Onboarding: An Employer’s Chance to Make a Great First Impression
You’ve heard the expression, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Well, onboarding is your company’s chance with a new employee. Onboarding sets your new hire up for success and creates an overall experience (i.e. impression) that can lead to a happy and dedicated employee for years to come. Let’s face it, when you’ve invested time and resources in the hiring process, you want to keep them around. By establishing a thorough onboarding process, you will be well on your way to developing a great employee.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Think back to when you were a new hire at your favorite job. What was that first day like? When you arrived, were you greeted by someone prepared to help you through the process? Did someone make sure you had the tools you needed, tell you where to sit, and who to ask if you had questions? Who showed you around the office, introduced you to everyone, and pointed out the little things - like where the lunchroom and bathroom are located? Those are important things to know! The fact that this was your favorite job was most likely influenced by how well the first few days or weeks passed.
While it may seem like a small step in the grand scheme of the hiring process, welcoming and reassuring your new hires that they are in the right place is important. Here are six tips to help onboarding go smoothly while helping your new employee feel welcome and valued from their first day.
1. New hire paperwork.
As much as possible, get the necessary paperwork completed prior to their first day. Complete all necessary forms, obtain their ID and direct deposit information. Most paperwork can be completed online or consider scheduling a time to complete paperwork in person prior to their first day when possible. It saves time and allows a new hire to focus on meeting co-workers and on-the-job training.
2. Have the workstation set up for them.
Have their cubicle, office or place on the production line set up before they arrive. Make sure it is ready for them to sit down and get started. No one wants to clean out the desk of the person that used the space before them, so make sure it has been tidied up before they arrive.
3. Make your new hire feel welcome.
What can you do to make your onboarding process stand out? Perhaps leave a card on their workstation signed by the team or possibly arrange a breakfast or lunch to introduce them to everyone. Consider adding a special gift, such as a company t-shirt, water bottle, or coffee mug and some candy waiting for them.
4. New Hire Orientation.
Every company has some sort of orientation, which could be a few hours long or even last a few days. What can you do to ensure a smooth process when your new hire is eager to begin working?
Meet with your HR Manager or Consultant to decide how to best relay all the HR items – including everything from employee manuals, job descriptions, standard operating procedures, benefit enrollments, time off requests, and even retirement benefits – to the new employees.
Can orientation be done via video prior to starting with the company, or is it something that may take an afternoon on Day 1 to sufficiently cover all of the information?
If the information is extensive, think about creating an online course that can be assigned to the employee and schedule a time for them to complete it. Incorporate a quiz or other check-in feature to engage the new hire - and to ensure they were paying attention. Keep an HR rep on standby in case any questions come up.
5. Plan out their first week.
New hires can feel lost initially and may feel like they are more of a burden instead of a contributor. Show that you are investing in their success.
Schedule training and assign a seasoned team member to work with them - someone who enjoys sharing their knowledge with new employees.
Clearly define the expectations for the week. What they will learn during this time, and when they will be working on their own?
Have them work with the people they can turn to for questions and support once they are working independently.
6. Show them you are happy to have them on the team.
Check-in on new employees daily, and ask how they are doing. Set aside time at the end of week one and have an open dialogue about how things went overall. If they are struggling, find out why, and address concerns promptly. Remind them that everyone was new once; provide guidance on how long it may take for someone to feel settled in the role, which varies based on position.
Investing time and effort in a strong and supportive onboarding process is a game-changer. You’ve taken the time to find and hire qualified candidates for the position, so it just makes sense to make them feel welcome while setting them up to be a successful and long-term member of your team.