Properly welcoming a new employee on board has a positive ripple effect on everyone in your company. There are many ‘onboarding’ methods to ensure that your new hire feels welcome and prepared in their new position. Here are 10 tips to ensure that you deliver a First Class ‘onboarding’ experience for your new employee.
Now more than ever, it’s critical for business to address the high costs of high employee turnover. Clued-in hiring managers know about the increasing trend. New staff members are staying at jobs for less time than they use to. And that’s leading to extra costs, lost revenue, and generally, a tough environment for organisations to just stay afloat. Many companies struggle to attract quality new talent amidst this steady turnover and employee disengagement. If you want to ensure success, rethink, plan, prepare and most importantly deliver a meaningful onboarding experience for your new employees.
So – what can be done…?
Don’t over sell or overpromise during the hiring process.
It’s a bit like the experience we all so often have with airlines who oversell and ultimately under deliver. Nothing turns employees off more than the realisation that the job they thought they were hired to do is sorely different than what they’re actually doing. As an employer, misrepresenting your employee’s new role destroys trust in you immediately, after which no amount of orientation effort can undo the initial damage. So, ensure to brief your hiring managers about the Dos and Don’ts before and during the interviewing and hiring process. There is a lot of pressure to get ‘bums on seats’ for everyone involved but you can manage the communication process to ensure that there is no misunderstanding or false expectations about the role.
Provide the employee with a plan of objectives and responsibilities.
A written plan detailing objectives, strategy and expectations of future results helps diminish any confusion about a new employee’s job functions and instead opens up the floor to discuss concerns or new opportunities. The right amount of information regarding your expectations helps the new employee to prepare for the role. It is also an excellent tool to keep employees and managers on track with agreed objectives and strategies.
Pay attention to your new employee.
Orientation sessions with ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentations or out dated manuals are not a good way to introduce employees to your business. Letting emails, phone calls or other employees distract you during inductions sends the message that they aren’t that important and it also kills morale. I suggest that you call the employee a few days ahead of the start to arrange a personal meeting over a coffee or a lunch before the jobs starts. Sounds like a luxury to you? Try it – it does wonders for you and the employee! Spend some time to get to know your new employee a bit better and then prepare a checklist of subjects to review with your new employee, set aside the appropriate amount of time to do it, and let others know that you are not to be interrupted while you are inducting your new employees. This gives new employees the message that they are the most important item on your agenda. You don’t have to do all the inductions yourself. Delegate sometimes, but ensure to brief your partners and follow up to ensure consistency.
Get the paperwork ready and out of the way.
This could be No. 1 on your list depending on how big and bureaucratic your company is. Get the paperwork out of the way as early as possible and take ownership of the delivery to ensure that your new staff member feels secure about the formalities. Make sure all administrative forms, such as employment, direct deposit, and benefits, are ready to be completed on day one or maybe even earlier so you don’t have to waste time dealing with it later, and so that your employee can start getting these important matters taken care of right away.
Introduce the new employee to the staff.
I suggest that you provide staff members with a summary of the new employee’s resume (or possibly even the resume itself) and job description and advise them to follow a meeting or introduction format that includes sharing a description of their own positions, ways in which their roles interact with that of the new hire, and how they might expect to work together in the future. Let your new employee know that your staff have a synopsis of his or her resume. This keeps your new employees attempts to impress in check and keeps them honest about their achievements. It also calms your existing staff and provides them with ample opportunity to check out the ‘new guy’ in social media platforms such as LinkedIn. You can also use this opportunity to assign a mentor or buddy to the new hire as an immediate resource for any questions and key information about organisational culture and goals.
Set up tools and spaces.
No matter what your business model, tools and work situation is, ensure to organise the tools and spaces. An empty workstation is to a new employee what a messy home is to a houseguest. It does not take much to organise an orderly workstation office or assigned desk. Before the employee arrives on day one, stock his or her workstation with everything from basic company brochures to keys, online logins and anything else which could speed up and enhance the welcoming induction process and, if possible and relevant to the role, organise business cards. One of the biggest time and money wasters is unprepared IT situations. Make sure the desk phone, mobile and computer, complete with voicemail and e-mail accounts, are set up. Leave a copy of an organisational chart, staff list, and phone directory on the new hire’s desk or hand it over in person. This reduces start up anxiety and truly makes your new staff member feel welcome.
Breathe your culture.
The employee was hired because he or she ‘fits in’ so ensure to re-brief your newbie about your expectations and your company culture. Again, to avoid future confusion (or embarrassment), provide the employee with company insight, tips, trends, information, policies – including dress code and late policies – and benefits. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. (I read this great line in a recent job ad and I loved it!) If your organisation has a culture and if that culture is important ensure to convey it to your new employee early. You might have a soft or hard copy handbook, a video or if you are lucky an experienced HR professional who can coach and guide the new staff member through your company culture induction.
Follow up regularly.
You can increase the chances of a smooth ‘onboarding’ period if you ensure to connect regularly with the new employee. If you can’t do this on a weekly or fortnightly basis, schedule meetings to provide feedback at 30 and 90 day checkpoints, or before a semi-annual review.
Keep it simple and in small portions.
The first day is always tough and it can really turn off everyone if it is not planned and organised properly. Keep it simple and don’t over-pack the day. Allow for breaks and vary the first day’s schedule by including less formal gatherings between meetings. Arrange for a group of staff members to treat the new hire to lunch or coffee on the first day to provide a little non-meeting relief and levity. Ice breakers are a great tool to help both the new employee and the existing staff to get to know each other.
Just collecting feedback, however, will not deliver suitable or meaningful insight and information to confirm your hiring decision. I am convinced that you will get the best feedback if you encourage your staff members and managers to follow a set format and to align their observations and feedback to the objectives and the job description as mentioned in point 5. You can set your review after 90 days or request formal feedback on the new hire’s performance from his or her supervisor earlier if it is important to you, but be sure to solicit feedback from the employee as well. Take this opportunity to address any issues of concern as well as note any accomplishments so that all parties are confident that the new hire is poised for success in his or her role.
Following some or maybe all of these onboarding procedures will help you to launch a successful transition for your new hires and it will demonstrate your culture. If you like my recommendations share them or send us some commentary with your own insight and tips, and if you are seeking new staff, remember to hunt wisely!