New Managers

9 Best practices for new manager onboarding

Onboarding new managers can make or break a team culture. Here are 9 best practices to get it right.

Meryl D'Sa-Wilson

August 4, 2022

How you onboard a new manager can make or break the team they are expected to lead. Bringing on a new leader means teaching them the ropes, helping them assimilate within an existing team, and creating a satisfying work experience.

When done right, successful onboarding leads to high retention rates and employee engagement.

In fact, 51% of employees say they’d go beyond their requirements if given a good onboarding, while 22% say they’d look for another job if they didn’t receive good onboarding.

So, what does onboarding a new manager entail and how do you create a successful onboarding program?

This article will answer that question! Let’s start with clarifying what onboarding a new manager entails.

What is manager onboarding and what’s included?

Onboarding a new manager is the process of prepping and integrating a newly promoted or hired manager into your organization. The goal is to help them settle in, get up to speed on their responsibilities, and connect with their team. 

Onboarding a manager is similar to onboarding a new employee; the process often includes: 

  • An orientation
  • Completing necessary paperwork
  • Discussions about the organization and its mission
  • Product or service demonstrations
  • Introduction to other teams and departments
  • Overview of responsibilities, and so on.

This can be done through a series of activities and/or one-on-one sessions.

Why is it important to have an onboarding process for new managers?

There are many benefits to having an onboarding process that integrates new leaders into an organization. 

When you take the time to carefully onboard a manager, you have the opportunity to:

Additionally, it is a good idea to decide beforehand what type of onboarding process would help new leaders start their jobs more effectively. Depending on your organization and team size, you may assign an onboarding buddy or a mentor for your new manager. 

Buddies and mentors can help orient new hires, build connections, assist in learning new technology and systems, and more. The quicker they onboard, the sooner they can start doing what you hired them to do.

Key components to effectively onboard a new manager

While there are many ways to introduce a new hire to the company and vice versa, here are some key onboarding elements:

1. Introduce new managers to their team ahead of time

As soon as you hire a new manager, introduce them to their team during an employee orientation

This is a good place to start integrating them into the organization. They can share experiences, set expectations, and get to know the people they are about to work with. 

Doing so will help them understand what projects are active or need to be prioritized. Also, introduce them to other teams and departments they may need to work with. 

Building these connections early on will ensure good communication between your new hire and existing employees.

2. Provide clear expectations for new managers

As they meet with their teams and understand their roles better, it is important to clarify expectations and goals from the very beginning. 

Help them understand the value of each responsibility and how it contributes to overall business objectives. 

  • As managers, what are they expected to do? 
  • Who answers to them, and who do they answer to? 
  • How should they track productivity and KPIs? 
  • And so on.

3. Provide them with mentors who have been where they are now

Managers will need some support during the onboarding process. That is why it is a great idea to pair your new hire with a mentor who has been in their position before. 

This mentor can answer your new hire’s questions, help them navigate company policies, and also provide support through experience.

Mentorship can reduce your turnover rate and improve engagement within your organization. 

4. Introduce other new managers for peer learning and accountability

You may even run a peer mentorship program, connecting all your new managers together. 

This way, your new manager has onboarding buddies. And you give them a space to share knowledge, learn from each other, and build a community. 

Within this community, they can receive support and training and even keep each other accountable.

5. Offer opportunities for job shadowing

The best way for new managers to learn how things are done in your organization is to watch someone do it. 

That’s where job shadowing can prove handy. Have your new managers shadow others who have been in similar positions. 

They can observe and learn first-hand what is expected and how to navigate potential issues and conflicts. They can even have debriefing sessions after a day or week of shadowing to go over what they’ve learnt.

6. Share resources to help them be new managers

It’s also helpful to gather resources that can help new managers integrate better. This may include: 

  • History and purpose of the company
  • Product or service information
  • Industry news and trends
  • Tools and technology for project management  
  • Training and L&D materials, and more.

If your managers are part of a mentorship program, then you can even provide mentorship resources such as meeting agendas, career and skill development, and more.

7. Offer practice work

Depending on the employee’s experience, you may want to offer practice work or tutorials as part of training and evaluating their skill level. 

These should be practical samples of what they may encounter as part of their job. 

Here, again, having a mentor comes in handy. The mentor can go over the practice work and discuss the employee’s strengths and weaknesses.

8. Touch base regularly with new managers while they onboard

Remember to check in with new managers throughout the onboarding process. Find out how they are getting along with other members. 

  • Are the resources helpful? 
  • Are there any information gaps they’d like filled? 
  • Do they know where to start? 
  • Are the goals and expectations clear? 

This will not only help you identify and fix potential issues but also encourage you to update the onboarding process to be more effective for the next hire.

9. Collect feedback 

Managers should also be able to offer feedback about the onboarding process, including their victories and frustrations. Survey new managers to gain this insight. 

This information could be valuable when it comes to improving the program or helping managers deal with issues that arise during the onboarding process.

The best onboarding programs include mentorship 

Onboarding a new manager is an important step in the hiring process. How well you bring on a new leader and help them integrate with the company directly impacts how long they stay and how well they perform. A good place to start is to include mentorship within your onboarding program. 

Mentoring managers ensure they are given the time and space to clearly understand what is expected of them, build strong connections within the organization, and take advantage of valuable resources. And all of this will help them grow into great leaders who strive to bring more success to your organization.

Need to set up mentorship as part of your onboarding process? At Together, we work to make sure that mentorship works for everyone. Reach out to learn more about our suite of tools and resources!

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