5 Top Tips for Onboarding New Hires

29/01/2017

People are a significant investment in any business. For small business owners with limited time and manpower, every new hire means an expenditure of resources on screening, assessment and eventually, recruitment. Naturally, it makes sense from both an organisational and individual perspective that every new employee is brought up to speed as quickly as possible and successfully assimilated into his new role.

This is where onboarding comes in – effective onboarding can improve employee satisfaction, reduce turnover and enhance performance – all of which strengthens both your team and your bottom line. 

5 Top Tips for Onboarding New Hires

Here are 5 tips for smoothening the employee onboarding process:

1) Start early

Your new hire may be experiencing some anxiety and unfamiliarity prior to the transition into a new role and organisation. Try to ease your new hire into the organisation by providing him or her with information even before the first day on the job. For instance, send the orientation schedule, materials, and a comprehensive FAQ about the company in a welcome email. Providing some information in advance will allow your new hire to feel like part of the team even before the first day and better equip him or her to start off on the right foot.

Starting early is important as first impressions matter, and the devil is in the details – for instance, by having the new employee’s phone and computer ready for them.

2) Welcome your new hire

An essential part of easing the transition is allowing your new hire to feel accepted and welcome by the team. Apart from orienting your new hire to the more technical aspects of the business, such as strategy and organisational structure, ensure that you also assimilate your employee into the culture of your organisation. Taking the time to explain organisational lingo and debriefing post-meetings will help your new hire better understand the relationships and dynamics in the office.

Based on a survey of workers in the United States, 33% said their technology wasn’t properly set up, 22% said they didn’t have the necessary supplies provide, 16% said they didn’t even receive an overview of the company, 15% said they didn’t receive introductions to colleagues, and 14% didn’t get offered a tour of the office! This takes away from the initial experience and might dampen your new employee’s loyalty to the company.

Following are some quick tips to make sure that the rest of your office – both the infrastructure and the people – are welcoming towards the new colleague:

  • Send out an email to everyone in the office so they’re prepared to welcome a new employee.
  • Create a comfortable work station filled with the necessary supplies, including a computer with the relevant software and email accounts already set up
  • Prepare a stack of business cards.
  • Designate a workspace and provide a name plate on his or her desk or office door as a tangible sign that you’ve prepared the space.
  • Prepare a gift to help your new employee feel welcome. A mug or pens with the company logo would be a nice touch.
  • Introduce your new employee to key coworkers
  • Give your new employee a tour around the office.
  • Help the newbie learn names and jobs. Make an informal org chart of your department that spells out who’s responsible for what.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review

3) Establish clear standards & documentation

Induction into a new workplace means induction into a set of rules and regulations, benefits, bonuses and traditions. Instead of making your new hire learn the hard way, set out expectations clearly from the outset to ensure that there will be adherence to the norms of your organisation so as to ease the transition process.

Key workplace policies include the following:-

  • Health and Safety Policy sets out your general approach and commitment to health and safety in the workplace, together with the arrangements you have put in place for managing it. 
  • Social Media Policy is the starting point for an organisation’s social media risk management. It educates employees on using social media in their workplace environment, and it protects the organisation from uninformed and often unintended misuse of social media to the detriment of your business.
  • Disciplinary Policy and Procedure sets out the policies and procedures that your business follows in relation to employee performance management.
  • A Flexible Working Policy covers the types of flexible working available and the process for making requests, and explains how these requests will be considered. This policy helps to make sure that flexible working arrangements are applied in a way that is beneficial to both employer and employee. 
  • Bring Your Own Device Policy governs the use of employee-owned electronic devices at work, including devices such as PCs, smartphones and tablets. It outlines the company’s position and governance on the use of such devices and will ensure that the company’s network security is not compromised.

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Instead of having your new hire fill out a ton of forms on his first day of work, store all important documentation in an online hub and let your employees know that these materials are available online. A web-based onboarding system allows you to standardise, streamline, track and coordinate every stage of the process.

4) Involve your team

When your new employee joins your organisation, he is joining a community of people that he will be working closely with at this new stage of his career. As such, get your team involved in bringing your new hire up to speed. Have someone act as a sponsor and designate this person as the go-to person for when the new teammate meets with problems. This is beneficial for the sponsor as it gives him or her the platform to demonstrate leadership skills, while the new employee has a resource to go to for feedback and direction.

5) Make it personal

If your company has multiple teams or is undergoing rapid expansion, you don’t want your new employee to feel like a cog in the machine when he has just stepped foot into the organisation. According to a Harvard Business Review article, one of the key characteristics of humans is our longing for opportunities to be valued as our authentic selves. By building an onboarding process based on an individual-identity condition that encourages authentic self-expression, organisations can create an environment that motivates employees and positively influences attitudes towards work and job satisfaction.

An example of a one-hour session that focuses on how new hires can bring their unique perspectives and strengths to the table could look like this:

  1. A senior leader spends 15 minutes discussing how working at Wipro would give newcomers the opportunity to express themselves and create individual opportunities.
  2. Newcomers perform a 15-minute individual problem-solving exercise.
  3. Newcomers spend 15 minutes reflecting on the decisions they made in the problem-solving exercise and on how to apply their strengths to the job.
  4. Newcomers spend 15 minutes introducing themselves and their decisions to the group.
  5. Newcomers are given a badge and fleece sweatshirt with their own names on both of them.

Source: Harvard Business Review

In a nutshell…

5 Top Tips for Onboarding New Hires
Design by: The Working Capitol

This article was written by Zegal for The Working Capitol and was first published on The Working Capitol blog and the Capitol Press, a publication of The Working Capitol.

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