New Employee Feedback: Ensure Your New Hires Get a Productive Start
Training and feedback go hand in hand. New employee feedback is crucial for honing the skills new hires need to succeed. Constructive feedback helps keep them engaged and provides direction as they learn new processes and procedures.
As an HR professional, you know that the early stages of employment are vital for employee retention. Not only that, but effective feedback can help new hires onboard faster, increasing their productivity early on.
In this article, we will discuss why feedback is so vital for recent hires and give some specific tips and general guidance you can use to strengthen your new employee feedback.
✈️ Why feedback is essential for successful onboarding
New hires often feel nervous and overwhelmed in their early days at a company. In addition to a well-thought-out onboarding process, new employee feedback keeps them focused on what they need to learn and motivates them by highlighting what they are doing well.
Upward feedback from new employees can also be valuable. Fresh opinions about onboarding, the training process, and the company can provide valuable insight into how to improve things. A new hire onboarding survey is a rare opportunity to get unbiased opinions about your company’s first impression.
Frequent feedback encourages open communication, which is important for new employees. They may have questions that will help them improve or concerns you want to iron out for them. Without establishing lines of communication, new hires may be hesitant to share their employee experience.
➡️ Learn more about how to design powerful onboarding workflows.
🏆 7 Benefits of providing feedback to new hires
New employees often struggle in a new position because they don’t know if they are living up to the standard of performance. By giving positive feedback, you affirm your employees that they are on the right track and can provide suggestions for improvement. Therefore, giving feedback is essential for engaging and retaining new hires.
Here are seven reasons why providing feedback to new hires is so important.
For new employees to succeed and know they are meeting expectations, they need to know what those expectations are. Otherwise, imposter syndrome sets in, and they may doubt their ability to do the job. This can cause unnecessary tension and even lead to higher turnover rates.
New hires are going to make mistakes. As they are learning new skills and processes, it is inevitable that some things will slip through the cracks. In order to prevent those mistakes from becoming bad habits, they need to be identified and corrected through feedback.
Letting new employees know when they are going well is equally important. Feedback isn’t just about giving criticism; you should also use it to identify strengths and offer encouragement. Without positive feedback, employees may get the impression that they are constantly being corrected, which can lead to feelings of incompetence and negatively impact job satisfaction.
Reinforcing positive behavior
Reinforcing positive behavior is more than just pointing out strengths and complimenting success. Recognizing good habits and talent early on can help teams and employees decide on a good path for their professional development. This also presents an opportunity to award good traits and provide positive feedback.
Feedback is also crucial for keeping new hires engaged. Not necessarily the act of feedback itself, but a constant flow of goals and guidance give new employees something to focus on and work toward. Without it, they might feel lost or lacking direction which can reduce job satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment. If you want some data, consider administering an employee engagement survey.
➡️ If the results are lower than expected, try these 11 best practices to boost new hire engagement.
Consistent feedback allows you to set milestones and track the progress of new hires. Setting achievable, short-term goals will keep new employees constantly moving forward toward their full potential. This allows them to become fully productive sooner, reducing training time and making more efficient use of payroll.
Enabling better teamwork
Instilling a culture of feedback in your company will nurture communication between and within your teams. This encourages individuals to share ideas and opinions to make departments and the entire company more effective. Feedback also provides an opportunity to critique teamwork skills, improving those abilities.
🔍 What kind of feedback should you give to your new hires?
The goal of feedback is to improve an employee’s performance and potential. Therefore, for your feedback to be most helpful, it should be constructive and consistent.
Constructive feedback aims to inform and improve, which is especially important for new hires who have a lot to learn. Regular feedback will help keep them engaged and guide them toward a clear training path.
Consistent feedback is vital for establishing a mindset that criticism is not to be feared but embraced for personal growth and professional development.
Unexpected feedback is more likely to catch employees off-guard and be interpreted negatively.
Present regular, pre-planned feedback as a strategy for helping new employees succeed by strengthening their skills. Plus, by offering support rather than demands, employees will become comfortable with a culture of feedback that fosters a healthy employer relationship.
⏰ When and how to give feedback to new employees during onboarding
Though employees should receive feedback consistently and indefinitely, the frequency tends to be higher early on: new hires encounter lots of different tasks and processes during the earliest stages of onboarding, providing lots of opportunities for support and guidance.
While this is crucial for nurturing their personal growth and professional development, be careful not to micromanage them.
Another important part of learning is figuring things out on your own, which sometimes means learning from your mistakes.
Tip: Try to reserve feedback for mistakes the subject isn’t aware of and deliver them during scheduled feedback sessions, when possible, to avoid wearing down their morale with repeated corrections.
