The new people teams: Why every company needs a dedicated onboarding manager

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2 mins, 35 secs read time

WANTED: Multi-tasking people operations professionals with a penchant for process and the passion to welcome new hires with warmth.

Key responsibilities: Handling all legal, tax, and payroll-related paperwork; being the go-to source for company information; and scheduling orientation programming and activities for new hires.

The Problem

An employee’s first six months are the time when they’re at the greatest flight risk. In fact, 90% of employees make the decision about whether they’ll stick around long-term during this period. They’re coming fresh off the job search and may be second-guessing their decision to leave their previous role or choose one company over another competing offer. If they don’t feel welcomed and supported in their new organization, they may simply choose to leave.

On the other hand, if a company provides a thoughtful and comprehensive onboarding program, they can speed up time to productivity, increase retention, and enhance employee experience.

The Solution

The new People Teams believe that their work begins the day a candidate signs an offer letter and continues until the moment they hand in their resignation—and their goal is to extend the period of time between these two events.

The Onboarding Manager’s role is to ensure a smooth transition from candidate to employee. Depending on the size of the team and the needs of the organization, a People Ops team may have a dedicated Onboarding Manager, or these tasks may be assigned to a People Ops Specialist, People Ops Manager, Director of People Ops, or Office Manager.

Onboarding Managers handle all the processes and paperwork that get new hires set up to perform their new job, but they also provide programming and resources to help new employees learn about their company and coworkers.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to onboarding initiatives, but here a few things an Onboarding Manager might organize:

  • Assembling and sending swag boxes to new hires before their first day

  • Ordering and/or arranging for a special lunch for a class of new hires and their teams

  • Setting up and overseeing a buddy program that matches new hires with more seasoned employees

  • Scheduling ongoing sessions with department leaders or key stakeholders so new hires get an overview of every team and department at the company

  • Sending out an onboarding survey, monitoring the results, and adjusting the onboarding program accordingly

The Onboarding Manager (or whichever People Ops team member who’s responsible for onboarding) has a daunting task: To set all new hires up for success within the company. At the bare minimum, they need to wrangle people from various teams (IT, Facilities, Payroll, etc.) to ensure employees have everything they need in order to ramp up quickly—whether it’s their email address and laptop or easy access to important documents and directories.

But their role is also to make new hires feel comfortable in their new working environment, integrated into the company culture, and valued by their coworkers. This is not a one-person job—it requires company-wide buy-in and participation. An effective Onboarding Manager will strike just the right balance of managing a never-ending to-do list and thinking of big-picture ways to improve employee experience.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.