Bringing on a new employee is an exciting time! There’s so much for them to learn, so many people to meet and so much paperwork to fill out. It’s also exciting for the team as they welcome a new member and prepare for a new chapter.
But onboarding can be overwhelming: we can only learn so much at a time and there’s so much to cram into those first few days.
Here’s how to make onboarding a good experience for everyone and to help start your new employee on the right foot.
- Start the onboarding process early. Understanding that your new team member might be working at their previous job for the time between accepting the offer and joining your company, it’s still possible to take care of a few housekeeping tasks prior to their first day. If there are some documents that can be worked on a little at a time and filled out in advance, like tax forms, emergency contact forms, etc., pass those along before the new person’s first day. If even a few things are done before Day One, that’ll help! Also send along a welcoming note, letting the person know you’re excited to have them join your team and setting the tone for their first week. If you have one available, pass along a learning agenda establishing what will be covered during onboarding and giving them time to ask questions in advance.
- Make them feel welcome right away. Without overwhelming the person, set up their workstation and make sure people know they’re coming. Being greeted on the first day by your new team, who look excited and happy to meet you and work with you, can be a huge feather in a person’s cap. Some people take new jobs to get out of bad working environments where they feel unappreciated and overlooked; a friendly welcome and introductions can really set the right tone.
- Schedule a few important introductions and low-level meetings to help the new person understand their job. During the first week, your new employee should have separate meetings with their manager, their colleagues and HR. Spread them out, maybe one meeting a day, to allow them to soak up all the new information without feeling overwhelmed. This also allows time for them to come up with questions and get them answered before they’re thrown deeply into their new job. We need time to learn and process; too much information at once means details will be forgotten due to overload. Be considerate and cognizant of this and help manage that initial stress.
- Embrace the buddy system. On the new person’s first day, or maybe before, designate a person or two that they can go to with questions about anything from the location of the bathrooms and break room to how they request vacation time and where the supply closet is. Having an onboarding buddy is like having a guidance counselor or older sibling, it’s someone to show the person the ropes and help direct their energy (and nerves) in a productive way. Everyone’s new at some point and having someone dedicated to helping navigate that process can be a huge help.
- Inspire them. After a week or two, or maybe a month, schedule an informal meeting. See how things are going; do they have the tools they need to do their job? If not, what needs to be acquired or provided? Did they feel welcomed and embraced as they started? How could people have been more helpful? If they’re having trouble adjusting to their new position, find ways to help them connect with the company’s mission and overall vision. Make sure they understand their role in the big picture. Explain why they were selected for the job and how they fit into the company’s priorities right now and in the future. We all want to be wanted and needed — it makes us feel good and important, and for new hires, it’s nice to know they were brought on board for a reason.
Onboarding is an intense time but it can be a fun one as well. Set the pace, tread lightly but with purpose and see how successful your new employee can be!
If you’re looking to add to your team or want more advice on successful onboarding, call Davis Staffing. Our experts are ready to help ease the onboarding process for everyone and can help you find great new employees if needed. Call Davis Staffing today and let’s get started!