You’ve sorted through stacks of resumes, interviewed the best and selected the perfect candidate. Now what? Once you’ve made the job offer and it has been accepted, it is time to start thinking about your onboarding process.
Onboarding is the term used to describe the process of integrating a new employee into your organization, and there are three steps to consider.
It is very unpleasant for an employee to show up to a new job, excited about the possibilities, and end up with the feeling that she was not expected and the company is surprised to see her. Since that is not the kind of surprise you want for your newest “most valuable asset,” it is important to prepare in advance for her arrival. Take into consideration such factors as:
The workspace — Is it properly equipped? Is it cleaned up, with the remnants of the prior occupant removed? Include a small “welcome” gift.
Name badge — If your staff wears name badges, be sure your new hire has one on her first day of work.
Time — Be sure the new hire’s manager has taken the necessary time to make introductions with co-workers. Your new hire should not be treated like he is an inconvenience to a busy schedule.
Many employees make the decision about whether they are going to stay at their new organization within the first week. Since we only have a short period of time to make a good and lasting first impression, take these important steps to make him feel welcome:
Be sure your front desk personnel are trained to welcome new hires in the same way they welcome your customers. The welcome should say, “We’ve been expecting you and are glad you are here!”
Give your new hire a tour upon arrival. Be sure to point out the restrooms, drinking fountain, coffee maker, vending machines and break room, in addition to her workspace, the copier, supply room and other important rooms in your building. Remember, you want to make a good impression, so team her up with someone who is a great spokesperson for your organization.
The road to success
You want to set your new hire up for success from the start, so consider the following when laying out the roadmap for her first several months onboard:
If you have a formal job description, make sure your new hire receives a copy of it on her first day of work. The manager, or a co-worker who is knowledgeable about the job, should review the job duties and clearly define what is expected for each task. Define “success” up front, so your new hire knows what will be expected of her.
If the manager for the new hire is often in meetings or off-site, assign another “go to” person for your new hire. Since new hires decide early on if they are going to “fit” at this organization, it is important they feel comfortable asking questions and seeking assistance when needed.
We all have things to learn when starting a new job. Be sure your new hire is trained on all aspects of his job, from the mundane to the complex. Depending on your environment, it may be best to wait until a couple of days after the start of the new job to train on more complex matters. Give enough information for your new hire to go home loving his new job on the first day, and not so much information that he wonders how he will ever remember it.
Onboarding is a six-month to one-year process depending on the complexity of the work you do. Check in often with your new hire to make sure she has received the training she needs, has the proper equipment to do her job, understands your corporate culture and has made a few friends with whom she feels comfortable.
Since you have made a significant investment in selecting and hiring your newest “asset,” you want to do everything possible to get them onboard and keep them onboard. An effective onboarding process will set everyone on the right track.