values, right, of that person. With a little bit of like, like indifference of, you know, this is a different person. They’re going to respond to things differently.
[00:34:21] Kevin Dieny: Look at it, like I spend a lot of invested time and resources hiring. I’m not just hiring a person for today to do this job today. I’m hiring this person in a role that I want them to grow. So that the later they might be going to hire people and they’re going to go through things.
[00:34:35] Kevin Dieny: And so it’s a future investment and I think it should be taken seriously. And I think it should be looked at if you have an onboarding process, do you think could be improved? I don’t think you, you know, go hardcore in the workshop and make a 10 X longer onboarding.
[00:34:51] Kevin Dieny: I think you just look at, okay, what areas can be improved as a recent onboarding employee, or if you’re onboarding one right now, ask them, you know, how’s it going?
[00:34:59] Kevin Dieny: What could be improved about this process? I’ve been through a lot of onboardings, but I haven’t ever been through one where I was asked for feedback at the end. Have you ever had that Ronn?
[00:35:06] Ronn Burner: It’s so funny that you just specifically asked that question because the point I was going to make is. Exactly that. I was going to say. It’s also important in that process for the person that is onboarding you, to say, how you doing, how are you getting it? Is everything that just checking in, just how’s it going?
[00:35:24] Ronn Burner: If you have any questions, like letting me know that kind of a thing. So I have had experience with that and, um, I would say I’m mo probably the job I have now more so than ever. And it’s interesting because this whole conversation are we talking. If you think about a company that has 10 employees or a company that has thousands of employees, right?
[00:35:46] Ronn Burner: So the processes are different, the SLAs are different. So that loosey goosey stuff doesn’t really fly in major corporate America. It’s more of an intimate setting and the other thing is like a timeline. So the amount of pressure on an organization, as far as how quickly new things need to get done or how much pressure is on an individual.
[00:36:03] Ronn Burner: It’s really the timeline. It’s like, okay, it’s we, it’s going to take us to put our entire marketing stack and this several thousand employee company starting from scratch and I’d take a few years, right. So we’re going to, I mean, literally you can’t do this stuff overnight. So then you just start building.
[00:36:19] Ronn Burner: So the pressure feels a little bit less. I’m going through a little bit of that right now, but I will say. I have been, I’ve had the leadership high up in the org. I mean, I’m a senior marketing manager, so I’m up relatively high myself, but I obviously still have bosses and they have been unbelievably generous in terms of asking, how are you doing, are you with us?
[00:36:44] Ronn Burner: Cause they, like I said, like I said, they know how confusing it is. And they’ve been there for this whole ride for starting their marketing, you know? Over a little over a year ago. So they just got Marketo a year ago. And so it’s still in its infancy for a massive corporation, right. All the things that they have going on are tricky.
[00:37:03] Ronn Burner: And when I came on and I start trying to learn, it was so overwhelming in terms of so many things going on that I had, my head was spinning. But they’re just checking with that. They’re like, just, it’s all good, just relax. Are you good? You have questions? And I found that to be. Really, really, really comforting.
[00:37:20] Ronn Burner: Just simply to know that I could ask questions when I needed to, as well as knowing that they’re like, yeah, look, you’re not going to come and save the world. You just, it’s going to take, it’s going to take us some time. That check-in helped because as a new employee, you you’re really eager. You want to come in and you want to put, you want to show them that you, that that’s you’re worth it and that you’re happy.
[00:37:44] Ronn Burner: And as the next step in your career, either. A stepping stone for an advancement in your career or to grow within the organization. So you really want to come in and do something, and you’re ready and eager and ready to able to go. But you just need to be aware of the fact that by your leadership, that they’re there for you and that it’s not overwhelming or too much for you.
[00:38:04] Ronn Burner: And that the resources are there.
[00:38:07] Kevin Dieny: One really important thing about what you’re saying there with the resources is trust. So in a sense, in an essence, you may want to, from the very get, go, make sure that this new employee feels comfortable asking questions. Because I think, yeah, the egos in there I really want to do well. I don’t want to have to ask questions.
[00:38:23] Kevin Dieny: I want to come in and just rock this thing and then not have to say anything. I want them to just, I want to be able to just read the mind of my manager, boss and do everything perfectly. I don’t want to ever look bad. I don’t want to ever make mistakes. I don’t want them to see that, maybe like I have imposter syndrome and I’m, you know, I’m just faking it till I make it.
