Fresh from the festive break and into a new year, you may well have some recruitment to do, or some new hires about to start.
The first few weeks and months of a new role are vital. Not just for making sure your new recruit is getting up to speed with the job requirements and learning the company lingo, but thorough onboarding has been shown to greatly improve retention and productivity.
You want your employees first few days and months to feel positive and help them to feel like they belong within your organisation and understand how they contribute.
You’ve made a good impression through the recruitment process and your new hire has accepted the job offer, hooray! What now?
Contracts and paperwork might seem insignificant, but errors in details or slow responses can give a bad impression of the company’s administration and make them think twice about joining. Using your HR software as a portal can be useful or give your new hire a dedicated contact for any queries. This is also the time to make sure that you order your new hire’s IT equipment and other work paraphernalia – if you want them to hit the ground running, they’ll probably need a working laptop and/or a pass to enter the building!
Managers can also stay in touch with their new hire while they see out their notice period – three months can feel like a very long time between interviewing and accepting a role and actually starting. You could meet for coffee, invite the new person to a team building event or just have a few calls to check in if your employee is remote.
Planning the first day and week
You should have a clear plan for the first week for your new hire. Depending on their role, this might include; meeting the team and key contacts internally and externally; attending other meetings; time dedicated to read company policies or perform required training; meeting their buddy; training on work systems; sharing information on company and team priorities; and familiarisation with work facilities and practices (particularly important from a health and safety perspective). Your new hire might be a remote or flexible worker, so these activities might span longer than the first week and you should tailor the experience to the person and role.
Do your HR team a favour and make sure that you’re available on your new team members first day. In our previous work lives, all of the HR Overload team have been asked to greet new starters on their first day as the manager isn’t available, and (whilst HR people are lovely) it can make your new employee feel undervalued before they’ve even found their desk.
This isn’t to say you have to clear your calendar and sit next to them for the whole day, but greet them, take them to lunch, and spend at least an hour with them. If you really can’t do that then it might be worth considering pushing their start date back a day or so (and paying them if this is after contracts have been signed).
These activities help your new hire to integrate into the organisation, start building relationships with colleagues, and begin to learn to navigate your company’s culture and norms.
Onboarding doesn’t end after the first week, or even the first month, and it depends on the role and business how long it will take a new hire to get truly settled and up to speed. There might be additional training, other sites to visit, or new work activities to learn that only come up every few months. This time should be spent getting to know them, their strengths and areas of opportunities and what motivates them at work and personally, and that can take time.
You should stay close to your employee during this period, have more regular 121s or set specific objectives for the first 3 months or so rather than going straight to annual objectives. Often there is also a probation period to monitor. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on the employee’s start with the business. Some organisations survey their new employees at regular intervals through their first year to help them improve their onboarding in the future, and to hopefully catch any issues before they continue.
Looking to overhaul your onboarding practices? The HROverload team are here to help. Drop us a line email@example.com.