Onboarding a new hire

The importance of effective employee onboarding cannot be overstated. Companies need to consider the impression that they are giving to their new recruit.

Therefore as a hiring manager, you should strive to set up new employees for success from day one. The best way to get new team members off to a brilliant start in their new job is to offer them a warm welcome and a great orientation.

Here are five important steps you should follow when welcoming a new staff member to your team.

1. Prepare for employee onboarding: Get ready for the new hire

Preparation for onboarding a new employee needs to start well before they walk through the door. Be sure to:

  • Help them prepare. Fill them in on any important information, such as dress code, where to park or public transport options, and of course, the time they should arrive at the office.
  • Prepare their workspace. You don't want to be the company that takes a whole week to set up an email account for its new employees. Coordinate with your IT and HR departments so that the new employee has a workspace waiting that is clean, tidy and ready for them to use.

2. Schedule their first day

Often, the focus is on the new recruit, and how quickly they will be able to settle in and start contributing to the team and company. But first impressions run both ways, so it pays to have an onboarding process that will allay their first day anxieties and make them feel welcomed.

  • Announce the new hire with a welcome email to the team and/or company at the start of the day. Let the receptionist know in advance to greet them when they arrive.
  • Introduce them in person to key people throughout the business. Gathering the team for lunch or coffee with the new hire is a good way to bond in a social setting. It can also be a chance to give them an outline of the tasks and projects you'd like them to tackle in the coming days and weeks.
  • Familiarise them with their new workspace. Guide them to stationery cupboards, the staff kitchen and company meeting rooms; also offer tips on the best places to grab lunch or coffee. Educate them about company policies and procedures they need to follow.

3. Offer orientation

If you have formal orientation or induction meetings for those starting a new job with the company, make sure they are booked into one right away. These can be a good opportunity for them to learn what your company does, and to ask questions about what to expect when working for you.

It's important to provide them with some kind of orientation as part of the employee onboarding process, even if it's just a one hour discussion in your office or with a HR staffer. This will give the new employee a chance to learn about your company's mission, values, organisational chart, and key products and services.

4. Organise training and mentoring

Part of making a good impression is to be clear about what you expect your new employee to do, as well as get a good understanding of how they would like to work and evolve in their role.

  • Revisit goals and responsibilities. You will have touched on this during the hiring process, but now go into detail about assignments and expectations. Also discuss the evaluation process and scheduling of the performance review.
  • Schedule training. As part of the onboarding process, engage with your new employee which new skills he or she feels they may need training on. Explore and book in relevant internal training, conferences and webinars. Establishing employee training as a priority for the business can not only help you secure the candidate, but retain them too.
  • Review mentoring opportunities. Many professionals also owe at least some of their success to a mentor. Mentors not only offer invaluable advice and guidance to new employees, but also act as a sounding board for ideas and concerns. Moreover, having a 'go-to' person who can help a junior staff member find their way in the workplace can help you retain top talent, build a better work culture and improve team performance. Consider assigning a mentor to new employees early in theironboarding, or encourage them to seek one out.

5. Help them settle into their role

Remember that successfully onboarding a new employee takes several months. Check in often, and schedule regular catch-ups to give new hires the opportunity to air any concerns. Take the time to observe them and ask questions - do they understand the business and their role? Facilitate any additional training on systems or processes, and be prepared to give extra feedback.  

Don’t forget about recognition. Keep the employee motivated and engaged by celebrating success. It could be as simple as noting the new employee’s achievements in a team meeting, or you could establish an awards program to acknowledge and celebrate high-performing staff.

Remember that first impressions count. Investing the time to effectively onboard a new employee will ensure they feel productive, motivated and engaged right from the start.

See more tips on how to speed up the hiring process.

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