OnBoard Yourself News

Don’t Spoon Feed Your Millennial New Hires

Feeding beautiful baby with a spoon


Take a moment to close your eyes and picture something with me; your millennial new hires, arriving on their first day ready to take charge of their onboarding success. Bright-eyed and eager, they quickly learn their way around, get themselves oriented and get right down to productive work.

Okay. Are you laughing (or crying) yet?

The Facilitated Generation

Gen Y is the most facilitated generation ever to enter the workforce. Yes, they are bright-eyed and willing, but, when faced with even the tiniest shred of adversity, they go limp.

I recently met an insurance company VP who left on a trip shortly after a new hire’s first day. When she came back, her staff people were furious. “He never went to a single daily staff meeting!” The VP called the young man into her office and asked him why. “Because no one came and got me,” he said.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident.

Every day we hear a flood of stories about Gen Ys who, when they don’t know what to do next, pull out their phones, play video games or badger their coworkers with so many questions that department productivity sinks. Best case everyone survives the onboarding period. Worst case the new hire quits out of frustration or gets terminated.

Your Onboarding Program is the Solution

There’s a simple answer to the problem:

Use your onboarding program to teach new hires the soft skills they need to succeed. 

Most onboarding programs consist of delivering learning content to newbies about the organization, the rules of conduct, products/services, who’s who and what’s where, and, finally, the new hire’s job.

Don’t spoon-feed that learning content to them. Make them work for it.

One of the best ways you can do this is to create an onboarding scavenger hunt (digital as well as physical). This will force your new hires to become resourceful, build relationships and learn how your organization functions. Giving them due dates (even hourly ones!) will strengthen their ability to multi-task and stay organized.

Remember to hold your newbies accountable for the on-time delivery and quality of their results. Make sure they know that getting themselves up to speed and onboard is a major objective.

Here are a few examples for onboarding assignments you can give them from our onboarding handbooks.

  • Select three top customers and create a 500-word profile of each, focusing on why they buy from your company versus competitors.
  • Verbally explain the workflow in their department/unit, identifying and explaining key requirements.
  • Identify two role models for their position and explain why they are worth emulating.
  • Interview two internal customers for their work deliverables to find out what their top needs are and report back on any concerns.

Stay Lean With Quick, Rapid Prototyping

Developing your scavenger hunt shouldn’t be expensive or time-consuming to create.

At Onboard Yourself, we recommend following Maverick Lean Knowledge Transfer principles, which advocate “quick, rapid prototyping” of training methods. Try a few things, see what generates measurable results and build your onboarding program from there.

Happy New Hires. Happy Supervisors.

Your millennials will love the feeling of accomplishment they get from taking charge of their own success. And your busy supervisors will love getting to spend more time on productive work and less time on remediating your newbies’ soft skills.

NEW! Onboard Yourself Digital Packages!

Want to customize Onboard Yourself…yourself? Now you can! Our handbooks and more than 35 pieces of bonus content are now available as digital files you can easily modify to dovetail with your current onboarding process.

Create your own handbooks, make presentations, hand out newbie checklists… the sky’s the limit.

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