Effective employee onboarding requires good prior planning and an understanding of goals that employers need to strive towards to set their new hire up for success in the best way possible. Ideally, the onboarding plan should be integrated with the recruitment plan. As soon as the decision is made to hire an employee, the plan to onboard the new hire should be formulated and outlined. Specific details, such as the current employee who will assist with acclimation, can be added later. The following tips can help onboard a new employee successfully.
Before New Hires Arrive
- Prepare a comprehensive, written statement of the new hire's responsibilities and objectives. If possible, have this available during the interview process to reduce the potential for misunderstandings.
- No later than the day before the new employee is to report for work, send an email or memo to all current employees. A new hire can be unsettled when he or she arrives to start work and no one seems to know who this person is, or who to notify.
- Choose an employee -- ideally a peer of the new hire -- to assist with orientation and acclimation. Pay careful attention to the selection of this employee. Be sure to choose someone who would be a good role model for the new hire and who will have a good attitude about the assignment.
- Supervisors and managers need to play a significant role in the onboarding process. It is during the early days that the future tone of the relationship can be established. As repeated studies have shown, the leading factor in employee dissatisfaction is a negative relationship with his or her immediate manager. Onboarding is an excellent time to convince new hires that they are respected, valued and appreciated. As the onboarding process continues, managers should offer encouragement, review the employee's progress and provide feedback.
- Get feedback from current employees to help create an onboarding plan. Ask them how their first weeks or months could have been improved or what they wish managers had done during that time. Any information that they would have wanted to know during their early days can be very insightful. Their experiences can help ensure that new hires get the information and assistance they truly need, rather than just what a specific manager feels they should want.
Their First Day
- If possible, make lunch the first day a group event, with the entire department or office treating the new hire. This is a good way to socialize and allow the new employee to get to know co-workers. Consider asking one or more co-workers to be the new hire's "lunch buddy" for the first week or two to give the new employee a chance to learn the best options for lunch in the area.
- When new hires arrive for their first day on the job, their work area should be ready to go. If the area has been used for staging files bound for the archives or excess office supplies, have them removed. Make sure the phone is working, the computer is functioning and that the area is clean.
- Be willing to be creative with onboarding. Mohit Garg advocates for utilizing gamification during onboarding and lists compelling reasons why it works.
Onboarding is not a one-day, one-week or one-month event. It’s an ongoing process that starts with the decision to hire an employee and continues until the new hire is a productive member of the team. Although this might sound like a great deal of effort, the rewards definitely make it worth every moment invested for yourself and your employees.
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.