7 Steps to Onboarding People

ProjectManager.com

Introducing new people to any project is a challenge. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how to set up your team for success.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

integrate your team into a project

In Review: How to Onboard People to a Project

Whether you’re just starting a new project or you’re onboarding new people to an existing project, there is a lot you have to cover if you’re the onboarding manager. Building successful teams is vital to the project success, and it starts with how each team member is brought into the project.

In this video, Jennifer notes that when you’re onboarding people to a project things can get chaotic and suggests applying more structure to the process.

Onboarding checklist

Jennifer offered these seven steps in her onboarding checklist to make the process more orderly:

  1. Welcome – This is the first step of the process where you welcome the person to the project and the rest of the team. This is also the time to get all the contracts and paperwork finalized so all the legal and administrative work for that individual is clearly defined and documented. Use this time to make sure the individual is aware of their role, the expectations of the role, and address any last minute concerns before the paperwork signing. You want to make sure the person you hire is really ready to take on the role.
  2. Introduce – Jennifer recommends you make introductions personally and electronically, so that all the communication channels are defined among the team.
  3. Inform – During this step you take time to meet one-on-one with the new team member to outline all the rules and policies related to your team and the project. Define any reporting channels that they should be aware of, and point out the location of relevant project documentation so they can access those as reference materials.
  4. Setup – You want to make sure the new team member is set up with all the team collaboration and PM tools so they can access their task assignments and the project documentation. Whether you personally create user logins or delegate that to another department, make sure you let the team member know which tools they should be using and make sure they actually get set up on those tools.
  5. Train – Set up any tools training required for the new team member, whether on the project management software or online file management or any other training requirements they might need to fulfill their role.
  6. Orient – Here you want to go beyond the brass tacks and take time to share the project vision with the new team member. Every project is part of a larger strategic vision within a company or an organization, so it’s vital to offer a birds-eye view of how they will impact that vision.
  7. Assign – Make sure they have all their task assignments ready to go on day 1. You don’t want any new team member wondering what they should work on. Once you have assignments set up in the project management software, you can review those with the new team member before they get started.

Each step above includes some documentation or procedure. Welcoming means having a welcome package, agreements and contracts. Introductions include just that and setting up communications. While the informing phase will familiarize them with policies and guidelines.

When you’re ready to set them up, that means tools, access and equipment. Then training naturally follows and the documentation required with this step. Once they’re good with that, orient them to the project vision, assign them project tasks and you’re team is now onboard.

Pro-Tip: Once you have your team onboard, next you’re going to want to involve the whole team. Read our steps to team building to learn how to go from onboarding to having a cohesive, functioning team.

Take it further: You’ll want to define the process for new employee onboarding in an easy-to-read guide for all departments to share so you can extend it across the organization. It really helps when managers in other departments follow the same process, so that if you end up working with someone they hired, they’ve been onboarded with all the same information as people on your team.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription:

Today, we’re talking about how to onboard people to a project. These days it can seem like herding cats. By the time the project starts, people just take off running like their hair is on fire.

But there’s a more methodical way that we can bring people onboard, specifically thinking about new people to an established project. Because if we do this successfully, we can make the people feel more engaged and included into our project team, and also let our team members know who they are and what they’ll be doing on the project.

So, we want to look at what is the process, the how we bring them on board, and what do we need to include? So, we want to include both of these in our plan.

So, first of all, we want to welcome these people to our project. We want to let them know we’re glad they’re here. So, what will we need? We may have a welcome package. And, again, that may include people who are on the project, anything that you think they would need to make them feel welcome.

We also want to include agreements that they need to sign and, maybe, return and any kind of contracts.

We also want to be sure to introduce them to the other team members, even the stakeholders and important people to the project. So, introduce them, give any kind of introductions, any kind of communications, whether they’re there onsite with the team or even virtual, you can still do it successfully. Again, making them feel like they’re a part of the team and making the team know, really, who they are and what they’re going to be doing.

We also want to be sure to inform them of the policies and the guidelines for our project. Almost every industry has different standards and guidelines that they have to comply with. Many companies do as well. So, we want to be sure that they know what those are, so that they can help you in compliance.

We also want to be sure to set them up properly by giving them the tools and the access to the systems that they need as well as equipment. Maybe they need a computer. Maybe they need a mobile phone. What are the things that they need to be able to perform their role?

You also want to train them on how you run your project. What are the steps that they need to take in order to complete their project items? How do they report that they’re completed? How they communicate with people. So, you may want to provide them with the training documentation.

This is a big one. You want to be sure to orient them to the project. Paint the vision for the project. Let them know what you’re creating. What’s the outcome? And why is it so important to the customers and the company? And include why they are so important to the project and let them know that their tasks are critical.

And then the last part is assigning them and transitioning their tasks to them. Let them know what they’re supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it and, again, how they’re supposed to report the status of their work.

So, these are some of the items that we want to include. And that’s why it was important to include that in this part of the project planning series. So, if you need a tool to help you onboard your people to your project, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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