You’ve gone through recruiting, interviewing, selection, and offer processes, and made a new hire for your business. Now begins the process of making this new employee part of your team.
Even though 71% of companies say they plan to increase hiring over the next 12 months, only 32% of companies have a formal onboarding process in place, according to Aberdeen Group. Onboarding is more than signing paperwork and watching orientation and training videos. It is the process by which new employees learn the company values, mission, and culture, and how they will fit into that picture and strengthen the team.
The best onboarding process lasts a month or longer with follow-ups and check-ins throughout the first year of employment. That being said, let’s focus on the first day of work.
The first day of work can set the tone for the employee’s experience at your organization, increase productivity, and lower turnover rates. Here are seven steps to creating a good first impression for a new hire.
1. Pre-first-day welcome
Make a phone call or send a welcome email outlining the agenda for the first day−or even the first week. The employee is excited to start working with your company. Providing information regarding where to park, where to check-in, what to wear, what documents to bring, and what to do for lunch can alleviate new job jitters and help prepare the employee for what to expect. Plan to take them out to lunch on the first day to provide a quiet time to gauge how the employee is engaging with the company.
If you use virtual onboarding, send the access link so forms can be completed in advance. If you are providing benefits, send the paperwork so a new hire can read up and research the different offerings and be able select coverages during the onboarding process.
2. Have the workplace ready
Out of 400 new employees surveyed, almost one in five had no desk, one in four had no computer, and more than one in three had no work email address on their first day. Don’t make your new employee feel like an orphan with no home:
- Prepare the workspace with a desk, computer, phone and necessary office supplies.
- Ask your IT department to create a work email address and all needed access codes.
- If an identification badge is required, have it ready or arrange an appointment for the employee to obtain one first thing in the morning.
- Print out any required paperwork.
- Notify your current employees that someone new is joining the team.
3. Greet the new employee
Be ready to meet the new employee when he or she enters the work place. When you arrive the office earlier than the appointed time, you can offer a welcoming smile and a handshake. Then, plan to escort the employee around the office and make introductions to current staff. A small tour that includes the location of the break room and restrooms will help to make the employee feel at home.
4. Introduce the boss
If you are part of a larger organization, schedule meet-and-greets with department managers and executives. If unavailable, provide a company organization chart or directory, including photos of the executive staff.
Dedicate some time to educate the employee about the history of the company: who started it and how the company has achieved its mission and goals.
5. Pair the employee with a mentor/coach
Mentors can be a new hire’s personal guide to the company and provide additional support during the onboarding phase. By pairing up a new employee with a seasoned employee, an initial relationship is created. This peer relationship gives the employee someone to go to with operating or logistical questions. These conversations provide opportunities for encouragement, growth and development.
6. Prepare a specific assignment /training schedule
New employees want to be challenged by their jobs. Arrange for specific training required for new hires to perform their roles effectively and plan some initial assignments to engage the employee. An overview of the goals of the position, department and company will help clarify the importance of this new employee’s role in the company. Making a contribution right from the start can confirm to new employees that they made the right choice to join your company.
7. Follow up
Lastly, be sure to keep in contact with new employees after the first day. Set scheduled times for feedback at 30-, 60- and 90-days to ensure the employee is meeting your expectations and the company is meeting his/her expectations.
- Ask how things are going.
- Ask what is working and what isn’t.
- Ask if they are feeling fulfilled in their position.
- Ask if they are getting the training they need.
- Request recommendations for welcoming the next hire.
A solid onboarding process will contribute to each new employee’s success—and help rapidly bring the employee up-to-speed.
Michelle Merksamer is an administrative human resources consultant with HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth. Subscribe to HR Tips for more human resources news and tips.