Meet Karen. Karen is joining your company as a customer service representative. Her first day is Monday, and you want to make sure everything goes smoothly. But will your onboarding process leave her feeling wowed, or wondering? Here’s our guide to rolling out the red carpet:
From pre-boarding to onboarding to feedback, the new hire orientation process is more than just paperwork. Rather, it’s a total experience that sets the tone for how successful an employee will be in a new job. In fact, employers with a dedicated onboarding program experience 50% less turnover among new hires.
By using a variety of mediums to submerse new employees like Karen in your company culture, you can give them not only a thorough introduction to your practices, but also a sense of ownership and belonging right from the start.
The onboarding process does not start on Karen’s first day; rather, it starts from the moment she accepts the job offer. She will get her first taste of your company’s culture during this pre-boarding phase. Here are a few things that you can do to help foster a positive experience:
Complete HR paperwork – The market is full of affordable products that allow Karen to electronically fill out her HR paperwork, attest to any written policies, and even receive a copy of the company’s employee handbook. Take care of these compliance pieces prior to the first day. That way, you can spend more time engaging in meaningful interaction, rather than wading through stacks of tedious documents.
Send a preview email – A preview email should be sent to Karen a few days before her start date. Let her know when and where to arrive, who will be on site to greet her (if it isn’t you), and any other essential details such as dress code or parking instructions. This simple interaction lets Karen know that you are excited for her arrival and are making preparations to welcome her to the company.
Inform the team – Ready current teams to welcome their new co-worker. Send out an announcement or discuss during a meeting. This is also the right time to assign a mentor or buddy from the group to serve as Karen’s go-to person for any questions she may have.
Prepare – Create an onboarding schedule and send it to all participants. From top management down, everyone is directly involved in creating a great first impression. By having a written onboarding plan that is scalable, sustainable, and consistent, you emphasize that everyone has an important role in welcoming Karen. Gather any materials such as business cards, equipment, and company-branded merchandise. Finally, clean and organize her new workspace and ensure that her computer and phone are in working order.
The pre-boarding process should lay the ground work for a smooth introduction to the company. All of your advanced planning indicates that you value Karen as your new employee, and have taken steps to help her begin contributing right away. Here are a few activities that you don’t want to forget for onboarding on the first day:
Building Tour– When Karen arrives, the first thing you’ll want to do is give her a tour of the premises. Start by leading her to her personal workspace and showing where she can store her personal belongings. Give instructions for parking and provide necessary tags and security badges. Next, give her a tour of the building, while introducing her to each department at large along the way. Be sure to point out where she can find the breakroom, coffee and water, restroom facilities, and office supplies.
Meet and Greet – Make specific, individual introductions through scheduled face-time with important leaders in the organization. If your company is spread out among different locations, use technology to make those acquaintances. Use creativity here, whether it’s developing an organization chart with employee photos, sending out an email drip campaign linking to helpful sites and guidelines, or making introductory videos that show a humorous side to employees.
Team Meeting – Schedule a team meeting where Karen can spend more concentrated time with her new co-workers. This will also give her a chance to begin learning about current projects, goal progression, and upcoming assignments in which she will play a part.
Lunch – Take her to lunch. Whether it’s one-on-one, or in a small group, this casual atmosphere will give you the chance to ask questions and begin building a more personal relationship with each other.
Training Preview – Share the training outline/schedule with Karen. This should include one-on-one meetings or coffees with key leaders, independent learning, technical training, and on-the-job training with her mentor. Be sure to leave some room for down time to allow her a chance to check emails, reach out to old contacts, and interact with her new teammates. Depending upon the position, the formal training schedule could stretch over several days or several weeks. Create customizable training templates to fit each role in your organization. Then, you can show Karen a tailored plan for her position.
One-on-One – Schedule your first one-on-one. Regular face time with all of your staff is crucial for building trust, catching performance gaps, and fostering a productive work environment. Set the right tone from the start by carving out scheduled quick meetings to check on progress and keep a pulse on how Karen is acclimatizing to her new environment.
Onboarding is intense work and requires full participation and follow-through. Don’t invest precious resources like time and money into an onboarding program and then fail to ask for feedback. Schedule a series of surveys for all new employees, including Karen, to complete. This will aid in measuring the success of your program, and also allow you to catch anything you may have missed in the very early stages of employment.
You want Karen to be a brand ambassador for your company. In order to make that happen, you have to make sure she has a positive experience while getting to know your business better. Your onboarding program should continually be modified and tweaked in order to stay relevant and fresh. When you consistently follow the steps of pre-boarding, onboarding, and feedback with new hires like Karen, you not only provide a stellar introduction to your company, but also to the culture in which your company is rooted.