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Welcome Aboard! How to Set Up New Employees For Success.
Picture this – you show up for your first day at a brand new job to find a locked door and no one waiting to meet you. You weren’t given any instructions and aren’t sure who to call. You can feel what was once excitement quickly turn to nerves.
Surely situations like these, which are surprisingly common, can be avoided?
Yes, they can – and should!
With a bit of preparation and information, you can give your new employee the great experience that they deserve. Still, there’s more to setting them up for success than simply greeting them at the door.
Success from Day 1: How to Onboard Like a Pro
Have you ever been chucked into the deep end in a new workplace? If so, you’d know how tough it is. It’s difficult to be a good performer when trying to learn the ropes as well.
Organizational socialization is the journey where new employees become accustomed to the culture of a new workplace. How the existing workforce guides them through the process has significant, long-term impacts on their performance and the business. So we want to make sure that we get it right, helping them become well-adjusted to be the best team member they can be.
Better newcomer adjustment correlates to employee satisfaction, commitment to work, turnover rates, and performance. To stay ahead of the game, organizations need to understand and manage the process of newcomer socialization. If an employee is promptly and thoroughly socialized, there is more likely to be higher retention, accelerated return on investment, and an overall more effective employee.
Successful onboarding doesn’t happen in one day. It’s a continuous process that usually occurs in four stages:
Phase 1: Pre-onboarding
Pre-onboarding begins once your candidate accepts your offer until their first day at work. This time presents an excellent opportunity to make your new hire feel good about what lies ahead. Help employees fill out the necessary paperwork and check in regularly to see if they need anything to make the transition smooth.
Social media giant Twitter is a fan of making the pre-onboarding phase memorable. Before they start, a new hire can look forward to their email address, a T-shirt, and a bottle of wine waiting for them.
Phase 2: Welcoming new hires
Here is where you begin to help your new hires acclimate to their new workplace. You’ll give them a clear picture of the organization, the culture, what they can expect from their role, and how things work.
Preparation is key
In an ideal world, new employees would come on board with plenty of time for handover and training. Unfortunately, this can’t always happen. And when there’s a gap, it tends to make the workload heavier for everyone else.
While you want your employee to work the magic you hired them for ASAP, you can’t just throw them in the deep end and hope for the best. Even in difficult circumstances, you’ve got to take the time to set them up for success. And it all starts with a little preparation that will be worth it in the long run!
Here are some things that you can do to help prepare:
1. Onboarding package
Onboarding packages help your new employee feel welcomed and valued. While you might have a generic onboarding package that you’ve used for years, it may be time to revisit this. An onboarding package should include information that a new hire needs and details about the company that help them connect to its story and mission.
Here are some things that an onboarding package should include:
- Keys, fob, and a lanyard.
- Information sheet. It can include logins, corporate memberships, an office map with team names, and a directory.
- An agenda for their first day or week of work.
- Information about the organization’s mission, vision, structure, culture, and story. If you have an employee rewards or perks system, here is a great place to include details about it.
- A personal welcome message from the CEO or other directors of the company.
- Recommendations and tips. For example, you could include different Chrome extensions or websites that they’ll find helpful in their role.
2. Schedule it in
Making an employee’s onboarding experience awesome will be critical to their long-term success at work. So make sure that you’ve thought about how you’re going to make it valuable and fun.
Every hour of the onboarding period doesn’t need to be filled with activities, but it’s nice to have them scattered throughout to help them adjust. At LinkedIn, new employees are given a hiring plan that outlines their onboarding over a 90 day period. It helps them transition into the company and achieve success in their new role.
Check out these 5 ways you can make your new team member feel welcome:
1. Give them some swag
Fill a bag with branded swag to help your employee feel even more excited about joining the team. It can include stickers, key chains, a tote bag, a clothing item, your product, or something related to your industry.
At Digital Ocean they provide new hires with a balloon on their desk so other employees can find them, a handwritten welcome note, a bottle of champagne, and some Digital Ocean branded items. Popping a bottle after your first day of work? Yes, please.
2. Schedule coffee dates
Booking coffee dates with different employees helps your new team member network. While it’s important they get to know the members of their department, it’s also helpful to know people from all over the organization.
You could also try setting up a mentorship program to foster more intimate relationships. At Buffer, the onboarding program is six weeks long. New hires are assigned three “Buddies” who each play a different role – a Leader Buddy, Role Buddy, and a Culture Buddy.
3. Have a photoshoot
If it’s custom for employees to have their photo taken in front of your company logo or sign, make sure you include your new hire in this tradition. It’s nice for them to have a matching LinkedIn photo to the rest of the team.
4. Send out a welcome email
Welcome them by sending out a company-wide email. An email gets everyone on the same page that there is a new hire and to get excited. You could even take a leaf from ticketing tech giant Eventbrite’s book and put up new hire profiles around the office so that everyone can quickly learn the names and faces of new hires.
5. Set up their workspace
Make sure that their computer, desk, and tools are all set up and ready to go. Go above and beyond by asking before their first day if there’s anything they special they need or want.
Phase 3: Role-specific training
The training phase is critical and impacts how well your employees will thrive. Make it detailed, meaningful, without being overwhelming. Quora is one example of a company that drives hires to make meaningful contributions by teaching them the principles for success. Each new hire is assigned a mentor, given detailed documents on the key concepts and tools they need, and steered towards organizational socialization.
Phase 4: Easing the transition to their new role
Here is where your new hire transitions into a well-versed employee. Keep checking in to ensure that your employee is happy, performing well, and set up for ongoing success. Ask for feedback on their onboarding experience to gain insight on what you can do better in future onboardings.
One of the main contributors to employee satisfaction, motivation, and success is knowing where they’re going and what steps they need to advance their careers. Set up a career guide that tells employees the competencies and training needed to move up in various departments.
At S.C Johnson & Son, this has proven successful. By making the promotion process clear, they’ve found that employees are more empowered and proactive in their career development.
Remember, people who are genuinely welcomed to their organization feel respected, both personally and professionally. The benefits of a positive and welcoming first day include trust in management, commitment to the organization, and a more motivated job performance.
There’s a reason why top organizations are investing in onboarding. Providing new hires with a great onboarding process is the first step in building a productive and thriving workforce.