First impressions always matter, and that applies not just to people but to organizations, too. Many companies make the mistake of hiring aggressively and Onboarding passively. In some cases, the employee may simply stroll into the office, meet the supervisor and plunge into work right away. Don't you want to make a better first impression?
Putting a bit more thought into welcoming an employee has several benefits:
• It makes them feel special.
• It helps them meet people at the workplace and form some connections.
• It prevents them from standing out like a sore thumb on their first day.
• It gives them a chance to talk to project stakeholders in a more detailed manner.
• It gives them an idea of the organisation’s culture and their place in it.
• Onboarding training gets them up to speed with their work so they can start on the right note.
With these many benefits, it is only natural that you want to rethink your onboarding strategy. Here are a few tips to help:
1. Slow Down: In the daily grind, most of us often ignore the little things that make our experience at work worthwhile. A new employee has no way to see these benefits unless you show them. Ensure that you organise a team lunch, or just some coffee, and give the new hire a chance to discuss their past work, the team to discuss their current engagements, etc. More importantly, let the setting be casual, with no time limits imposed, so that people get the time they need to bond.
2. Present The Picture: Every new hire at all levels in the organisation can benefit immensely from understanding just what their role is helping the company do. It is important to share details of all current projects that are relevant to them, client feedback and cultural aspects such as diligence and adherence to timelines. Some companies design trainings to help make this happen, while others just have a conference. Whatever be the medium of delivery, showing them the grand plan is important.
3. Think Through Teamwork: For a new hire, everything is absolutely new. Your team may be used to communicating on Skype effectively, but the new person does not know whether to drop a chat message or send an email. Think through other such aspects that may be confusing at first and be sure to explain them in detail. Prepare the team as well to work with a new person- detail their role, explain what they bring to the table.
4. Think Of Assimilation: If you’re hiring more than one new person, introduce them to each other before they start so they have company on the journey. Some companies also use the buddy system to pair a new hire with an existing employee. For a system like this to work, random pairing just wont cut it. Instead, pair people with similar interests together so they have common ground to cover.
5. Let Them Settle In: Many new hires are expected to be productive on day one! How is this possible? They need time- to adapt to your processes, to speak like your organisation and to understand how to interact with the others on the team to get maximum results. By limiting this process, you do nothing for them or yourself. Some companies use a two-day training as a means to shorten this process but it doesn’t work that way. Remember, the employee needs to adapt to more than just the technical tasks.
6. Get Feedback On The Onboarding Experience: There’s no harm in asking the employee what they liked, and what they would change about their onboarding experience. This sets the stage for a healthy conversation with them at a later stage as well. However, don’t ask for feedback in the first few days, or the first month even. Instead, give them time to adjust and settle in, and then ask for feedback in a personal environment without ten people judging what they say.
The HR department plays an invaluable role in Onboarding. For one, they provide the neutral platform needed for such an interaction, and they also have the resources needed to improve the system over time.
What is your current Onboarding process like? Do you think it needs to be improved?