Onboarding new employees is a critical process that can have a significant impact on an organisation’s success. When done well, it can help new hires feel welcomed, engaged, and empowered to contribute to the company’s goals. However, it can also be a daunting task for any organisation, especially in today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving business environment.

To ensure that new hires are set up for success, it’s essential to have a well-designed onboarding process that provides them with the necessary tools, resources, and support to thrive in their roles. While there are many approaches to designing an effective onboarding process, there are some key takeaways that we can learn from rugby teams that can be applied to your business.

Rugby is a physically demanding sport that requires strong teamwork, leadership, and resilience to succeed. rugby teams must work together, understand their roles and responsibilities, provide feedback and support to each other and be adaptable to changing circumstances. These same principles can be applied to your onboarding processes.

In this blog post, we will explore five key takeaways from rugby teams that can be applied to your onboarding processes: strong leadership, teamwork, clear roles and responsibilities, feedback and continuous improvement, and resilience and adaptability. By applying these lessons, you can help your new hires feel welcomed, engaged, and productive from day one, setting them and your organisation up for success.

Strong leadership
Strong leadership is essential in any organisation to create a sense of direction, purpose, and belonging for new employees during the onboarding process. Effective communication is a key aspect of strong leadership, which means clearly conveying the company’s mission, vision, and values to new employees, as well as providing them with a comprehensive overview of their role and responsibilities. By setting clear expectations and providing regular feedback, new employees are more likely to understand what is expected of them and feel valued as a part of the team. For example, the rugby team’s captain is responsible for leading the team and creating a culture of collaboration and teamwork. Similarly, in an organisation, strong leadership helps to set the tone for the company’s culture and values.

Another important aspect of strong leadership is providing ongoing support to new hires. This can take many forms, such as assigning a mentor or a buddy to help new hires adjust to the company’s culture and processes, providing access to training and development programs, and regularly checking in to provide feedback and support. By providing ongoing support, new employees are more likely to feel confident in their work and engaged in their role, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.

Having a clear plan is also essential. This means having a designated person or team responsible for overseeing the onboarding process, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to welcome new hires and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. With a clear plan in place, new employees are more likely to feel supported and engaged in their work from the very beginning, leading to a smoother transition and faster ramp-up time. By implementing these key takeaways, organisations can create a more positive onboarding experience for new employees and ultimately lead to better retention and a stronger company culture.

A rugby team’s success depends on every player working together towards a common goal. Similarly, in organisations, a culture of teamwork is essential in achieving goals and objectives. During the onboarding process, new employees should be introduced to the wider team and encouraged to work collaboratively towards shared goals. By fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration, new employees will feel like part of the team and be more likely to stay engaged and motivated to contribute to the company’s success.

To promote teamwork, cross-functional training can be an effective way to help new employees understand the different roles and responsibilities within the company. This approach can also help new hires identify potential collaboration opportunities with other teams or departments. Additionally, organising team-building activities and social events can help new employees form strong relationships with their colleagues and establish a sense of camaraderie.

Provide new employees with the necessary tools and resources to work collaboratively. This can include access to shared workspaces, communication platforms and project management tools.

Clear roles and responsibilities
Understanding one’s role and responsibilities is crucial for effective job performance. Just as each rugby player has a specific role on the field, new hires must be provided with a clear job description and responsibilities to increase productivity and avoid confusion.

A clear understanding of their role can also help new employees integrate into the company’s culture. By knowing their responsibilities, they can better understand the company’s values, goals and how they fit into the bigger picture, leading to a greater sense of belonging and motivation. It’s important to ensure that new hires also understand their team’s objectives and how their role contributes to them, nurturing a deeper connection to the team and company’s mission.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting job roles and responsibilities is essential to ensure they align with the company’s evolving requirements. Similar to how rugby teams adjust their game plan or change player positions to better suit the opposition, job roles and responsibilities should be periodically reviewed to ensure relevance and contribution to company objectives. This also presents an opportunity to identify areas where new skills or knowledge may be needed to improve job performance.

When roles and responsibilities are clear and well-defined, employees can work effectively and contribute to the company’s overall success.

Feedback and continuous improvement
Continuous improvement within a rugby team is achieved by providing feedback and support to players. Similarly, in organisations, providing regular feedback and support to new employees is essential for their growth and development. Regular check-ins, training, and coaching sessions can help new hires identify areas for improvement and develop their skills and knowledge. A culture of continuous improvement can be promoted by encouraging new hires to ask for feedback and provide opportunities for them to learn and develop their skills.

Feedback should be constructive and delivered in a way that is supportive and encouraging. It should focus on specific actions and behaviours, rather than personal characteristics. Regular check-ins can provide an opportunity for managers and new hires to discuss progress and identify areas for improvement.

In addition to providing feedback and support, organisations can promote a culture of continuous improvement by celebrating successes and learning from failures. By acknowledging achievements and sharing best practices, new hires can learn from their peers and feel motivated to improve their performance. By reflecting on failures and identifying areas for improvement, new hires can develop resilience and learn from their mistakes. A culture of continuous improvement can help to create a dynamic and adaptable organisation that is always striving to be its best.

Resilience and adaptability
Resilience and adaptability are critical qualities that rugby players need to succeed. The physical nature of the sport means that players will face challenges and setbacks, such as injuries and losses, that require them to be mentally and physically resilient. Players must also be adaptable, as the game can be unpredictable and they may need to adjust their tactics and approach to overcome their opponents. This requires players to have a growth mindset and a willingness to learn and develop their skills.

To cultivate resilience and adaptability in new employees during the onboarding process, companies can:

  • Set realistic expectations: Be transparent about what new hires can expect in their role and the challenges they may face. Provide them with resources and support to help them navigate any challenges that arise.
  • Provide regular feedback: This can help new hires improve their skills and build confidence. This can also help them to feel supported and encouraged to keep learning and developing.
  • Encourage a growth mindset: Emphasise the importance of learning and development, and encourage new hires to embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth.
  • Encourage a supportive culture: Create a culture where your newbies feel comfortable asking for help. Support them when needed. Encourage collaboration and teamwork to help new employees feel more connected to their colleagues and the company.

In conclusion, onboarding is a critical process that requires careful planning and execution to ensure that new employees feel welcomed, engaged and productive. By taking inspiration from rugby teams, organisations can apply the principles of strong leadership, teamwork, clear roles and responsibilities, feedback and continuous improvement and resilience and adaptability to their onboarding processes.

At BMS Performance, we understand the importance of an effective onboarding process. We offer a range of services to help organisations develop and implement successful onboarding process. Our experienced consultants can help you to design and deliver onboarding programmes that are tailored to your specific business needs, ensuring that new employees are productive and engaged from day one. Get started today to see how we can help you build a successful onboarding process and help you retain your next employee!