We know creating a successful onboarding program can be difficult. A Gallup study showed that while only 12 percent of employees feel their company did a great job with onboarding, those employees were nearly three times as likely to say they have the best possible job.
A great onboarding program requires the following:
- Advanced planning
- Clear and consistent communication
- Documentation that keeps things on track
- Manager commitment
- New employee commitment
To ensure you have all the key requirements for a great onboarding program for technicians, we created a plan on everything you need to know about technician onboarding from before the start date through the first quarter.
Onboarding- Before the Start Date
Most shops think onboarding begins on a technician’s first day. That is no longer the case, onboarding begins before the new technician even walks through the door.
Send a Written Offer
When offering a new technician the position, they aren’t going to remember everything that was said. Be sure to send a written offer that includes information about compensation, benefits, PTO, work schedule, and any other important information they will need to know before they walk into the shop.
Have Manager Reach Out Informally
Starting a new job is stressful. Having a manager reach informally through text or email will allow the new technician to feel more comfortable walking in on day one. It also is a great opportunity for the new technician to start building trust and a relationship with their new manager.
Finalize the Onboarding Plan
Create an onboarding checklist to ensure everything is completed, and everything that stills needs to be done. Meet with managers and other employees to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the onboarding process.
Assign a Buddy
Assign someone in the shop who will be able to connect with the new technician and be a point of guidance. Pick someone who will be able to explain their role correctly, but also be a friend.
Check-In and Finalize Details
One week before the technicians’ start date, reach out to ensure all their questions or concerns are answered and they are feeling comfortable and prepared for their first day.
One day before the start date, reach out again with any last minute details before the big day tomorrow.
Onboarding – The First Week
Start simple, the first week will be pretty overwhelming for a new technician. Each day they will get more and more comfortable, but stay patient and involved.
New Hire Paperwork, Tour, and Introductions
The first day new hire paperwork isn’t very glamorous, but is an important part of the onboarding process. Provide a tour of the shop, explain what a day in the life is like, and where the new technician will be working. Be sure to introduce the new technician to managers and the technicians they will be working directly with in the shop.
Gradually Introduce Work Projects
As the first week goes on, slowly explain new tasks and responsibilities each day. Start with less complicated projects, and continue to work your way up. The new technician is still adjusting to a new environment and could be working on projects they aren’t super familiar with yet.
Check In at the End of the Week
Once the new technician has completed their first week at the shop, be sure to check-in with them on how they’re feeling. If they are picking up tasks really well, continue to add more. If they are feeling overwhelmed, slow down. Also check-in with the buddy you assigned with the new technician to see if any adjustments or changes need to be made.
Onboarding – The First Month
By the first month, the new technician is more comfortable in their role, but don’t slow down. Onboarding can now be less intense, but is still critical. After learning the basics, they will be starting new projects and running into obstacles.
Keep in Mind the Basics, But Add More Work
New technicians are now more comfortable in their role and will start new responsibilities. They will still run into problems, but are problem-solving and working more independently.
Hiring Manager Continues to Check In
Continually checking in on a new technician allows them to feel comfortable in their new role and allows for building a stronger relationship with their manager. The new technician will now have more project and task based questions.
Follow Up with Buddy
Following up with the new technicians buddy is a great way to get an inside look on how the new hire is handling their new responsibilities and if there needs to be any help or adjustments.
Schedule a 30 day review to go over everything and anything the new hire needs. This allows the new technicians and their manager to have an open and honest conversation about how the first month went. Ask them about their work load, work environment, what they love doing, what they don’t like doing, or if any changes need to be made.
Onboarding – The First Quarter
Extending the onboarding process of new hires beyond the first week leads to higher performance and more satisfied employees. The onboarding process will still continue into the first quarter of a new technician.
Hiring Manager Check-In
At this point, the new technician isn’t very new anymore. They know their daily responsibilities and are comfortable in their work environment. Checking in on how things are going is still crucial. Have real conversations with technicians about future responsibilities and how you can work with them to have the best work experience.
Keeping Buddy Relationship
A technician’s buddy shouldn’t only stick around in the beginning. Hopefully, a new friendship has formed and they go to their buddy on any advice or questions they may have.
90-Day Review and Check-In
During the 90 day check-in, this is now the time to slowly step away from onboarding and on to performance based conversations. Moving forward, technicians should expect to have meetings with a manager regarding performance every year.
However, continue an open door policy where technicians feel comfortable coming to talk about any sudden issues or concerns they may be experiencing. Having open and honest communication should remain a constant routine for all technicians.
Full Technician Onboarding Guide Available to WrenchWay Top Shops
If you’re a WrenchWay Top Shop, be sure to read the full guide with downloadable resources. Login to your WrenchWay account, and find the guide under “Tips – Performance Management & Retention.”
Interested in learning more about how you can create an onboarding program for new technicians? Become a WrenchWay Top Shop.