Employee onboarding sets the tone for a new hire's experience at your company. A smooth, friendly process eases the transition for everyone, so the new employee can integrate into the team and become productive in less time.
Start Before Day One
The employee onboarding process doesn't have to start when a new hire walks through the front door on his first day. In the weeks leading up to the start date, open the lines of communication. Email or mail important documents such as the employee handbook or training materials. Send an email to everyone in the office to introduce the new worker — include a photo, a description of the person's professional history and any personal details he is comfortable providing. Invite the employee to any office social media groups, and encourage team members to connect on LinkedIn. This process builds familiarity on all sides and creates potential topics for conversation.
Plan Social Events
Paperwork and HR formalities are a necessity, but they shouldn't be the entirety of your employee onboarding program. During an employee's first week, set up meetings to introduce him to his new colleagues. Start with the immediate supervisor and closest co-workers, and move from there to other team members and people from across the company. Organize smaller groups to avoid overwhelming the employee, and aim for a variety of events, such as morning coffee with the receptionist, a lunch out with the team and a casual cocktail hour with company leadership.
Training is an essential part of employee onboarding. Before a new worker comes in, consider the aspects of office life that require introduction, such as project management programs, frequently used software or established office communication systems. Don't forget about unwritten systems, such as the reporting structure, office etiquette and common meeting procedures. If you have multiple employees coming on board at the same time, plan formal training sessions in a setting that encourages questions and discussions. For a single new employee, assign an experienced worker to provide a one-on-one session. In doing so, you can minimize confusion, build relationships and help the new worker learn how to work within your company's established norms.
After the first week, it's easy to let employee onboarding slide. Help a new worker continue the integration process by checking in frequently. Stop by his desks to ask if he has any questions, or assign a co-worker to be a mentor and buddy during the first 90 days. When the employee settles into the office culture, introduce him to clients and vendors to start building working relationships. By maintaining communication, you can head off unwitting mistakes and ensure that the worker feels welcomed and supported long after the excitement of the first day dies down.
A great employee onboarding program is essential, both for the new worker and your existing staff. By focusing on both social and professional integration, you can minimize disruption and help return the team to full productivity.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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