Below is a general outline for delivering feedback to new hires, showing how the frequency of feedback and check-ins tends to slow down as employees settle in.
Introducing new hires to your company’s feedback culture is vital early on. You will get them used to the idea while settling in and meeting their coworkers. Before long, regular feedback will feel perfectly natural.
One way to do this is with mentor check-ins. In addition to feedback from human resources, mentorship programs are a great way to provide quality feedback and encourage communication. Forming a relationship with a mentor offers a source of support and one-on-one training you can’t get from a written manual.
It is also a good idea to request an employee Net Promoter Score survey early in the onboarding process. The original goal of the Net Promoter Score was to measure customer loyalty to a company.
An employee NPS can offer valuable insight into your onboarding process, uncovering what the new hire likes and dislikes about it, with unbiased suggestions from a fresh perspective.
After a month, you can ask more targeted follow-up questions about the company. Here are some examples:
- How comfortable are you in your role?
- Are there any areas you feel you could use more training?
- Is your performance meeting your expectations?
You can gain more feedback with these questions and request their first pulse survey to establish ongoing feedback.
By the end of the first month, you should also begin to recognize the employee’s strengths and potential.
Do they exhibit any particular knacks or talents that would make them a good fit for specific tasks?
At this point, you can start developing a plan for their professional growth within the company.
After 90 days you can introduce peer feedback. Obtaining feedback from other perspectives, especially coworkers who collaborate with the new employee, can uncover new strengths and weaknesses.
These perspectives will help confirm if they are achieving essential milestones and give legitimacy to feedback from traditional sources (HR, manager, and mentor).
New sources of feedback will carry more weight than the regularly scheduled feedback they have grown accustomed to.
The end of the first quarter is a good time to measure the engagement and administer job satisfaction surveys.
While this probably isn’t the end of the onboarding process, it is often the end of the probationary period.
Tip: By now, you should have a solid impression of the new hire, with a steady stream of upward and downward feedback documented. Use this data to set long-term goals.
After six months, new employees can participate in regular peer feedback cycles and pulse surveys.
By this point, the onboarding process may have run its course, making the “new employee” a regular part of the team!
They can still seek guidance from their mentor and consistent feedback from HR, but at this point, the frequency and detail of the feedback will probably have slowed. With the crucial early stages behind them, the employee can focus on refining their skills independently with the help of self-evaluation.
You can transition from “new employee feedback” to your regular feedback cycles at this stage. Hopefully, you were able to establish a strong foundation that will lead to future success and a hunger for continued growth.
Tip: Also, don’t forget about recognition. Recognizing achievements or positive behaviors is a form of feedback.
➡️ Keep things fresh with these 42 employee recognition ideas.
💡 3 Tips for giving feedback to new hires
Feedback is a two-way street and should also be a two-way conversation. You should encourage all employees, especially new ones, to share their thoughts during the feedback process. This will help you identify challenges they may be facing and come up with solutions to help overcome them.
As with any feedback, it is crucial to stay goal-oriented. This means staying conscious that feedback is a tool to help new employees succeed and trying to sync your feedback with an employee’s individual goals. Very early on, you may not understand a new hire’s goals well, but try to ferret them out as soon as possible to help guide your feedback.
First, here are some universal tips for giving feedback to new hires.
New hires are learning a lot at once, so it is important not to overwhelm them. Be patient with feedback early on and expect to give a reasonable amount of reminders. You want your suggestions to stick and not get lost in the shuffle.
You should also be transparent about letting new hires know to expect regular feedback during the training process. This way, they don’t feel like they are being constantly corrected, and feedback can be delivered in batches when feasible.
Providing as much positive reinforcement as possible is also a good idea. Take every opportunity to let new employees know what they are doing well, so they don’t get discouraged by a constant stream of constructive criticism. Balancing the good with the bad will keep morale and motivation high.
➡️ If you could use some positive feedback examples, here are dozens of positive employee feedback phrases.
➡️ Here are some extra best practices for giving employee feedback that will help you provide constructive input to new hires.
➡️ Takeaway: Enable new hires with Zavvy
While employee feedback is essential at every stage, it is absolutely vital early on to build a strong foundation and provide clear direction for the future.
People operations need to understand the importance of new employee feedback and how to deliver it effectively to speed up onboarding and reduce turnover.
Zavvy’s employee onboarding software can help you schedule feedback sessions early on and assist with other important tasks for new hires.
You can also use our 360 feedback software to ensure a more rewarding new hire experience. These tools facilitate easy upward, downward, and peer-to-peer feedback you can use to support new hires and gather valuable insights about your hiring and onboarding processes.
Get in touch with our specialists for a free 30 minutes demo.