Get your new hires off on the right foot with these onboarding strategies
April 1, 2016
By Lori Stewart, SPHR®, SHRM-SCP, HCS, Partner, Human Resource Consulting
With today’s fierce competition for qualified, engaged employees, a successful onboarding program is critical to retaining your new talent. What kind of first impression are you and your organization making on your newly-found, hard-won talent? Here are some strategies to consider for your new hire’s first week:
- Employee engagement increases when employees take positive action to further an organization’s mission. By providing your new employee the opportunity to contribute from the get-go, you increase the potential of high job satisfaction. Do you have some low-hanging fruit for them to tackle right away and send them home feeling accomplished Day One?
- Integrate them into their respective department immediately so they’re comfortable in their surroundings. Starting in a new environment is never easy and trying to learn every corporate fact and who’s who on the first day is impossible. Give your employee a chance to breathe and acclimate. Save the corporate information for later. It will be much more meaningful when they can connect the dots as to how their team ties into the bigger picture.
- Cheat sheets are often helpful when navigating through the inner company systems. After an individual has been given a very high level overview of what they need to do their job immediately, assign them a champion and allow them a chance to explore on their own a bit. Then they will have specific and relevant questions when they attend group orientation.
- In the first few days, try to avoid too much information about all the rules (dress code, handbooks, etc.). After all, you’ve made a great decision to hire them; trust they will act responsibly within your environment. When all they hear from their new employer are the dos and don’ts, there’s a tendency for that first impression to stick with them. Try to make their first few days interactive and memorable from the perspective that you’re thrilled to have them on board. There’s always time to hit the specifics later.
- Many adults embrace self-study, and millennials and Z’s are going to be much more comfortable using technology to learn rather than classroom/lecture-style training. Consider developing an Intranet page with the top ten things about the company. Have them provide you feedback about where they view themselves in the first 30 days. It’s a great opportunity for the employee and manager to dialogue and discuss what they have learned and how their world fits into the bigger picture.
- Tours are critical, and when available, the department manager should give the tour and introduce his or her team members. It’s very important that the first people who are introduced to your new hire are the people who will be relevant and helpful to achieving success in their position.
- Consider customizing the new hire orientation based on experienced professionals versus interns. Every level of experience has a different need when it comes to new hire orientation. You may initially think this is too much customization, but consider your investment. Isn’t it worth the extra time and effort to help them realize high engagement immediately?
Get a group together in your own company and challenge yourself to review your onboarding process. Current and future workforce shortages will make new hire onboarding mission critical to your organization. Are you ready?
This article was previously published in the May 2016 Tri-State Business Times.