Far more than a “new hire orientation” where new employees are briefed on benefits, photographed, badged and sent on their way, an onboarding program is a comprehensive way to get new hires fully immersed. The process includes logistics, of course, but — more importantly — it involves showing your new team member the big picture to expedite broad understanding of high-level strategies, current projects, company culture and shared mission. It also jumpstarts familiarity with the people with whom they will be interacting.
To set the tone for a high level of engagement, it’s critical to get the onboarding process just right. Every step should be met with an easygoing, pleasant confidence by everyone on the team. To pull this off, you have to be buttoned up and prepared — which is often challenging when you’re just coming off a weeks- or months-long interview process that likely interfered with your own productivity.
That’s why a checklist is key. We’ve created this extensive list of everything you should do to facilitate the kind of onboarding that will serve to let your new hire hit the ground running while fostering relationships along the way. It’s also a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy: employees who were onboarded effectively will pay it forward and do the same for their future hires because they know how well they were set up — and how great it felt. Your company will also build a strong reputation for employee engagement, which is never a bad thing.
Employees who were properly onboarded also have a much higher likelihood of staying, which keeps your recruiting costs low and productivity high.
Now that we’ve established how important it is to set a great tone from the start so employees remain happy and stay, let’s look at exactly what to do and when:
As Soon as New Hire Paperwork Has Been Signed:
- Reach out to say how excited you are that they’ll be joining your team.
- Go over parking and commuting options.
- Let your new hire know when you’d like them to arrive.
- Make sure they know who to ask for upon arrival and make sure that person is prepared to offer a warm welcome!
A Week Before Your New Hire’s Start Date:
- Send an agenda for meetings taking place in their first week so they know what to expect.
- If you’re hosting a lunch meet-and-greet, it goes a long way to ask about food preferences in advance.
The Day Your New Employee Starts:
- Introduce your new team member to his or her workstation.
- Have a welcome card signed by team members waiting along with some company swag, like branded notebooks, a mug, and pens.
- Make sure your new hire knows where exits, bathrooms, and kitchen are, and that they have access to a map showing meeting/conference rooms and other key destinations.
- Consider setting up a scavenger hunt to help new hires learn their way around together.
- Assign a buddy for the first couple of weeks to help them get settled. This can be someone on their team, or someone on a different team if working cross-functionally will be crucial to their role.
Set a calendar reminder to follow up at 30, 60 and 90 days to ensure happiness and assess overall engagement.
Sometime During First Week of Employment:
- Host a small meeting or a one-on-one where you go over company history, mission and values.
- Familiarize your new hire with leadership, and introduce different departments.
- Share a directory of resources and groups, whether on a Wiki or a Slack channel, that your new hire can join to feel at home faster.
- Give an overview of the company structure, the function of specific teams, and how your new hire might overlap/interact with each.
- Present an overview of the product or service your company provides.
- Set up one-on-ones or small-group meetings.
- Have your new hire meet with HR to make sure benefits are all properly elected and answer any questions about compensation or benefits.
- Go over perks, protocol for time off, sick days, etc.
Include people from all levels and job groups in the same training to foster new friendships and allow new hires to meet and greet with one another.
30, 60 and 90 Days In:
- Solicit feedback on the interview experience and overall experience to date.
- These nurture touchpoints can be used to solicit new employees’ feedback on how satisfied they are with the company and how confident they are that they made the right decision to come on board.
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