Manager Onboarding: Making Managers Great Again

Manager Onboarding TeamRemember what it was like to be a new employee? Your first day on the job was exciting and scary at the same time. But it’s even more intimidating when you don’t know what people expect from you or where you should turn your attention first.

Now multiply that times 100. That’s how your new managers feel on their first day if you don’t’ take time to prepare them for their roles.


So what can you do to set your managers up for success?

Two words: manager onboarding.

Why You Should Invest in Manager Onboarding

Bad managers share the responsibility for low employee morale, poor engagement, and sagging productivity rates. According to Gallup they account for up to 70% of the variation in employee engagement statistics.  

In other words, good managers create happy employees; bad managers create unhappy employees.

But bad management practices aren’t always solely the manager’s fault. Many new managers are thrust into leadership roles with no guidance about expectations, company culture, job responsibilities, or the dynamics of the team.

If you understand the value of onboarding a new employee (better engagement, higher productivity, increased retention), it should make sense that the value increases exponentially for managers. Their actions and reactions will create a ripple effect that extends to all of their direct reports and colleagues.

6 Keys to Effective Manager Onboarding

So we agree that manager onboarding is important—but how do we pull it off? What is the secret to a manager onboarding program that delivers the results you want? Here are seven keys to doing it right.

  1. Communicate Expectations
    Don’t assume that a manager’s years of experience mean he or she will automatically know what to do. Take the time to communicate job guidelines, company culture, and expectations for managers. Make organizational strategies and goals clear as well as the specifics of the job.
  1. Introduce the Team
    Help managers get to know their new team members by providing background on the people they will be managing. Talk about strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal dynamics, and any other information that might be relevant to the role. For example, if someone on the team was passed over for a promotion, let the new manager know so she doesn’t walk into a hornet’s nest.
  1. Plan One-On-One Interactions
    One of the best ways to orient managers to their new team is to facilitate one-on-one meetings during onboarding. These meetings don’t have to be long. Even a few minutes talking with each employee can give the new manager a feel for the opportunities and challenges he might be facing.
  1. Implement People Management Training
    Do you have a training strategy designed to help new leaders become better people managers? Remember, just because an employee is good at her job doesn’t mean she will be a good leader. She needs to know how to motivate people, how to resolve conflict, how to communicate effectively, how to provide helpful feedback, and much more. Don’t just toss her into the role and expect her to sink or swim.
  1. Conduct Personality and Leadership Assessments
    During onboarding, use assessments to get a feel for the new manager’s leadership style and personality. This information will help you equip each manager with the tools he needs for success.
  1. Provide Technology Support
    Use your HRIS to facilitate the manager onboarding process. Many of the same strategies you use for entry-level hires can also carry over into management onboarding. For example, consider assigning a mentor who can monitor progress, create goals, and monitor training. Your HRIS will keep everything on schedule and make it easy to complete paperwork and provide feedback.

People management is no joke. It takes a specific skill set to effectively lead a team of people, keep them on task, and help them reach their personal potential. Manager onboarding is one way to make sure your managers have the tools they need for the job. And that’s good news for your entire organization.


Does your HRIS make the onboarding process easy? If not, it’s time for an update! Our HRIS Comparison Tool helps you choose the right software for your company based on your specific requirements. Get your free software short list today!

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