Once your new hire accepts their employment contract and signs on the dotted line, a whole new phase begins – onboarding. An employee’s first week in the job is a crucial time in which he or she will start to solidify their impression of your company, so it’s important to ensure their transition is a smooth one by giving them the support and information they need to get off to a good start.
To set your new hire up for success and help them find their feet, here are some of the top employee onboarding tips you need to know.
Prepare and Be Proactive
The level of preparation you put in before the new hire officially starts will have a significant impact on their initial days on the job. Nothing screams chaos more to a new employee than having to wait days for a computer, email address, phone, log-ins and anything else they need to start doing their job. Taking the time to ensure that your new hire is equipped on their first day by getting documents, stationery, passwords and any other essential workplace items ready and waiting, is not only going to save time but enable them to begin learning their new role right away.
Consider printing out an organisational chart or, if you have a particularly large team, a seating plan, as well as the phone extensions or contact details of people they might need to get in touch with. It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to point out the kitchen, bathrooms and fire escapes as well.
Setting expectations early is important for successful onboarding, so communicate dress code, start and finish times, breaks, general code of conduct, parking and any other housekeeping matters as early as possible, if not before day one.
It’s often useful to check in with other recently hired employees to see how they felt about the onboarding process and what improvements or changes might be worth considering. This helps to ensure you are continually improving and shows employees that you care about their welfare.
Help Them Settle In
Starting a new job can be overwhelming, so giving your new hire the support they need to settle in is key to ensuring they have a successful first week. One of the key aspects of this is to connect them with the team. Taking the time to inform current employees of their new colleague’s start date, role and background will go a long way towards breaking the ice during the early days and can often help new hires feel that little bit more welcome. Electing a team member to assist your new employee at times when you or their direct manager is not available is also worth considering for the first week or two.
If you can, organise a time outside of core hours or away from work entirely to allow the existing team and the new employee to get together. A team lunch, after work drinks or a simple morning tea is a great way of allowing everyone time to chat and new working relationships to form.
No-one can be expected to know everything automatically, so if you can provide guides or checklists to help your new employee navigate their new world of work, it’s well worth doing so. It’s a daunting feeling not being able to access software or navigate unfamiliar systems and spending inordinate amounts of time waiting for someone to help. Consequently, it’s important to spend time making sure your new employee fully understands how to use all the systems, processes and procedures relevant to their role.
In addition, while your onboarding process will probably include training and development already, don’t assume that one approach fits all. Take the time to identify gaps with every new starter and discuss where you might need to adapt your onboarding best practices to suit each new employee.
Check In and Set Goals
As we mentioned earlier, setting expectations early is one of the most critical onboarding steps – and it’s a two-way street. Ensure your new hire knows what is expected of them and detail how you aim to measure their progress. Sitting down in the first week to create a 30, 60 and 90-day plan, broken down into achievable goals, is a clear and effective way to communicate what you want from your new team member.
Similarly, make sure to check in regularly and give your new hire the opportunity to raise any concerns and relay any progress they are making. Schedule periodic catch ups and stick to them, taking the opportunity to give feedback, be constructive and recognise effort (not just achievement).
While there are many facets of your business that may be exclusive to your organisation, the key steps provided will certainly go a long way to ensuring your new employees are onboarded successfully. Providing a thorough onboarding experience communicates a clear message about how seriously you take your business and just how important the people that work in it are to you.
For more employee onboarding tips or support with hiring top talent for your business, get in touch with us today.