So, you made the offer and the job searcher has accepted, now what? It is time to set both yourself and the new employee up for success. How do you do that? In the past, it was often referred to as “The Orientation” and might have lasted a day or two at most. Now the process is called “Onboarding” and will usually start before the employee even gets to work on the first day and continues through their probationary period.
The key to an effective “Onboarding” program is to be prepared and have a plan in place to achieve success. There are two objectives in “Onboarding”. The first is to make sure that the new employee is comfortable and feels welcome, and the second is to try to minimize the ramp up time required to get the employee to a productive level.
Some quick tips to make the person feel welcome:
- A welcome note or announcement on the day that they arrive.
- Introductions of the staff and key managers
- A simple contact list placed on their desk to give them quick access to people who may be able to assist them. This might include an organizational chart and phone numbers.
- Tour of the facilities including lunch rooms, wash rooms, store rooms, etc.
The first days and weeks can be very overwhelming. You can help ease this time by sitting down with your new employee and going over your plan in detail. This should include a schedule to show who will be with them at what times and what they will be working on. For example, the IT Department Supervisor will be training you on the use of the database or systems used in the office and the HR assistant will be going through the compensation structure and gathering information required for payroll. Other items that should be considered are performance/job expectations at certain agreed upon dates, training courses that they will be involved in and a review of policies and procedures. It is important to allow them time each day during the first week to get accustomed to their new surroundings. Have a light workload planned along with the administrative/hr related tasks that must be completed.
Because this process can last for 90 days or more, it is important to make yourself available to your new hire on a regular basis. Have meetings pre-scheduled to review progress and address any questions. Make sure that you assign a co-worker to assist the new employee on a day to day basis.
By planning for success, you will achieve success! Make the onboarding process interactive and interesting, allow for the new employee to see how they fit into the “big picture” and give them the tools to learn how to do the job right the first time. This will increase their understanding and awareness of the company goals and objectives which will in turn increase their productivity on the job.
Do you have any “Onboarding” experiences? Were they good or bad?