May 22, 2019
Most of us have experienced that awkward moment on the first day of starting a new job: you walk in full of excitement and energy, only to find that there’s no desk for you. Nobody set up your email or HR profile, or bothered to configure a laptop for you.
Those first few hours are wasted bumbling around to get the basic necessities, which is not only embarrassing and awkward but also prevents the employee from doing crucial things like making the rounds to meet new colleagues and finding a sense of belonging.
Wuh-wuh-wuhhhhhh. Major downer.
Helping new employees feel welcomed and settled is a critical part of onboarding that’s often overlooked or neglected altogether. Just 12% of employees say their company does a good job at this, according to Gallup’s most recent survey.
That’s an enormous missed opportunity to start showing new employees what your culture, ethos and values are all about. Especially at a time when the unemployment rate is just 3.7%, a 49-year low, which is making employers work harder to attract and keep the best talent.
This is what good onboarding looks like:
How’s Your Pre-Game?
Good onboarding begins before employees are even hired. People begin to form impressions the moment they visit your company’s online jobs page, or your recruiting site or service. Is it user friendly? Are the job descriptions clear and reflective of the actual work they would be doing? Are online reviews from previous and current employees favorable?
Stay in Touch
Someone at your company should stay in touch with the new employee up until the day they begin, whether it’s someone from human resources or the manager who helped recruit them or a designated person who oversees onboarding. Make sure they know where to park, and how to get through security on the first day. Send them packets of employee benefits paperwork (health care, 401(k), etc.) to get the housekeeping stuff out of the way ahead of time. Consider an onboarding service such as Zenefits, BambooHR or Namely.
For large organizations that have dozens of new employees starting each week, create a cohort class to walk them through onboarding and training together. Talk about company history and culture, and have the CEO or another senior executive visit and talk about their vision for growth. Encourage people in these cohort classes to keep in touch and network with each other across groups and disciplines.
Design the First Day
Have a plan for the first day, from the moment the new employee walks in the door. Who will greet them? What needs to happen the first couple hours and who will help them with the paperwork, create a security badge, explain parking, etc.? Who will walk them around and introduce them, and what will that person say about their background and new role? Be sure to have a desk, computer, email and other basics ready and waiting.
Engage The Team
Create an opportunity for the new person to spend some time with their new teammates. Try to make it a casual social thing, like a welcome lunch or happy hour, so they can bond and get to know each other.
Don’t Overwhelm Them
Day one isn’t the right time to start technical training, share large customer lists or overwhelm the new person with financial information or other reams of data. They won’t remember it amid the chaos of everything else, so save it for later that week.
Close Out Onboarding
Have a definitive end for the onboarding process, and let employees know that they’ve completed this rite of passage and they’re no longer newbies. That will help them mentally shift into focusing on how to crush it in their new job.
Find out how we can help your company build a stronger culture and boost employee engagement. You can reach us here.