March 12, 2013

The first 3 months can make or break the future of a new hire at your company. It is essential to have an effective employee onboarding process in place to ensure that all new hires are able to hit the ground running. The purpose of employee onboarding is not only to make sure that a new hire is familiar with company policies and job duties, but to make them feel welcome and as though they truly fit in within your company’s environment. 

A successful onboarding process will minimize the time it takes for employees to become productive and it will increase employee retention rates. We all know that the expense of trying to replace an employee can cost up to 3 times that person’s salary. So, why wouldn’t you do your best to ensure that your employees are happy?  

Do you want your new hires to feel lost and neglected during the first few months on the job? Or, do you want them to feel like they are joining an organization that truly cares about their sense of belonging and future success? Here are some suggestions to make the first 3 months of your employee onboarding process as effective as possible:

Day One:

There is nothing worse than an employee coming to his or her first day of work and not having a workspace ready. Be sure that the new hire has everything necessary to do his or her job including a phone, employee contact list and working voicemail. An extra special touch would be to have business cards ready. This will show that you see the new hire having a future at your company and that he or she is already a member of the team.

Next, have someone, preferably a supervisor or a top performer, give him or her a tour of the office and initiate introductions with coworkers. At my company, along with introducing new hires to everyone around the office, we send out an email to introduce them company-wide. This allows for interaction with employees from our other office which is located in a different state. This may not be directly applicable depending on the size of your company, but it creates the sense of joining a team.

Also, try and plan to take the new hire out to lunch with a group of coworkers in an informal setting. This will help the new employee to develop relationships with people which will, in turn, help them to become more comfortable in the new environment.

Be sure to schedule time for the new hire to sit down with his or her direct supervisor and review the responsibilities of the position, the company mission, and what the next few months in the position will look like. It is important to set expectations about output and performance from the very beginning. This will create less confusion and new hires are more likely to live up to expectations or even surpass them if they know what they are.

Finally, provide the new employee with all necessary HR forms and discuss any important policies and procedures. It is important to let new hires know the company’s processes regarding various matters such as resolving complaints. Also, be sure to discuss details like dress code, normal work hours, and overtime policies. Clarifying the company culture will help prevent the new hire from breaking any “rules” unintentionally.

A Few Fun Ideas:

  • Have the new employee fill out a short bio and pass it out to other employees
  • Provide branded company items such as mugs, shirts, pens, etc.
  • Send a card to a new hire’s house welcoming them and have it signed by key team members
  • Are there multiple people starting on the same day? Have them play a trivia game like Jeopardy based on your company’s information
  • Create a group on Facebook or LinkedIn for new hires in your company so they can connect with other employees even before their first day

Week One:

Prior to a new hire’s first day, you should have created an agenda for his or her first week. Try to schedule one-on-one meetings for the new hire with key staff members each day. Provide each of these staff members with the new hire’s resume and have each explain their own role, as well as how their roles will interact now and in the future. This will help the new employee to better understand the organization as a whole. 

There should also be frequent communication between the new hire and his or her supervisor during the first week. In addition to items discussed at the meeting on day one, the supervisor should share how decisions are made, timelines, performance metrics, etc. Once again, defining expectations will allow the new hire to be much more successful in their new role. A study by the Aberdeen group reports that 89% of new hires do not feel they have the necessary knowledge to be successful in their role. This is a problem that can easily be fixed!

The supervisor should also encourage feedback from the new employee about any ideas he or she has for improvement regarding operations, strategy, culture, organization, etc. Some may be hesitant to provide this type of feedback initially, but it is important to establish the foundation for this type of communication.

If the new hire is in a supervisory role, make sure that he or she meets with team members both one-one-one and as a group during that first week. This will allow the new hire to get a feel for each person’s responsibilities and work style. The goal is to help build the new team and get everyone on the same page in order to maintain or increase productivity.

Day 90:

It is important to maintain open lines of communication with a new hire and help him or her settle into the new position. After 3 months, there should be a formal feedback session with a new hire, as well as his or her supervisor in order to ascertain progress made and any concerns. During this meeting, any issues should be addressed and all parties involved should be confident going forward that the new hire is ready to be successful in his or her new role.

In the end, it really is in the best interest of both you and your employees to have a proper onboarding process in place. This will save you money in the long run and will generally make new employees happier and more enthusiastic about their new roles.

Please share your own experiences with employee onboarding, as well as any ideas that I haven’t covered below!

Posted By: Briana Perrino

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