“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
We all know how important first impressions are. An employee’s first day is the first true opportunity for first impressions to form, for both the employee, and the company. Make it a great experience for everyone by fine-tuning your employee onboarding process.
As an employee, I’ve been on the receiving end of both extremes: a comprehensive, week-long program for one company and an hour-long session for an internship where I was just instructed to read a PDF and “digest.” While I personally favored the former, simply distributing a PDF had its merit, as it simply laid down everything required/ expected of me for the position.
It’s important to examine what works for your company. In a survey earlier this year, Bamboo HR discovered that, above all else, people want to have a personal connection with their work. An overwhelming 76% of those surveyed believed that their onboarding process could have been improved with more on-the-job training and 73% wanted to better understand company policies. How can we use that information to improve our processes?
Whether it be a day or a week, set aside some time to get to know your new employee. Start by introducing them to the company (and vice versa). A more informal way of starting the process is by sending an email to your team letting them know to expect a new face in the office. This will generate a more warm welcome and eliminate potential curious stares (we all know how awkward those can be). If you have a designated recruiting team, have them help connect the new employee and their manager. Going the extra mile and treating your new hire to lunch on their first day is another tried and true way of alleviating nerves and making them feel welcome.
"First days are an opportunity to tell the story of who you are and what you want to accomplish, and have that stick with every single person who joins your organization."
--Carly Gunthrie, owner of an HR consulting firm (source)
Have your CEO, or a leading member of your team, introduce the company to your new hires. Prepare a presentation describing your company’s history and vision for the future. Continue using this time to introduce other departments. For some, this will only take a few hours, for others, days; but it’s important to establish a baseline of knowledge that you’d like all incoming employees to have.
Position-Specific Presentations/ Training
One way to make an employee more efficient faster is to thoroughly introduce them to their new role. What you lose in training time, you’ll make up for in overall productivity. Spend an extra day or so allowing them to absorb the new information and make the review process fun. For sales newbies, have an elevator pitch contest. Customer service folks could do mock calls and chats. Implement an inter-departmental buddy system so that your new hire can have someone to comfortably turn to if a question pops up (and it will).
The onboarding process is never over and is impossible to perfect. We like it that way. It means that as a company we’re constantly evolving and finding new ways to improve. Make a policy to follow up with new hires at their 30 day mark. Their feedback is invaluable and may help you identify areas that need to develop further.
How do you onboard new employees? Let us know in the comments below or @helpdotcom.
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