The Manager’s Role in Onboarding

How to keep all the balls in the air

Manager's Role in Onboarding

We’ve already seen what the employee should do during the onboarding process, but now it’s time to turn our attention to the manager’s role in onboarding. While each manager’s role may be different within your company, what is always true is that managers have a lot of different balls that they are juggling, which means that they can only devote some of their attention to the onboarding process. The rest of their energy will be spent keeping everything else running smoothly. Here, then, are the 5 aspects of the manager’s role in onboarding.


Introduce the Onboarding System

The manager should initiate the training process by first introducing the new employee to the onboarding system. This includes letting her know what it involves and what will be expected of her. This may include showing her where the training will take place, introducing her to coworkers, or providing the credentials she will use to log on to the onboarding platform. In any case, in this step, the manager’s role in onboarding is to make the new employee feel comfortable in the new environment and informed about what will happen next.


Check in and Answer Questions

Next, the manager should be available to answer any questions the new employee has. This may require coming back after she has watched training videos or providing a designated meeting time where they go into more detail about difficult concepts. Whatever the format, it is extremely important that the employee know that her success is important to both the manager and the company, and this means taking the time to answer every question she has.


Ensure All Material Is Covered

Perhaps the most obvious step of the manager’s role in onboarding is to ensure that all relevant information has been conveyed to the new employee. There are many ways to accomplish this, from following a standard handbook during training or making use of a standard set of training videos. As much as possible, each employee should receive the same training, as this ensures all employees are on equal footing. Trying to implement an onboarding system without a uniform program leads to employees missing chunks of material or even being given a different set of expectations or instructions, so the manager must ensure everything is consistent.


Test the Employee’s Retention of Information

Of course, it makes no difference how much information is presented to an employee if she doesn’t retain any of it. For this reason, the next step for the manager is to test her to see that she internalized all of the information. This, too, can take a variety of forms, from an actual quiz to an on-site demonstration of learned skills, but in any case, the important thing is to see that the employee can perform her job tasks safely and efficiently. Moreover, this evaluation is not a one-time event. Instead, it should last for as long as it takes to become totally confident in the employee’s abilities, which will depend on the job type. This step, then, bleeds over to the first few shifts and allows the manager to help the employee get started with developing a regular work routine.


Keep All Other Operations Running Smoothly

The easiest step to overlook in the manager’s role in onboarding is keeping everything running smoothly apart from training the new employee. Because the manager has so many responsibilities, it can be easy to forget just how much they do on a daily basis. What this means on a practical level is that the manager must keep an eye on all of the other balls that are in the air, even while working at the moment on the onboarding process. To help keep the time demands reasonable, then, the onboarding system itself should be designed to require as little direct involvement and time from the manager as possible. This may mean making use of training videos to convey information or to have a team of onboarding experts who carry some of the load. This way, the manager can continue to cycle between responsibilities while still keeping everything moving forward.

So, there are the five aspects of the manager’s role in onboarding. When they are all taken into consideration and implemented carefully, the onboarding system can move as smoothly as possible while still allowing the manager to tend to all of the other aspects of the job that require regular attention. Taking a little extra time to design an onboarding system that takes all these factors into consideration will save countless hours making up for lost time later, and it leads to employees who work as efficiently and productively as possible.


For more information on successful employee onboarding, see our other blog posts on