Effective On-boarding – Essential for New Hires

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.” Jack Welch

We have spoken previously about the criticality of preventing employee attrition but also added that hiring new employees will also be a great part for any company. Ensure that you make a great first impression with the new employees and one of the surest ways to do that is to give them a sound and effective on-boarding. An effective on-boarding should be your company’s way to welcome the new hires, make them feel special and comfortable, preparing them for what lies ahead and to show them that your company is genuinely committed to ensure their growth and success with the company. An energized and at ease new employee will be free of stress, making it easier for them to interact more freely with others in the organization and also want to quickly start making a difference in the organization. The faster they become effective, the sooner would their success and growth would become a reality with the company leading to satisfaction and loyalty for their ‘employer’.

Hiring a new person does not stop once the person accepts the employment offer. In fact the main job of the company begins post this acceptance. It is a given that the new hire would require at least 3-6 months to settle down in the new company and to become effective. ‘Good employers’ would follow some best practices to ensure that the new hires feel part of the organization from day one. It is a demanding task but not impossible and worth every minute invested in this crucial process.

Effective on-boarding begins even before the employee actually joins. Some companies follow good practices like preparing a schedule for the new hire that would include names of whom they would meet and the time at which they would do so. For some senior positions, this agenda is sent to the employee even before the day of joining. Within the company, the team members and other teams should be provided with a ‘heads up’ on the new hire / hires and also informed of the time that they would be meeting with the person so that there are no delays and absence on the day of the ‘meeting’. This initial process of getting to know each other in the team proves very effective especially among people who would have to work together going forward.

Along with a schedule of meetings and induction, it also proves beneficial to send some informative reading material about the company – like the set of documents enlisting the company’s culture, values, goals and employee processes. This would give the new hire a fair sense of what to expect in the company and also how they must conduct themselves to be aligned to the company and its culture and the new hire reaches the company with some sense of belongingness and a feeling that they know the company. Effective on-boarding is all about letting the new hire know what to expect and what is expected from them and must be initiated by the if they want to achieve new employee efficiency and longevity.

The day the person joins, she or he must be greeted by a representative of the human resource department or someone from the team. If the boss can be part of this ‘welcome’ it would have an even greater impact. The next step would be to show the new hire to their desk / workstation, which should be properly equipped with everything that the person would need including stationery, phone and of course the laptop /computer system. Ensure that their email account and other company software settings have been configured on their computer system and a copy of the organizational chart, different teams and also directions around the office to places like the washrooms, cafeteria, smoking areas, conference rooms and other such details. Have someone show the new hires around the office and also have complete sets of forms for them to fill up. Their corporate salary accounts should be set up on day one too such that they have no problem in receiving their salary. It would be a great gesture to hand over to the new employee some branded item of your company – things like mugs, caps, pen-holders, visiting card holders and other such items are usually available to spare with the human resource.

Many companies successfully run what is known as a ‘buddy program’. A long term employee of the company is ‘assigned’ to the new hire to be with her or him during at least the first week of their stay in the company. This buddy takes the new hire around the office, introduces them to others, takes them to lunch and is around to ensure that the new employee does not face any problems and if there are they are sorted out. Even the most experienced people can get ‘first day jitters’ and therefore it is onus of the company to ensure that the new hires are made to feel at home and comfortable in the company.

Ensure that the schedule of the new hire is not too packed and they have enough time to move around the office, acquainting themselves with the facility and the people. Too much information on one day can be overwhelming, therefore balance the information being given with some ‘self-time’ which will allow better absorption of the information being provided. Ask the new hire to take notes where necessary since most of the matter told on the first few days is seldom repeated – companies are busy meeting deadlines and pleasing customers and these fine details often get lost in the milieu. Ensure that at least for the first week, the new hire’s schedule has at least 30 minutes of face to face interaction with the boss – this is a great way for them to know each other and also set expectations at the outset.

Effective on-boarding is your company’s chance to make a difference and impress the new hires enough to want to stay on with your company and also recommend their friends to work with you. Making the new hires comfortable is a great way to ensure that they begin performing to the optimum soon enough. To keep the transition smooth, ensure that the new hires know whom they can approach in case they have a problem and whom they need to approach with different issues – for example IT related queries, housekeeping or pantry and other such issues. The new hire could also be provided with a check-list of what they need to do along with a list of duties of other teams and team members.

In a number of companies the boss and a representative for human resources have role expectation setting meeting with the new hire. Even though the person may come with experience and have job description for the current role, it is still beneficial to go over duties and responsibilities to ensure there is no misunderstanding and there is clarity of expectations.

The fact is that your company would have chosen this new hire for a special set of skills and talents – give them the opportunity to discuss and showcase these skills at the on-boarding. When they perceive that their skills and talents are being appreciated, the desire to contribute and be a high performing member of the team increases significantly. Make use of the skills and talents from the outset – it proves to be highly beneficial to your company as well.

Let the new hires know that they can ask for feedback whenever they feel the need and which is in addition to regular and structured feedback as part of the company’s policies. It is crucial that new employees receive feedback so that there are no surprises at the time of a performance review. Encouragement and strategies for improvement provided by the manager will help the new hire to perform better and also be better aligned to the culture of the company.

These are probably just some of the methods to ensure effective on-boarding and the proper utilization of the investment your company has made both in terms of time and resources. Giving your new hires a great welcome is part of effective on-boarding and shows them that you value their contribution and want them to remain with your company for a long time.

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