onboarding: the first day of school all over again
By tim brown
Culture | October 29, 2015
Recruiting talent feels good, right? Growth is a clear sign of success. But finding quality candidates is just one step. Making newly hired employees a worthy investment takes more work than most think. Through proven onboarding processes, multiple factors are emphasized to produce lasting outcomes.
In the Forbes article, “How To Get Employee Onboarding Right,” Maren Hogan emphasizes the differences between onboarding and training.
“While training does have a role within the onboarding, it doesn’t represent the entire scope of the process,” Hogan said. “A focus on benefits and perks is leaving core training needs behind, but compensation packages alone do not lead to productive and engaged employees. Real training is a learning process that must encompass both the how and the why.”
So where do you begin?
Teach new employees the social and ethical elements along with how to do their job, e.g., What kind of person is the boss? How serious and fast-paced is your work environment? How does your company interact with each other, as well as with clients?
The faster someone learns these more organic company nuances, the quicker they will feel a sense of belonging, which develops into relationships and loyalty.
It’s kind of like the first day of school. Some are nervous, excited, ready to prove themselves and eager to find a sense of belonging. You may not feel entirely comfortable until you know who your friends are, where you’re going to sit in the lunchroom and how to read your teachers and classmates.
Allaying those same anxious feelings may be found here: “12 Employee Onboarding Best Practices Every Business Owner Needs to Know” by Rob Wormley.
- Create an agenda for your new employee’s first week. Each new employee should hit the ground running, especially on the first day. It shapes their focus from the first hour. Outline top level tasks, a schedule and who immediate supervisors and team members are.
- Create a comfortable workstation. Having a station ready immediately provides a sense of belonging and shows you care about them. (Care…the new black)
- Provide new employees with a welcome gift. While this isn’t necessary, this small gesture can help someone feel a part of the team and help to boost immediate loyalty.
- Send out helpful information. Communicating expectations regarding dress code, lunch, breaks, parking information, etc., will help the new employee feel confident and hit the ground running.
- Help new hires get the lay of the land. On their first day, give them an office tour with simple information like desk, break room, restroom, mailbox and copier. Introduce them to other team members.
- Block off time for orientation. Although it can be tempting to throw work at a new person if you’re swamped, it’s beneficial to set aside time for paperwork, HR meetings, and arrange for a coworker to take them out to lunch.
- Plan a manager’s meeting. During the first few days, have the new employee meet with their manager to discuss expectations, processes and policies and to answer additional questions.
- Cover important work processes. The manager and new employee should review communication styles, email and phone protocol and set short- and long-term goals.
- Invest in training. To build a strong worker, invest in them with in-depth training about all the ins and outs of the product/service and where it stands in the market.
- Allow for job shadowing. Having them primarily shadow those in the department is good, but ideally, they can shadow coworkers from every side of the company to gain strong insight into the company and how the pieces work together.
- Build opportunities for feedback. Ensure the new hire feels comfortable with their ability to provide feedback regarding their work, their team and their overall experience. If encouraged properly, this tends to become more comfortable over time.
- Conduct your first review. Plan to have an honest sit-down review with the new employee 90 days out to determine if things are working out or not. This is a time to be able to clearly nip problems in the bud or determine different courses of action that may be necessary.
By spending the time to allocate the proper investment in a new employee, after 90 days, there tends to be greater job performance, greater company loyalty and satisfaction with their job. Although this is a process with many steps along the way, day-to-day focus and attention will help this transitions be strong and worthwhile.