What we can learn from Star Wars about onboarding

Either you love Star Wars or you’re wrong. It’s the undergraduate Dune fanfiction that turned into a merchandising machine close to our hearts.

There are many things to be learned from the Star Wars Universe. With almost 40 years of history, and countless entries to the franchise, it’s hard not to take away valuable insights into all aspects of life.

Employee onboarding is no exception. There are as many great onboarding examples in Star Wars as there are on-screen deaths.

Here are just some onboarding tips you can use to build your own empire:

Give your employees something to believe in

Han Solo was the scruffiest looking nerf herder in the outer rim. He smuggled spice, ran from his responsibilities (and wife apparently, according to the new comics), and shot unsuspecting bounty hunters from under the table (1997 re-issue be damned!).

But even he couldn’t resist the cause of the rebellion. Han’s pivotal character moment comes at the end of A New Hope. He tells Luke Skywalker he will not be joining the rebel fleet assault against the Death Star, then he flies in and saves Luke from pursuing TIE fighters when all hope seems lost.

He reverses his responsibility-dodging ways to become a valuable asset to the rebellion. Han grows into a respected commander, a cunning strategist, and an influential asset in the Galactic Civil War.

The empire would kick themselves if they knew Han Solo was going to walk out on the rebels. He was persuaded by a righteous cause and a beautiful princess to join the fight against the empire.

Give your new hires a higher purpose to believe in. Make them feel like they’re contributing to something greater and you can turn the most nefarious smuggler into a strong leader.

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Source

Create a strong, Sith like culture

Being a Sith is about more than wearing black, using red lightsabers, and sick tattoos. There is a mind-set that goes along with the ways of the Sith.

The Sith are known for their willingness to step on other people to achieve their goals, to backstab others to ensure their own success, and to only serve in self-interest.

These characteristics may sound bad, but the Sith are given a mental toolkit on how to approach situations. It’s possible to confront any situation in the most Sith way possible.

You’ll probably want to promote positive tendencies in your organisation, but you’ll benefit by having them as ingrained as the Sith. A strong culture gives you the assurance employees will act in the best interest of the organisation.

A strong culture will keep your organisation focused and driven. Your culture could have the power to rule the galaxy!

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Source: Iparchive

Give your employees freedom to choose

The prequel trilogy is the story of Anakin Skywalker’s transition to the darkside. The Jedi Council could have prevented his transition by allowing him a wife and a family.

Jedi were allowed to have families in the days of the old republic, but the acceptable nature of this was lost after the Great Sith War. As a result, Anakin was forced to choose between the Jedi Council and his family. The Jedi Council lost.

Having intrusive process limits the potential of employees. Anakin could have stayed with the Jedi Council and raised a family simultaneously, remaining a formidable Jedi with minimal compromise.

New employees come from all walks of life and bring their own experience to the position. Your organisation needs to have an open mind on how to approach process. There is every possibility your new recruit could have a better way of doing things.

Be flexible with new employees. Having a new approach to an old problem doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Resist the input of new employees and you could end up pushing them into the arms of a competitor.

The Emperor gave Anakin a better offer than the rigid ways of the Jedi Council. The results were disastrous for all involved.

Source: hevydevy1
Source: hevydevy1

Have a defined and streamlined process when onboarding employees

Both the Trade Federation and the Republic took the production line approach when creating soldiers for the clone wars.

Taking the production line approach means both sides follow the same process for every recruit, with only minor deviations for specific roles.

Having a uniform process means you can amass an army of recruits at a moment’s notice. You can gather a workforce to take on a new project or build an army to assault the spire on Geonosis in no time.

Effective onboarding helps with more than building teams. Onboarding gives employees the skills to tackle problems of all sizes before they occur. Imagine if your team’s first assignment was to take on an entire droid army, and imagine how good it would feel when you win.

But you will need to periodically monitor your employee onboarding process so you don’t leave any Order 66 sized holes. The last thing you want is for your employees to turn on you.

Source: imagefiltr
Source: imagefiltr

Train your new hires to give them specialised skills

Darth Maul was raised by Emperor Palpatine to hunt Jedi. He was taught from a young age to use the force, master lightsaber combat, and to kill the Jedi.

You may not be able to train your new hires from childhood, but you can start their training from before day one. Familiarise new hires with your organisation, your culture, and your methodology before they start.

Growing your new hire’s knowledge of the organisation gets them off on the right foot. You can grow their technical skills in the relevant areas once they’ve started.

Invest in training for your employees over time. You should grow the skills of existing employees as well as new hires. Continual training grows your workforce into specialised experts like Darth Maul– wells of knowledge with razor sharp technical skill.

Get your employees to a Darth Maul level of onboarding and they will satisfy your every need. Just play it safe and keep them away from the padawans. I don’t know how Obi-Won killed him at the end of The Phantom Menace, I call bull on the whole thing.

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Source: baynews9

Combine these ideas for the best onboarding process in the galaxy

Don’t feel like the lowly farm boy from HR, where all the best onboarding practices are happening in an organsiation far, far away.

Combine these onboarding practices and you’ll bullseye every new employee like a womprat in your T-16. You’ll be amazed at what happens when your employees are strong with engagement.

Together with your workforce, you can rule the industry. Look deep within yourself, you know this to be true. Let the process flow through you, and the circle will be complete.

Did I miss out on any awesome onboarding tips from the trilogies? Comment below with your best onboarding takeaways from the Star Wars franchise.