Too many HR managers think the recruiting process ends once an employee has accepted your offer. But nothing could be further from the truth. After a new hire is made, you need to immediately start preparing for how you’re actually going to bring this person onto the team and get them doing the job they signed up to do.
Yet the onboarding process is more than just practical. It can have a direct impact on someone’s decision to stay with the company. So no matter how many great recruiting strategies you use, you can still blow it by failing to create an optimized onboarding process.
To help you make sure you wow your new hires on the first day and get them started on the right foot, here are five of the most important things new hires want from the onboarding process.
Time With Their Direct Manager
When you join a new company, you want to believe you’re going to be a valuable addition to the team. You want to feel like the people already working there want you to be there, and that they are excited for you to start. And nothing says the complete opposite like a manager who’s too busy or too distracted to sit down with a new hire on their first day.
In the end, the relationship we have with our bosses very much defines how we perceive our jobs—a good relationship usually means a good feeling about our jobs, and vice versa. It’s not uncommon for job candidates to not meet their managers during the interview process, especially if you’ve worked with an outside HR or recruiting firm. But when they come to their first day of work, it’s important this person makes themselves known. This way when assignments start coming in, it won’t feel as though they’re coming from some phantom boss out in the cloud.
Of course, sometimes things don’t work out this way. It’s totally possible that the new hire’s manager is away on vacation, or that he or she has been called away on urgent business. But if this happens, try to do something to help facilitate a meeting on the first day. Even just a quick phone or video call can go a long way towards helping someone settle into their new role and feel comfortable right from day one.
An Outline of What's Expected of Them
Building off that, many people would like to know right from the beginning what’s expected of them in both the short- and long-term. Some of this stuff will have been discussed throughout the candidate process, but it’s likely your new hire has interviewed for a few jobs before accepting your offer, and who knows how long it’s been since they were last in the office.
As a result, it’s a good idea to sit down with new hires and let them know what’s to come. This includes outlining what tasks they should be focusing on right away, but it should also include a discussion about what’s to come further down the road. This means talking about different opportunities there are for advancement and professional development. If you’ve hired someone, chances are you want them to be around for a while. And considering a lack of professional development is one of the top reasons people leave a job, it’s smart to start talking about this stuff right away.
But make sure to have this conversation in a low key way. You don’t want to overload someone with information on the first day, but even just mentioning things such as eLearning platforms, job portals, tuition assistance programs, etc. helps let people know you’re aware of their desire to move forward and that you are in a position to help them do it.
An Introduction to Company Norms
There are a lot of little things that new hires will want to know but that they might not feel comfortable asking about. Things such as dress code, start and end times, coffee break policies, social media use, and so on are all important, but they are often not something someone will come right out and ask about on the first day.
However, if you want to make a good first impression on new team members, then do your best to outline some of this information right from the beginning. You will likely not be able to name all of the different unwritten rules your company follows, but even just starting to talk about it might encourage new hires to ask questions, increasing the chances everyone is on the same page and feeling good about the new arrangement.
A Chance to Meet Their Coworkers
There’s nothing worse than starting a new job where you don’t know anyone. It’s like the first day at a new school all over again. But this time, you have a chance to be warm and welcoming, not cold and standoffish.
Navigating this will depend a bit on your company culture. If people tend to be busy and caught up in their own world, then maybe schedule an afternoon meeting where you can introduce the new hire and have them do the same to the team. You’ll find people after the meeting will likely go up and present themselves as well, helping everyone to get to know each other a little better.
Or, if your culture is a bit more open, you may only need to send an email telling people a new employee is starting so that they can to introduce themselves. Another option is to organize a lunch with the new hire and some of their coworkers, a strategy that works well when they are going to be joining a relatively small team. In the end, it doesn’t matter exactly what you do, but just make sure you do all you can to make sure new hires feel welcome and a part of the team when they come in for their first day.
The Tools They Need to Get Started Right Away
While all of this stuff is important, what people really want when they start a new job is to actually start. There’s nothing worse than showing up only to find out you don’t have a computer, or that your login information isn’t ready yet. These small little delays send the message that you weren’t prepared for the person to come, and they are going to hold people back from getting to work, which is frustrating for everyone.
Make a list of all the things you need to do for someone can start working immediately. Then, figure out how far in advance you need to start gathering this stuff to have it ready for day one. At some companies, you may need to put in requests for hardware and software access, so make sure you give enough lead time for these requests to be met before the new hire comes in for their first day.
Being able to present someone with all the tools they need to start on day one is going to put them at ease and make their transition much easier, and this increases their chances of having a positive first day experience.
Begin Working on Your Onboarding Process
No matter how well you do with employee retention, there are always places we can do better. And there’s a pretty good chance your onboarding process could be tweaked to improve a new hire’s experience on their first day, which increases the chances you’ll make a first impression, and that your new employee will become soon become both engaged and productive.
About the Author: Jock Purtle is an expert on business growth strategies and runs a successful business brokerage. He fully understands the importance of finding the right team and enjoys sharing what he knows with other business leaders.