Hiring a new employee doesn’t end once you’ve offered someone a job and they’ve accepted. In fact, in many ways, the process is just beginning. To build a good relationship with your new employee, it’s critical that you have an on-boarding process that will make them feel welcome and ensure a smooth transition to their new position within your company. Follow these tips for a top-notch on-boarding program to benefit both you and your new talent.
6 Tips for a Successful Employee On-Boarding Program
Understand the difference between on-boarding and orientation
We’ve all sat through boring employee orientation training where we fill out paperwork and set up email accounts and are assigned mailboxes. On-boarding is so much more. If you think about it in terms of a journey on a ship, orientation is purchasing a ticket and getting through customs; on-boarding is walking up onto the ship and being shown to your cabin, then escorted to the dining hall and introduced to some other passengers. These are two completely different parts of the new-hire experience.
Prepare for the employee
How many times have you arrived at your first day of work and had to wait around while someone got you an ID badge and for someone from IT to install a used computer in your cubicle? There is no reason for this unless it was a last-minute hire starting the next day. Make certain that the employee’s work-space is set up, the computer is updated, the voice-mail system is ready to go, and all passwords and keys are ready to be handed over immediately. This is all preparation that can be done in the weeks prior to the employee’s start date.
Make personal introductions
Have a team member or two selected to act as guides or buddies for the first few days. Make sure they are greeted when they arrive, and quickly paired up with someone who is there to help. No one wants to walk in and feel lost, or to have to ask where they need to go. Make sure parking and entrance information are discussed prior to the first day, and have someone prepared to meet them in the lobby and walk them through the first morning. Stick close by throughout the first few days to make introductions, and to answer any questions, as well as helping to understand any orientation information. Just because you have a fantastic on-boarding program doesn’t mean you get to skip the mundane paperwork.
Make orientation and training simple
Have all paperwork and materials laid out and ready prior to arrival. Have an HR packet waiting at their new work space with clear instructions for filling it out, and any supplies they will need to begin work. Have a set schedule for a tour, a few hours set aside for filling out paperwork, and let them know when you will be stopping by to check on things. Having it planned out ahead of time reduces questions, and reduces confusion when the trainer and the HR representative both show up at the same time.
Communication is key
You don’t want to wind up with a confused and disoriented new employee who feels out of place and isn’t sure what is expected of them. Make sure that duties and expectations are clearly communicated and that this information is readily accessible to the employee moving forward. So much information is absorbed in the first few days that something important can be easily overlooked or forgotten. A monthly report may have been discussed at a meeting on the first day, but 3 weeks later may completely slip their mind when it comes due. Make sure that they have the information and tools to do the job that you are expecting.
Don’t put too much on their plate
Even in a fast paced environment where a lot is expected, don’t throw too much work at someone right out of the gate. Give some easy assignments and plenty of time to do them at first, giving the new employee time to adjust to the new position and to get a feel for the rhythm of the office. Make sure you explain that more will be expected later, as you don’t want them to get the wrong idea, but make sure they have a few weeks to acclimatize to the company before expecting full productivity.
Don’t forget to follow up
This doesn’t mean stop by on Friday afternoon at 10 minutes to closing to check on the new employee. This means regularly scheduled opportunities for feedback, starting with a good 20-30 minutes each day the first week that can then be tapered off as the employee begins to settle in. Use these meetings as an opportunity to explain company culture, as well as asking for genuine feedback about the onboarding experience and any questions that may have arisen. Use this as an opportunity to learn what you can do better, as well as establishing an open line of communication for the future. A great on-boarding program doesn’t end – it evolves into a great relationship with the employee that will help to secure the future for them and your company.