Far more than a “new hire orientation” where new employees are briefed on benefits and sent on their way, an onboarding program is a comprehensive way to get new hires fully immersed and ready to hit the ground running. The process includes simple tasks, 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 share your mission. It also jumpstarts familiarity with the people he or she will be interacting with.
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 really buttoned up and prepared – which is often especially 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. This list will help get you thinking 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 prophesy, too: employees who were onboarded well 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 great 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 seamless productivity high.
Now that we’ve established how important it is to set a great tone right from the start so new hires move through their learning curve as fast as possible, foster healthy relationships, remain happy and stay, let’s look at exactly what to do when:
AS SOON AS AN OFFER HAS BEEN EXTENDED AND ACCEPTED
- Reach out to say how pumped you are that they’ll be joining your team
- Go over parking and commuting options
- Let your new hire know when you’d like him/her to arrive
- Make sure he/she knows who to ask for upon arrival, and make sure that person is prepared to offer a warm welcome!
A WEEK BEFORE YOUR NEW EMPLOYEE’S START DATE
- Send an agenda for onboarding meetings taking place in their first week so they know what to anticipate
- If you’re hosting a catered lunch meet-and-greet, it goes a long way to ask about food preferences in advance
THE DAY YOUR NEW HIRE STARTS
- 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 he/she has access to a map showing meeting/conference rooms and other key destinations
- 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 with cross-functional teams 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 THE 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
- Give an overview of the company structure, the function of specific teams, and how your new hire might overlap/interact with each
- Set up one-on-ones or small-group meetings
- 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 each other
- 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.
30, 60, 90 DAYS IN
- Solicit feedback on the interview experience and overall experience to date
- These nurture touchpoints can be used to solicit their feedback on how satisfied they are with the company and how confident they are that they made the right decision to come on board