[00:38:39] Kevin Dieny: But that’s, that’s, that’s how pretty much everything is. And it’s hard to get over that. And it’s hard to create trust right away. You kind of have to earn trust. So it’s really hard to set someone up and help them feel comfortable asking questions when they make mistakes. Because I think there’s a grace period.
[00:38:56] Kevin Dieny: I think it’s, I think it’s almost always there, but I think that should be, well-established like, look, people make mistakes. Like you like as an electrician and be like, look, just don’t make a mistake here. Otherwise you’re going to fry, you know, there’s this high, current running here. So, you know, in other areas I’ll be like, look, cause the doctor.
[00:39:12] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, you know, it’s hard to make a mistake with this patient, but that’s why we make them here. That’s how I make them now. That’s why we asked the questions and it’s really important. You do that. So I think establishing a culture of questions has to be present in the company.
[00:39:25] Kevin Dieny: Otherwise you’re going to have employees who work for you, terrified ask questions, terrified to make mistakes, never wanting to admit that. You know, you’re hearing about it in reviews when you’re not, you know, when it should be hearing about it from your own employees, that’s that might be a signal.
[00:39:40] Kevin Dieny: Hmm, I got a culture problem. That means I got an onboarding problem. It means I gotta, you know, it’s just a lot more involved.
[00:39:46] Ronn Burner: Yeah, I would say, don’t talk over people’s heads, I mean that always like in the sincereness way, because sometimes when you simplify things. Like you said, when you come in, you feel like you’re the subject matter expert, so there’s all this pressure on you to be the expert.
[00:40:00] Ronn Burner: It’s okay to say, I don’t know. And I’ve had to learn that because. You feel the pressure of, they hired me for this role. So that means I need to know everything. And, and, and when you get asked, a question is like, uh, off the top of my head, I don’t have every possible nuance of a marketing automation platform memorized.
[00:40:21] Ronn Burner: I know, I know extremely well, but I, I need, you know, you need to, sometimes you need to fact check a little bit, or you need to validate what you think or solve something in the instance that you hadn’t even ever touched before. Because you had just haven’t needed to. So it’s okay to say, I don’t know. And it’s definitely okay.
[00:40:40] Ronn Burner: When you keep saying things out loud, then everybody’s on the same page and everybody’s on board because what you don’t want. People that are too afraid to ask a question and they kind of either assume something or don’t quite understand from several weeks ago.
[00:40:54] Ronn Burner: And now we’re several weeks later and all along, they really weren’t quite sure what we’re doing, what we’re talking about, what the objective was, what the obstacles were. So that real clear, redundant process talk, that’s not over anybody’s head.
[00:41:08] Kevin Dieny: I think as the manager or a leader of your business, you’ve got to own onboarding. You’ve got to take responsibility for the hiring and the onboarding. I think those go hand in hand. And whatever that looks like for your industry or the role. I think we talked about, it can be very different in terms of length of time, the pace, the format, the style, who does it, maybe multiple people do, maybe there’s shadowing involved.
[00:41:32] Kevin Dieny: But I think at the end of the day, we’ve, we’ve done a good job, outlining, you know, that it helps to establish trust to make sure that an employee is armed with, you know, as much as they can in their role to be set up for success. I think that’s like what you had said, the goal of onboarding is to make sure that this new hire is set up for success.
[00:41:52] Kevin Dieny: That is a simple way to put it. And it’s difficult to get there. I think it’s easy to screw that up.
[00:41:57] Ronn Burner: And not only that the manager it’s on the manager too. Right? You hired, you hired this person. It would behove you and your department and the organization as a whole, for this person you hire to succeed because if they succeed, that means your succeeding.
[00:42:14] Kevin Dieny: Yeah there without them, right. The company is umbrella and carrying their weight.. Until they’re there, everyone else is carrying the weight. So as soon as they’re there, it does less than a little bit of the load, the pressure that exists on other people who are currently fulfilling that role. Wearing an additional hat, so that it’s also really critical to get onboarding right.
[00:42:33] Kevin Dieny: for the benefit of everybody else, who’s an existing employee. I think that pretty much covered it. Was there anything else you wanted to add Ronn?
[00:42:41] Ronn Burner: That was pretty thorough. That was a really, really good in depth on both sides of the fence, right.
[00:42:46] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I think we, I think we totally, we hit a lot of this. There’s we could dive into each little piece deeper, but I think we got, we covered like the general idea of it, but, um, yeah, help new employees land on their feet. And that’s what onboarding is all about. So thank you for listening and thanks Ronn for coming on.
[00:43:02] Ronn Burner: Thank you, Kevin. Happy to be here.