Effective Onboarding: The First Year for a New Employee
When you hire on a new employee, you should have a plan in place to ensure that their onboarding is effective, their morale is high, and they are fully engaged from the beginning. It’s unfair to welcome a new employee to a chaotic situation with little guidance. In fact, if employees come into a situation like that, they’re more apt to leave your company and try and find a better situation.
With that said, if you do have an effective onboarding plan in place, you can keep new employees happy, which helps them do their job better.
The First Year
Throughout your employee’s first year, there are certain ‘milestone’ dates in which certain tasks should be completed.
The first day of any new venture in our lives is important and usually includes a fair amount of excitement mixed with apprehension. That’s certainly the case with new employees who are anxious to fit in. They want to make a favorable impression on the people they work with and those who manage them. If it’s part of your role to help them become acclimated, there are things you can do to ease their transition.
- Help them make connections – If you have the time, creating a list of employees, their roles within the organization, and a photo is extremely helpful for new hires looking to make connections. Creating name cards for employees’ desks and offices is similarly helpful.
- Show them around – Don’t forget about the first-day office “tour” to show the new employee where the bathrooms, cafeteria and break rooms are, but also show them where local amenities, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and gyms are located near your office.
- Assign an employee to be with them – You probably have plenty of other tasks you need to accomplish regarding payroll and HR, so enlisting another employee to be available to the new hire on their first day is often very helpful.
- Encourage questions – A productive, safe learning environment is one that encourages employees to ask questions and feel comfortable about doing so.
- Take them to lunch – Leaving a new employee to fend for lunch themselves isn’t a great way to help them get a productive start. Have trusted team members take them to lunch for their first few days until they develop friendships of their own. It also encourages current employees to get to know the new hire.
- Make sure they have the tools to succeed – The proper amount of training time should be accounted for when bringing a new employee onboard. Also, as mentioned, making sure that they have everything to perform their job – computer, phone, printer, laptop, etc. – is available their first day on the job. Show them where the copy machines are and how they work.
- Let them know what to expect – Make sure that the new hire understands their essential day-to-day activities, how to use the phone system, the intranet, etc.
- Complete any remaining paperwork – We previously discussed how helpful – and time-saving it is – to have the new hire complete all the necessary legal and payroll paperwork before they begin. Any remaining paperwork should be taken care of on the first day, as well as any compliance issues.
The First Week
The assimilation process continues during the first week for the new employee as you help them become productive as soon as possible.
- Meet with their supervisor – If not the first day, then a meeting of the new employee and his or her immediate supervisor should be scheduled for the first week. The supervisor can outline their expectations as well as short-term goals for the new hire.
- More introductions – Continue to introduce the employee to other instrumental people within your company. Informal settings are often better for these types of introductions.
- Ensure that they’re prepared – Make sure that the employee has all the tools and understands the business processes involved in his or her specific position.
The First 3 Months
Even after the new employee has settled into his or her new role, the onboarding process should continue. And experts say that the first 90 days of employment are crucial for employee retention.
- Training – The new employee should already have position-specific training as well as cross-training, if possible. The more they know, the more they’ll contribute to your business.
- Monitor progress – Monitor the new employee’s effectiveness while providing guidance along the way.
- Schedule check-ins – Regularly meet with the new employee to get their feedback and observations about your company’s procedures and policies.
First Annual Review
The first annual review is another piece of the onboarding process and should include:
- A formal review of the new hire’s performance as well as documented feedback.
- Recognizing the employee’s achievements.
- Discussing a formal career development plan that’s focused on advancement within your company. Make sure the employee has strong input during this discussion.
Your onboarding process can be the difference between having long-tenured employees and high turnover. Don’t neglect your new employees. Rather, have an effective onboarding process that assimilates them to your culture.
Interested in what an in-depth onboarding process should look like? Download our onboarding checklist for hiring new employees.