ONBOARDING GET IT RITE
As we all know hiring new team members is not easy. There’s the ad’s, the candidates, multiple interview rounds and of course all those pommy recruiters! However, once the hard work of sourcing is done, it doesn’t stop there – indeed that is just the first step of the employee experience journey. It is important to ensure that once you have attracted the staff it is equally important to engage and retain them. You need to have an effective employee onboarding process to ensure they start off on the right foot and can be as productive and successful as quickly as possible.
Employee onboarding is a crucial part of the recruitment process. Companies should not assume that the hiring process is officially over once a new candidate is recruited; rather they should look at employee onboarding as another step of recruitment. And the sooner new employees are made to feel welcomed and equipped to fulfil their role; the sooner your company will reap the rewards of their skills and experience. That makes it critical to develop a carefully considered onboarding process.
New employee onboarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to function effectively within an organisation. The bottom line is that to the degree that organisations can make new hires feel welcomed and prepared for their new jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the organisation’s mission. While all employees experience some type of onboarding, the formality and comprehensiveness of the onboarding program vary widely across organisations.
Prior to the new employee’s first day, ensure that as the hiring manager, you keep in regular touch with your soon-to-be new employee as well as sending them their welcome pack and any forms to fill in and they know what to expect on the first day. Ensure all their IT and other needs are completed prior to their start date so they can log on from day one. Hiring managers should also send an announcement to all employees, either in-person or via email, welcoming them to the company. The announcement should tell them the new employee’s role, a bit about their experience, what they’ll be doing at your company and encourage other employees to welcome them.
Research has shown it can take up to a year for new employees to reach full productivity. Beginning at a new workplace can be stressful, so it helps to keep the workload light on the first week of the job. Your new recruit will likely be bombarded with new information, so it helps to give them time to take it all in. It is also key to start scheduling their diary before they commence to ensure that they meet as many of the key stakeholders as possible as quickly as possible and ensure that as the hiring manager you allocate plenty of time to spend with your new employee. Put yourself in their shoes to anticipate what they may want to hear about and equally that you share key messages such as the organisational values, how the team operates, systems, processes etc.
Your company’s culture and values might not be immediately recognisable to outsiders and new employees. That’s why it’s an important aspect of all onboarding material and the meetings that they have with stakeholders. Find a way to express your company’s values to new employees and synthesise the most important aspects of the company’s culture. An easy way to do this is to provide a company handbook that lays out ground rules, explains internal jargon, and answers common questions – along with your own and others’ conversations especially in their first couple of weeks.
Welcome your new employee with everything they need on their first day to get on with the job. Ensure their work station is complete with all the equipment they will need. A welcome pack with the employee handbook and other important documentation won’t go astray either if not sent prior to them starting. Creating a comfortable work station includes setting up their email accounts, mobile phone, system access and other important services.
This next step is the most important and often the most overlooked by employers and enables you to pick up on any potential issues and provide guidance early before they become concerns. Commit to your 30, 60 and 90-day check-ins with the new employee. Even if the employee is doing well and you feel like they don’t need an evaluation, meet with them. This is your opportunity to learn more about your company’s onboarding process from the employee perspective. Find out what they liked and didn’t like about your process and make changes as you see fit.
Equally, the onus isn’t all on the employer – as a new employee there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of success in the new role.
The first impression you give your colleagues will have a lasting effect on how you’re seen at the company, so it’s essential to nail the basics. First and foremost, you need to arrive on time. Turning up late on your first day is an obvious blunder, but it’s surprisingly easy to do if you’ve never done the commute. Get ready to give a 30-second explainer of who you are and where you were before, as many new colleagues will likely ask about your previous place of employment.
The first day is the best time to sit down with your new manager and establish exactly what they want you to achieve – in the first week and beyond. It might be that there are particular training or orientation events you’ll be attending, or targets that you will be set. If you understand your objectives and find out when and how you’ll receive feedback on how you’re doing, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.