The first few weeks on the job are a critical time for both a company and their new hire. Well-organized on-boarding reduces the cost of disruption on the first day and beyond. The better and more thorough the on-boarding process, the higher an employee’s chances of success. Both the new employee and the employer have a lot to learn about each other, and the expectations regarding how soon the new hire will become productive are typically very high.
10 Tips for Successful On-boarding
- Make practical preparations before the new hire’s first day. Prepare their office, set up technology (computer, email and phone), order business cards, notify other employees of the new hire, etc.
- Plan a pre-employment lunch or get-together with the new hire’s department and other employees. This is a great way for the new hire to meet their co-workers, and makes the first day less intimidating.
- Set goals right away. Remember that each new hire is unique, and that the capabilities and experience they bring to the role is what should dictate goals. The manager should help the individual figure out what they need to learn and what resources are necessary to be efficient and productive in working toward the goals. Prepare a timeline for each phase in the process.
- Make sure goals and timing are reasonable, measurable and attainable. This is especially important if because of the recession you combined two or more positions into one position. Encourage the employee to set a few of his or her own goals; this typically results in a higher chance of success.
- Establish performance metrics and benchmarks early. Schedule regular checkpoints to make sure everything is on plan (allowing for adjustments as needed).
- Plan a day (or more if needed) for the new hire to meet with each other person and department they will interface with on a regular basis. Ample time should be allowed to learn each person’s role (and the new hire’s role in working with them) and for building rapport. Spending a day or more actually performing each role leads to even greater learning, insights and team building.
- Assign a mentor to help the new hire assimilate to the company culture. The mentor does not have to be someone in the new hire’s own area or department but they should be someone who is highly respected within the company, and who can meet with the new hire regularly and informally. They can help the new hire understand company protocols and behavior expectations, as well as guidance on the best way to navigate the organization and its decision-making and approval processes. The mentor is to be a constant resource for the new hire before the first day (if possible) and throughout at least the first three months. This relationship, especially when established early, can be a key factor in the new hire’s long-term success and loyalty to the company.
- Communicate with the new hire — often. Let them know they are important to the company and that the company is excited about having them on board.
- Be flexible with the new hire. Understand that, especially if they are new to the area, there may be times when they need to be out of the office. If work-life balance was touted in the interview process, this is a good time to live up to it.
- Don’t overlook on-boarding internal transfers. On-boarding a current employee into a new role or department requires many of the same activities as a new company hire including orientation, training and assimilation into their new department.