After deciding to hire an employee, you want to make sure you maximize the value your new hire will provide to the company. In order to do that, you need to make sure that your new hires feel comfortable in the organization, have the resources to succeed in their roles, and also see the value you are bringing them.
To accomplish these things, try implementing these 7 onboarding tips that provide long-term value and make your new hire feel connected to the organization.
[Currently interviewing to fill some positions? Read 5 of our creative interviewing tips here.]
1. Begin onboarding before Day 1.
Once your new hires accept the position and sign the offer letter, begin to onboard them right away. Any employee onboarding that begins before a new hire’s first day, also known as pre-boarding, makes Day 1 on the job more exciting and less focused on administrative tasks. Capitalize on your employee’s enthusiasm and have them dive right into connecting with their new coworkers and learning/completing tasks.
What things can you do during pre-boarding? Send your new hire a list of the benefits the company provides; information about dress code and transportation to/from the office; and any administrative paperwork like non-disclosure agreements, W-4 forms, and your company’s employee handbook. This way, your new hire can review those documents at their leisure. This pre-boarding packet is also a great place to share what exciting projects your new hire will be working on; not only can you get some administrative tasks out of the way, but you can help drum up excitement for Day 1.
To make the pre-boarding experience more interesting and engaging for your new hire, add in links to pre-boarding videos and any other materials your company has developed. One thing we recommend is linking to employee stories/testimonials that describe the company culture, or to videos created that welcome the new employee.
Want to make this pre-boarding packet extra special? Include a handwritten note from the new hire’s supervisor and teammates welcoming the employee to the team.
2. Create a detailed onboarding plan.
The old adage says that “five minutes of planning saves 30 minutes in execution.” If you’re bringing on a new employee but have no clear idea what exactly this person will be doing during their first week in the office, you’ll lose a lot of time. In this case, your new hire might be sitting doing nothing for a couple hours, bored, or will be asking you for new projects each time they complete what’s on their task list.
Instead, be proactive and block out what this person will be doing their first 1-2 weeks, any meetings they’ll have with supervisors, teammates, and clients, and what initial goals you’ll be setting for them. Refresh this plan as needed, well into your new hire’s second month.
3. Plan events to help your new hire feel welcome.
Effective employee onboarding encompasses more than just having your new hire’s time filled. Plan some fun events that will really make your new team member feel like part of the team. One thing that many departments do is take the new person out to lunch. It’s a great way for the new team member to meet the other people with whom they’ll be working in a more social environment, and it makes that person feel valued and appreciated. It’s even better if you ask your new hire where they’d like to go within a certain radius/distance of the office.
The best way to ensure that your new hire feels welcome? When you offer your new hire the position, ask what they would like to do to celebrate joining the team. Encourage them to be creative. They may offer a unique idea that will help the team feel even more connected, and their suggestions will give you an extra peek into what your new hire appreciates and values. On the whole, this will help you to better relate to your new hire later.
Another recommendation? Invest in a team-bonding activity like laser tag or a happy hour after your new employee has been with you 1-2 weeks.
4. Repeatedly communicate your company’s vision, mission, and goals.
For your new employee to feel knowledgeable and passionate about what your organization is doing in the world, it’s important that they know what your vision and mission are. It’s also important that you communicate to your employees (on a repeated basis and via different modes, we might add) how their individual work is helping the company accomplish its broader aims. After all, how can your employees possibly feel engaged in their work if they don’t know how they are making a difference, how they are contributing?
We advise that you communicate your mission and vision to new employees multiple times in different ways. In order for people to resonate with a piece of information, they need to understand it. By communicating what your vision and mission are and how they affect and influence the work that your new hire is doing, you’ll be helping understand and engage with the organization at a deeper level much more quickly.
5. Identify and outline professional development goals.
Sit down with your new hire after the first week and identify some professional development goals. While the interview process already gave you an idea of what your new hire’s goals are, this check-in creates another space to chart your new hire’s development and express any expectations the organization may have. Does your employee want to have opportunities to attend industry events or professional conferences? Does this person dream of being a leader, specialist, or something else? Discuss and write down these goals that your new hire would like to achieve and set tentative milestones. This process will help both of you feel much more engaged during onboarding and in the first few months during this person’s tenure.
In addition, because you’re focusing on identifying long-term goals, odds are that your employee will feel much more motivated to stick it out for the long haul. Effective onboarding programs, especially ones that are employee-driven, increase employee retention over the first three years by 69%.
6. Solicit and encourage frequent input and feedback.
One of the most important things is to ask your new employees how they are doing, what additional resources they need, what they like/dislike about their job so far, and any problems they’ve encountered so far during onboarding. Be sure to really listen to them and do what you can to resolve any issues proactively. By encouraging open communication with your employees, they are more likely to be open and honest about their experience, and will also feel valued because you are checking in with them.
Also, since 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days after a new hire starts, it’s critical to make sure that you’re making a good impression with your new employees and that they know they are in a supportive environment that will help them develop, rather than one that only fosters top-down communication.
7. Focus on having fun at work.
We feel this goes without saying, but if your new employees feel that they can’t have fun at work or joke and be a little silly at times, they’re probably going to enjoy coming into work less. If you focus on work solely being a place to complete tasks for clients and execute projects, your employees might feel resentful, overworked, or less appreciative of their workplace.
On the other hand, if you cultivate times where employees can engage with each other more socially, you’ll be surprised by how it makes your new hires feel excited about the place they’re working. They’ll feel passionate and engaged, and they’ll be more productive.
If you liked these onboarding tips, be sure to check out some of our creative interviewing tips. Or, if you’d like to work with us directly to see how we can help your organization improve its hiring and onboarding processes, contact us today.