Onboarding Staff When Time-poor

You won’t be surprised to learn that the key to onboarding effectively during busy times is planning. You need to set your business up to allow for smooth and efficient onboarding of staff.

Despite COVID the construction industry appears to be booming. Lucky us!

Many businesses jostle between getting through their increased workload and employing new staff. Thankfully you have been able to source new staff however there is an immediate need to train them.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the key to successful onboarding during busy times is PLANNING. Your business needs to be structured to allow for smooth and efficient onboarding of staff.

Here are my tips for onboarding and training staff when you and your business are in full swing.

Hire people who will grow with your business
When you employ a new person no matter the position you are filling, try to hire someone who has potential to climb the ladder and grow with your business. Hire the labourer with the idea that they will eventually become a Foreman or likewise the Foreman with the plan for them to develop into a Manager. This way, when you are ready to expand, you have the ability to promote from within the company to fill the key position, pushing everyone up the ladder. In the long-term, you will reap the benefits of this process. In the short-term, it won’t always fix your hiring problems but it certainly help for future planning.

Key points to remember:

  • It is always easier to find less skilled staff, so the recruiting process is easier
  • When you expand, the key staff already know your business, so training is much easier and less disruptive to the day-to-day operations than hiring externally
  • You may have to pay more than you wanted for ‘the best’ labourer, but it will pay off when they become your best Foreman or Manager

Build a strong company culture
When your company culture is strong, new staff adopt expectations with minimal fuss. They will learn very quickly, through observation, what is expected of them and what is acceptable.

When the company culture is vague, a new colleague can disrupt your business. If not managed correctly, a strong personality that does not fit your business culture can quickly cause chaos and destruction, creating more problems than they solve. Understand though that strong personalities can be an asset however they need to align with your business. When hiring, try to ascertain if the new recruit will fit and reinforce your company culture.

Policies and procedures
I frequently mention this but when you have an in-depth set of guidelines outlining how your company operates, there provides you with an instant resource for onboarding new staff.

Standard operating procedures or a Company Manual provide a good outline of company policies and procedures and explain how things should be done. They set the tone and culture of the business and provide the new employee a resource to find answers to standard practices.

For example where to file documents and key person responsible.

Hiring manual
Create a hiring manual, so that when there is a need to hire most of the groundwork is done and you are prepared. Remember, more often than not , you always need to hire when you are at your busiest.

In the hiring manual, it is imperative to include a job description. Write up a description of each position in your business. Focus on the skills, knowledge and personality you are looking for in each position. Remember to always consider the new recruit for a role above the one you are looking to hire them for.

Write up an advertisement for each position and have it ready to go. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to advertising. Yes, it will need tweaking, but the lion share of the work will be done.

Training must be well planned. It is not something that can be successfully done in the blink of an eye. Set your business up with the ability to train staff and you will succeed in expanding when required.

Key to Successful training plans:

  • Make training a priority
  • Plan – Training should always have a clear and tangible outcome that the trainer and trainee work towards.
  • Measure the outcome
  • Identify the skills gap and close it with training. It is a wise investment for your company to have trained staff as they tend to be more content and willing to stay in your business.
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of your staff. KPI’s are a good way to identify these and work towards improving them with training.
  • Have succession planning for your work force. People who are growing, learning and improving are always more content and happier. They will stay with you longer.
  • Identify the right people within your business to train less skilled staff. Some people are born trainers, while others are not so natural and comfortable with it. If you have a highly skilled and reliable staffer who intrinsically is not a trainer, it may be worth investing and cultivating them into becoming a trainer through courses such as Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or otherwise referred to as “Train the Trainer”. Your entire business will reap the benefits.
  • Hire staff who you identify could be efficient trainers and include it into their contract.

Successfully onboarding staff when it’s busy comes down to planning and preparation. Invest time into policies and procedures and company culture now, so that when you are time-poor, you can rely on these measures to reduce the headaches that come with hiring and resulting in successfully expanding your business.

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