New hires need appropriate onboarding orientation in a new firm if they are to succeed. Whatever the actual hierarchical nature of your business, someone in the company is primarily responsible for onboarding new hires and setting them up for success. The person to whom the new employee is directly answerable – a direct manager for example – usually bears the brunt of the responsibility for effectively onboarding the new person on the job. But the direct manager is hardly the only one responsible. Everyone in the firm plays a role in the onboarding process.
Below is a best practices onboarding checklist:
1. Make sure the new hire understands what the job entails before they even start
Onboarding a new employee begins before they arrive that first day on the job. Before they arrive, many things need to be taken care of so that their first day and the days that follow, assures success rather than failure. For example, there will be a ton of paperwork that needs to be dealt with. Both the new hire, and the company will need to provide the other with various documents such as contracts, identification, manuals, job offer letters, handbooks and other things. Be sure to provide an employee handbook and company manual to the new hire when possible. Typically, best practices would mean that a lot of these are exchanged prior to the first day.
2. Welcome the new hire warmly on that first day (get everyone involved)
A good onboarding policy is to provide the new hire with a warm welcome on the first day. This will not only make a good impression, but it will set the tone for the new hire’s relationship with the firm going forward. Also, be sure to give the new person an office tour on the first day. Be sure that they have a clean desk, with a working computer, and basic things like that. Show the new person where the essential places are, like the copy machine, the rest room, the kitchen, things like that. It may seem obvious, but surprisingly, some managers skip over these basics, thus setting the new person on a course to feeling disoriented, unwelcomed and confused.
3. Take the new hire to lunch with the team within the first week of hire.
A team lunch in week one is a nice onboarding technique. It breaks the ice for everybody and allows the new employee to feel more relaxed with his/her new office mates.
4. Focus on making a good impression
Even though the onboarding process takes a good year to complete, the first 30 days are arguably the most critical for a new hire. The first day is especially critical. It is in this period that the manager and team members can really form an impression in the mind of the new colleague. All other team members should be advised to make a good impression for the company and for the company’s brand.
5. Introduce the new hire to each member of the team.
This should be obvious but is worth stating that a good onboarding program will include introducing the new hire to each team member and encouraging the team to actively welcome and include the new person. This cannot be overstated because the new team member could be someone who is not necessarily a carbon copy of the rest of the team and it can be difficult for other team members to accept the new person, as well as it is likely the new person could feel out of place. The manager is responsible for ensuring that the new person is welcomed and respected in the team.
6. Designate a buddy for the new hire if possible.
Many HR managers advise direct managers to designate a buddy for the new hire. A buddy, someone on the team who understands the role the new hire will play on the team, can significantly reduce normal apprehensions for new hires during the onboarding period.
7. Keep the doors of communication open and give/accept feedback
To properly onboard a new employee, the direct manager must leave the doors of communication wide open and accept feedback from the new employee, as well as listen to concerns expressed by the new employee, and follow through on these with the goal of making the onboarding process as painless as possible for all concerned.
8. Provide any necessary training and get the new hire’s feedback on this training.
As part of the onboarding process, new employees may need specific training before they are ready to inhabit their new role. Direct managers must ascertain this training is indeed provided. The idea is to set the employee up for success, and not failure.
9. Set milestones and make your goals and expectations clear during the probationary period.
Let the new employee know your goals and expectations as quickly as possible during the onboarding process. Set deadlines where appropriate so that the new person is clear on what is expected of him/her, and in what time frame. This reduces misunderstanding. It provides needed clarity for the employee during a stressful period.
10. Celebrate their successes one milestone at a time
Don’t neglect to celebrate the achievement of goals, the reaching of milestones and even the graduation from probation during the onboarding process. Celebrating success in your employees—especially new hires—will not only motivate them, it also validates their contribution to the firm, and this can reduce the kinds of frustration that leads to high attrition rates in many companies.