Start the onboarding process before the work start date
Begin the employee onboarding process a week before a new hire’s work start due date in order to ensure a smooth transition for both the new hire and their team. Coordinate with the IT department, HR department and any other relevant personnel to ensure your new employee has a fully functioning working space followed by working credentials to access any systems to the software needed to do their job. This will help them experience a seamless first day thus creating a positive first impression.
Having all these systems in place will avoid new employees having to chase down login details or find personnel to procure devices and equipment to get their job done. This will allow them to begin training and learning their role in the company immediately.
Celebrate New Employee Arrivals
Your onboarding process should include steps for giving your new employee a warm welcome. Here are a few things you can do to help celebrate new employees during their first few days at the company:
- Make an announcement: This could be done via email, a mention during a company meeting, or both. It is essential to have your existing employees recognise the new hire as it not only shows your new employee your excitement of having them onboard, but it also alerts others that a new member has joined and may encourage them to extend a personal welcome.
- Organise a team lunch: The new employees’ direct manager should organize a team lunch during their first week. This offsite team-building experience will give the new employee an opportunity to get to know their new teammates in a more comfortable, relax setting.
- Decorate their workspace with company swag: Before the new employee arrives, gather company supplies such as t-shirts, pens, mugs, and other branded goodies you may have at hand. These small welcome gifts can help new employees feel appreciated and supported from the moment they walk in the door.
Conduct a New Hire Orientation
Most companies use orientation to handle paperwork, review the employee handbook and answer last-minute questions about compensation and benefits. While it’s important for HR to complete new hire paperwork as early as possible, orientation provides another opportunity to upgrade your onboarding process.
In addition to legal paperwork, consider scheduling time for a member of the executive leadership team to stop by, welcome your new hire and even offer a quick Q&A session. Orientation is an excellent time for a quick lesson on the company’s history and an introduction to the company culture. When employees start their first week with knowledge of the company’s background and a thorough understanding of its culture, they’ll be more likely to feel part of the team.
If you haven’t already, use of orientation is to give your new employee a tour of the facilities and provide them with a map of the building so they can find their way around it. Giving additional documents such as an organisation chart may prove to be handy for understanding the various teams and departments within the company and the relationships between them.
Should you have multiple new hires starting in the same week, consider turning the orientation process into a group activity. By doing so, you will be cutting down the amount of time spent on each hire while giving your new employees the opportunity to get to know each other early in the process. At the end of the orientation process, your new employees will have a couple of familiar faces they can spot around the office helping the acclimatise quicker to their new job.
Pair Each Hire with a Mentor
Each new employee should be assigned to a mentor within their department — preferably a team member who is at a similar level and of a similar position to them so that your new employee will feel more comfortable confiding in their mentor. As an assigned mentor, their role is to assume any responsibility to overlook the progress of the new hire and to share tips to help the new hire succeed in their role. A mentor should also introduce the new hire to other employees that the job role requires to interact frequently with and to help them feel more comfortable in their new work environment.
Although new employees should be able to approach their direct supervisor for advice and to address any concerns they may have during their first few weeks of employment, having a nearby peer mentor who is prepared to show them the ropes around the office can negate any uncertainty a new employee may have at the beginning stages of performing their job. Assigned mentors can be extremely valuable especially when they pass on valuable company knowledge that can help bolster a new employee’s confidence and familiarity around the workplace.
Set up a System for Immediate and Frequent Feedback
Avoid waiting too long to ask a new employee for feedback. The most effective way to identify areas which need improvement in the new employee onboarding process is to ask for a program assessment as soon as the new employee has completed their necessary training. Make sure to ask the new hire if they identify any gaps in the onboarding process such as in the specific first-day activities to more general experiences during their first days on the job.
It is important to understand that the learning curve at a new job may be a steep one and it may take several weeks or months before an employee is able to work optimally. While their training may have been completed, it is likely that the new employee will have questions or undergo unfamiliar challenges during their first year with your company.