When bringing new talent onto your team, it pays to be forward-thinking in your approach to employee onboarding. First impressions are important, and the follow-through your leadership demonstrates over the next 30 days will be the ultimate test of how your organization measures up. A discouraging first month can make or break an employee’s decision to stay, especially if they don’t feel valued, respected, recognized, or well-trained.
If you’d like to incorporate your employee into your company in a meaningful way, make the most of their first 30 days by following these tips:
To ensure things go smoothly on the first day, preparation is key — and it starts prior to the hire date. “The employer should arrange to have the email, name tag, office space ready, and let the direct co-workers know who is starting,” says Kristi McCann, Owner/Consultant of KM Consultants. “The worst is not being prepared for the individual on their first day, and sitting them in an office with really nothing to do but wait for their system access,” says Certified Human Resources Professional Jana Tulloch of DevelopIntelligence. “On their first day, introduce them to someone who can be their mentor/partner and will be available to answer questions, take them for lunch, and generally show them the ropes over the first few months.”
Digital platforms that offer employee self-onboarding allow new hires to efficiently self-onboard right from their computer, effectively eliminating paperwork and time-consuming data entry. Instead of hovering by your side, new employees can get settled in their designated workspace, log into their new work email address, and take a sense of ownership in their own first-day setup. With Fingercheck, they can enter data at their own pace, select their preferred payment method, sign auto-generated tax forms, and even sign custom agreements, all of which are stored digitally, with copies emailed to them after.
Create purpose in your employee orientation
“Don’t leave the orientation process to chance,” advises SHRM-CP Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR, and retired Associate Professor of Management & Human Resources at Doane University. “Have meaningful, written, well-planned steps that are consistently followed with all new-hires. Then, just as carefully (after considering the specifics of the types of projects that a particular new-hire will likely tackle), customize the initial training period to fit the background and needs of each trainee. Plan this training as you’d plan any important project, put it in writing, and follow the plan.”
For instance, O2E Brands provides new hires with a branded onboarding guide designed to help them navigate their first few 90 days. “The book includes a map, checklist, and what to expect in their first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days at the team,” explains Lyda McLallen, National PR Manager of O2E Brands. This onboarding checklist from Continue is a great ready-made list to refer to.
Encourage relationship building
Interestingly enough, it’s been suggested that workplace socializing, even the idle kind, increases productivity — and it would seem that managers agree. “I have found the number one thing employees like about their jobs are the colleagues they work with,” says Dr. Alex Roher M.D. of San Diego Botox. “On their first day of work, our office manager takes the new hire out to lunch with a couple of the team members they will be working with. This is an excellent way to make them feel comfortable and welcomed.”
According to Stan Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting, “Strong personal relationships and feel welcome as part of the corporate family is important. Good or poor working relationships with peers is one of the top determining factors of productivity. Assign a ‘mentor’ to spend time with the new employee and show them the ropes and to introduce them around and make sure they get included in activities with the workgroup.”
Put together go-to resource documents
How many times have you looked around on your first day only to find that all your colleagues/superiors are busy and you need intel in order to make headway on your assignments or training? In those instances, you probably wished more than anything that you simply had a packet of instructions, information, and guidelines to refer to. Now that you’re at the top of the chain of command, see to it that your new hires have a tailored, go-to resource that provides useful information to get them started. Include how-to instructions to cover the essentials they’ll need to know, i.e. methodologies, processes, protocol, terminology, and contact information.
Keep them engaged
You may not have all that much for them to work on at first. However, that doesn’t mean they have to sit around re-reading the material over and over again.
“Until one of those major projects comes online, keep those newbies engaged by having them work on smaller projects that solve real problems within the organization,” says Wiedman. Most outfits have nagging problems that have ended up on the “back burner” because there wasn’t enough time and/or manpower to get the job done. Now would be a perfect time to get the new-hires involved in finding and implementing a meaningful solution to one (or more) of those long-neglected issues. As they succeed with smaller challenges, up the ante with tougher projects.”
If you want to ensure new hires stick around for the long haul, it’s essential that you create meaning and purpose in their role right from the start. New employees are looking for somewhere they can take their talents and grow, so building a rewarding and successful onboarding experience will allow you to retain new hires and build a thriving workforce.