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Managers and their role in an effective onboarding process

Managers have a crucial role to play as part of an effective employee onboarding process, but without the right support from HR, they are likely to fall short of providing the engaging, informative experience new hires need to succeed.

What exactly is a manager’s role as part of a new hire onboarding process?

Managers help execute HR’s onboarding vision, underscore the organization’s commitment to new employees, and ultimately drive new hire productivity and engagement.

They are also gatekeepers of knowledge with more than 58% of new hires citing that their manager is the most important source of information during their onboarding.

The problem is that busy managers don’t often have the time to properly invest in onboarding, so the bulk of the labor falls on an overworked (and under-resourced) HR department.

So how can HR empower managers to be more involved in the onboarding process? And what is the value in doing so?

Let’s find out!

Why you should involve managers in the onboarding process


There are a myriad of reasons why managers should be directly involved in the new hire onboarding process, from a reduction in workload for HR to overall new hire satisfaction.

Managers have a better working knowledge of an onboardees team, so can better foresee roadblocks and eliminate potential new hire integration hurdles. They’re also likely to spend more time with onboardees than HR, so can enrich their experience with more specific and personalized content and activities.

Still not convinced? Here are two business-critical reasons to think consider:

bluedots Performance alignment
  One of the main goals of an effective employee onboarding program is to ensure recruits are prepared and empowered to perform in their new role.

Managers of course have a vested interest in employee performance and bringing them in these early stages can help to align expectations - which is important because expectation management is what 66% of new hires believe was missing from their onboarding experience.

bluedots Employee retention
  We’ve all heard the old adage, ‘people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers’, and in this case, it’s true. According to Gallup, 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers.

So involving managers in the crucial onboarding period, where voluntary turnover is at its peak, just makes good business sense. 

How to involve managers in the onboarding process


To effectively integrate managers into the onboarding process, you’re going to be using a tool we call the ‘Educate/Empower’ model.

First, you educate your managers. Remember that while managers care about many of the same things as HR, they won’t have the same insight as to WHY onboarding is important and may be missing key elements of a robust onboarding education.

Secondly, you need to empower them with the tools they need to provide the right kind of new hire support. This could be in the form of regular training, easy-to-use checklists, or a digital onboarding solution where everything they need is housed in one central location.

Let’s take a look at ‘Educate/Empower’ in action:

Icon-Observation-Yellow-01 Educate


Create a short, email-based onboarding course for managers, where each week they receive a new piece of informative learning on the
what and why behind good onboarding.

Here’s one we’ve prepared using our in-house resources:


Icon-Email-01

Week 1 

The definition of good onboarding
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Week 2

Different onboarding styles explained
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Week 3

Why good onboarding is important
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Week 4

Planning the perfect first week
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Heart Grey-01 Empower


Put together a checklist for your managers with specific tasks for them to carry out at each stage of the
new hire lifecycle. Be sure to outline the goals of the onboarding process as well as when, and how often, they should be reaching out to new hires.

Here’s a short example to get you started:

The week before they start

bluedots Assign and introduce a buddy partner
bluedots Book a first ‘meet and greet’ call
bluedots Share the first-week onboarding schedule

Week 1

bluedots Meet for a first-day welcome
bluedots Walk new hire through your team structure
bluedots Set-up meetings with key team members

Week 2

bluedots Check-in for a first-week recap
bluedots Share your team’s recent successes and future goals
bluedots New hire paperwork check

Week 3

bluedots Plan a team-building activity to bring your new hire into the fold.
bluedots Meet for goal setting session to align expectations
bluedots Meet with new hires buddy partner to check-in on their progress


➕ Keep in mind that HR and managers want the same thing: engaged, productive employees who stick around long term. So whilst integrating managers into the onboarding journey may take some time and planning, it will be better for both parties long-term.

The Takeaway?


Managers can be HR’s secret weapon for creating personalized, effective employee onboarding, but only if they’re given the right support.

Remember to educate your managers on the importance of good onboarding, and empower them with helpful tools so they can put their newfound knowledge to the test.

For best results, consider investing in a digital onboarding solution that will allow you to centralize information & communications in one central location for managers and onboardees alike!



Want even more helpful tips on how to educate and empower your managers for new hire success? Check out our free December webinar!

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Topics: Onboarding , Featured
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