It doesn’t make sense: companies spend big money recruiting and interviewing, then barely pay lip service to ensuring it’s a smooth transition for new employees.
Most employers think that ‘onboarding’ is a checklist of paperwork and login details, a few handshakes from the team, and a quick tour around the office. But sadly, a plan that focuses on making the employee feel appreciated, part of the company culture and above all welcome, is often overlooked.
Statistics show that first impressions do indeed help determine whether a new recruit is still going to be around in a year. So better onboarding means better employee loyalty and retention and that’s got to be good for business, right?
You’ve only got one chance to make a good first impression for your new recruit, so make it count. Check out our top five tips for making a new employee feel welcome…
This one’s simple: anyone directly involved with a new recruit has a role in welcoming them to the organisation, so ask your team, “What was it like when you first started working here?” and “What could we have done to make you feel more comfortable, accepted, and welcome?” Use their answers to come up with a detailed onboarding plan, and once this is written, make sure that everyone involved sticks to it whenever a new employee walks through the door.
Having a plan reminds your team of the importance of first impressions and proper onboarding. What’s more, it also shows that every team memberat has a role to play.
We’ve all been there: everybody in the room knows everybody else, and you don’t know any of them….
On the first day, your new recruit will more than likely meet a lot of new people and have trouble remembering their names. So instead of a handing over a clinical organisational chart of workers’ names and job titles, why not try a collage of photos of the team: supervisors, coworkers, the lot? You might include some personal info on each of them, such as family, pets, nicknames, hobbies, favorite sayings – whatever each employee feels comfortable sharing.
Having this information at hand will take the pressure off having to remember the many names and faces your new recruit meets on her first day. At the same time, you’re giving a human face to the company and making your newbie feel like she’s joining a family rather than a corporation.
Whenever a new person is brought on board, pick a member of the team to show her the ropes, explain how things work around the office, go for lunch together, and offer support when necessary. You might choose the same person for this ‘buddy’ role every time you hire or rotate it from a group of volunteers. Whatever works best for your company.
And that’s not to say that other team members can’t also do their part to make the newcomer feel welcome. Let’s all be buddies!
Onboarding is a two-way street, so rather than bombarding your newbie with information about the team, the office, and the office politics, take some time to get you know your new recruit too. Without prying too much, ask about her work background, her individual plans for her new job, her preferred ways of working. You’ll get a good idea of how your new employee will fit into the team.
The more you know about a new employee, the more you will be able to personalise the ongoing, onboarding process until she really feels like a member of the team herself.
It’s vital that you involve your new recruit in the company culture as quickly as possible to make her feel she is a valuable part of the team. Assign her tasks straightaway – not just liaising with IT for a work email account – but rather a role in all the areas in which she is involved. In team meetings, make a point of asking for her input: setting expectations and responsibilities is key to ensuring your new employee gets dialed into her new workplace. You should also encourage her to come up with her own personal plan for what she wants to accomplish within the organisation. It’s equally important to involve her in all of the social activities around the office – whether that’s making the tea and coffee when it’s her turn or inviting her to… the monthly bowling night.
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