Building a successful MOPS team: 10 steps to onboarding MOPS talent (post 2 of 5)

September 10, 2021 Chuck Leddy

Note to Readers: “Building a Successful MOPS Team” is a 5-part blog series that focuses on people. The series will cover: (1) when and how to hire MOPS talent, (2) how to onboard talent, (3) how to effectively manage a MOPS team, (4) how to support professional development within MOPS teams, and (5) how to approach the future of MOPS. We asked Sojourn Solution Delivery Directors Claire Robinson and Carmen Gardiner, both with long experience working within MOPS and helping MOPS teams on behalf of Sojourn Solutions, to share their insights with us (and you) for this blog post series.

The stakes are high when it comes to onboarding new hires: “in terms of employee experience, onboarding is where you start to build loyalty and engagement with your talent, where you start to integrate the new hire into your team and organizational culture,” says Claire Robinson. “It’s important to get the right people involved in the onboarding process.” 

When done well, onboarding lays the groundwork for long-term success for the new hire and the MOPS team. Effective onboarding, according to  the Society of Human Resources Professionals (SHRM), “can improve productivity, build loyalty and engagement, and help employees become successful early in their careers with the new organization.” But only 12% of employees think their employer actually did a great job with onboarding them, according to a Gallup survey. That’s not good enough . . .

Here are ten steps to drive onboarding success:

  1. Use a buddy system, job shadowing or mentoring. “You should get someone on the team who does a similar role to agree to act as the new hire’s buddy, coach or job shadowing partner for the first few days or so,” says Robinson. “The new hire can then observe, ask questions, and feel safe from the start.”
  2. Put the new hire to work as a member of a cross-functional team. “That way the new hire can sit back and listen and learn as well as create relationships with cross functional groups,” says Gardiner, “all in an environment where everyone is trying to solve a larger problem.”
  3. Discuss expectations with the new hire and how the role will be evaluated. “It’s important that managers fully discuss expectations with the new hire, and explain how they’ll be evaluated, so they’ll know what to prioritize. That helps drive not only the daily workload of the new hire, but also their engagement and sense of belonging,” explains Robinson.
  4. Define reasonable expectations with stakeholders too. “When you introduce the new hire to stakeholders, maybe on the first day, just say that the onboarding plan is ongoing and will last for X days,” says Gardiner. “Explain that the new hire will be fully up and running soon, but until that time arrives, their buddy or mentor is going to be helping them with any requests that come in -- so please be mindful of these expectations as onboarding happens.”
  5. Enable with tools and know-how. “You need to equip the new hire with the knowledge and tools they’ll need to succeed,” says Robinson. “The manager should walk the new hire through how to use the tools they’ll need, showing them the processes they should be following. Of course, as a manager, you'll need to explain these things multiple times -- it takes some hand-holding at the beginning with any new hire.”
  6. Check in on progress. “Putting some time frames around the onboarding process helps and so does having checkpoints. So based on your past experience, it may take a month for someone to learn X,” says Robinson. “After a month, you check in about X and listen for feedback from the new hire and the team. How’s the quality of the work the hire is producing and how can we offer more support if needed?” Gardiner agrees, and offers even more specifics: “Set up a 30, 60, and 90-day onboarding plan with the new hire. These plans work well because reviewing expectations within each time period takes the pressure off the higher achievers to hit the ground running while they're still being onboarded,” she says. “That’s important because onboarding a new hire too fast can wreak havoc on a marketing ops team.”
  7. Have regular stand up meetings with the new hire. “A 15-minute stand up every morning with the manager and new hire will enable both of you to understand what they have on their plate for that day and if they have any questions, because a lot of new hires are hesitant to ask their manager for help,” says Gardiner.
  8. Check in with the new hire’s stakeholders. “Ask how the team and others are working with the new person, because they're typically closer to the new hire than the manager is,” says Gardiner, "as you want to get the full picture."
  9. Give new hires honest and constructive feedback, as needed. “The manager needs to give honest, constructive feedback on the hire’s performance,” says Gardiner. “So you might tell the hire, ‘you should listen more in meetings or you should be more communicative because this particular stakeholder prefers more communication.’ Then see if that constructive feedback resonates with the new hire. If it doesn't, then you might have some problems moving forward.”
  10. Be ready to admit you made a (hiring) mistake. “No matter how thorough you were in the hiring process, there will be times when you make a bad hire. It happens to the best managers and teams,” says Gardiner. “If you’ve tried open and honest communication, if you've given feedback and mentored, and it’s still not working out, you need to be able to recognize that you've made a bad hire. And a bad hire can negatively affect everyone around them and blow your reputation company-wide as a manager.” So, yes, do everything you can to onboard the new hire. “But if it's not working out, don’t be afraid to admit it and move on,” Gardiner says.

If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your MOPS team and your marketing, reach out to us here.

Next in this series: Building a successful MOPS team: How to effectively manage MOPS talent (post 3 of 5)

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