Once you’ve completed the recruitment process, it’s crucial to plan the first steps your new employee is going to take within the company. Those first few days at a new workplace are important and there is some basic onboarding that cannot be skipped. Filling in forms does not magically convert a newbie into a happy team member. Aside from getting the paperwork done, the purpose onboarding is to give a sense of how the company functions, how the new employee fits in and what is expected from them. Ultimately, the new employee should be convinced that taking up this job was the right choice. Everyone remembers their first day at work, it can be scary! It’s difficult to feel comfortable as the ‘inexperienced’ newbie, but the right onboarding can make all the difference.
The importance of onboarding
Once upon a time onboarding a new employee was the undesirable task given to a junior clerk, but times have changed these days onboarding means more than a quick sweep of the office. An unstructured start only stretches out the period it takes for a new hire to become productive, a particularly bad experience might even lead to an early leave. This is the time when the new employee sees the substance of your employer branding and it’s up to your hiring manager to bring the message across. Don’t leave your new employee to sink or swim, onboarding should be at the top of your to-do list.
Tell your new employee why they’re special
The candidate got the job so they know that they must have done something right, but at some point a new employee will start wondering why they were hired. Whatever it was that made you choose them over the other candidates, it’s worth mentioning. It’s not necessarily flattery (though it might make some blush) your early onboarding feedback will be a useful for a new employee in understanding what skills and experience they can bring to the table.
Set clear expectations for your new employee
Initial onboarding feedback also allows you can go through what will be expected of your new employee without sounding too overwhelming. As with job descriptions, it needs to be clear from the outset what role will the new employee will play in the company. Take some time to talk it through. Understanding the position will not only allow your new employee to fulfill their duties, but they will feel more confident and therefore engaged in their work. This way, your onboarding will make it easier for the new employee to get involved, contribute and feel positive about what they’re doing.
Introduce your new employee to their colleagues as soon as possible, ideally the first day or two – you don’t want your team to be strangers. A list of colleagues and their job titles and work emails is also useful in helping your new hire to connect functions to faces. In bigger companies it’s a good idea to assign an onboarding peer to share their insights, contacts and shepherd your new employee through their early days.
The importance of admin
With initial onboarding there are some technical and administrative issues that are better cleared off early. Make sure your new employee knows the tips and tricks for the copier, fax machine, company phone etc. Same with setting up computer, software and email accounts – they need to be ready for your new employee to use from the get-go. The right admin onboarding will not only will it allow your new employee to function from the day one, but providing personalized accounts will make them feel more welcome.
Ask for feedback on your onboarding process
Your current employees will be able to help you rethink the onboarding process. Ask them how they felt when they first started, what helped and what they would have changed. This kind of insider knowledge will help you improve your onboarding process for your new employees.
If you’re now thinking about your early days, we’d love to hear it! Feel free to leave a comment below and spark up the discussion.
Image Reference Flickr ZiLele