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Onboarding: The 5 Questions Supervisors Must Ask

Below are 5 questions supervisors need to ask each new employee after they have been a part of DHS/CSS for 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days to help gauge the success of your onboarding. Each question ties directly to one of the Basic Four Areas of Leadership, plus recognition.

  1. Is the job what you expected, and are you facing any roadblocks to hitting your goals?
    When a supervisor sets clear, attainable and measurable goals, employees know what is expected of them.
  2. Are you getting all the information that you need to do your job, and do you feel a part of your team?
    We communicate with the masses, but we manage to the one. Too often, we expect employees to get all of the information they need through training academies, the InfoNet, memos, e-mails and staff meetings. Supervisors cannot neglect regular 1-on-1 in-person meetings with each employee as the supervisor serves as the information pipeline to their staff.
    Supervisors who are effective communicators:

    1. Set clear guiding values and goals.
    2. Discuss issues facing DHS and the team – not just the big decisions and announcements.
    3. Pass on all useful bits of information to employees, especially those that involve change initiatives or that personally affect employees.
    4. Make time for employees and listen intently when they express opinions and concerns.
    5. Welcome open discussion from team members about rumors they hear.
    6. Respond promptly to team member requests for more information.
    7. Go up the chain of command to fill in the details they don’t know.
    8. Introduce employees to other key individuals, sparking dialogue.
    9. Give employees access to relevant data.
  3. In your time here, what is the best thing that has happened to you?
    Supervisors build trusting relationships by providing steady and consistent support, treating people with respect, and worrying about the success of their team more than their own success. If employees feel they are part of a supportive environment, their “best things” will generally reflect that feeling, even if their work often requires them to deal with people in crisis. If an employee’s “best thing” involves a paycheck, it’s usually a roundabout way of saying they don’t feel they are getting enough respect.
  4. Have you noticed anything you can improve on?
    New employees often find new efficiencies simply because our processes and practices are new to them.
  5. Do you feel recognized for your contribution?
    Employees want to know the work they do is appreciated, and they are valued as individuals. Whether they feel either is true depends primarily on the feedback they receive from their direct supervisors.
    When someone makes a mistake, it’s generally recognized 100 percent of the time. But when they do great work, that great work is generally not recognized 99 percent of the time. Birthday parties and potluck dinners are not recognition. When was the last time an employee walked out of a potluck dinner saying, “Wow, that three-bean salad really let me know my work is appreciated.”
    Recognition shines the light on what is valued in an organization. If that is so, what does it say of a leader who fails to give recognition to his or her employees?