With today’s fierce competition for qualified, engaged employees, a successful onboarding program is critical to retaining your new talent.
What kind of first impression are you and your organization making on your newfound, hard-won talent? Here are some strategies to consider for your new hire’s first week:
- Employee engagement increases when employees take positive action to further an organization’s mission. By providing your new employee the opportunity to contribute from the get-go, you increase the potential of high job satisfaction. Do you have some low-hanging fruit to tackle right away and send the person home feeling accomplished on day one?
- Integrate the person into his or her respective department immediately so the person is comfortable in the surroundings. Starting in a new environment is never easy, and trying to learn every corporate fact and “who’s who” on the first day is impossible. Give your employee a chance to breathe and acclimate. Save the corporate information for later. It will be much more meaningful when the person can connect the dots as to how the team ties into the bigger picture.
- Cheat sheets often are helpful when navigating through the inner company systems. After an individual has been given a very high level overview of what is needed to do the job immediately, assign the person a champion and allow the person a chance to explore on his or her own a bit. The person will have specific and relevant questions at group orientation.
- In the first few days, try to avoid too much information about all the rules (dress code, handbooks, etc.). After all, you’ve made a great decision to hire the person; trust he or she will act responsibly within your environment. When all the person hears is the “must do’s and must not’s,” there’s a tendency for that first impression to stick. Try to make the first few days interactive and memorable from the perspective that you’re thrilled to have the person on board. There’s always time to hit the specifics later.
- Many adults embrace self-study, and millennials and Zs are going to be much more comfortable using technology to learn rather than sitting in a classroom or lecture-type style. Consider developing an intranet page with the top 10 things about the company. Have he or she provide feedback about where the person views himself or herself in the first 30 days. It’s a great opportunity for the employee and manager to dialogue and discuss what has been learned and how the world fits into the bigger picture.
- Tours are critical, and when available, the department manager should give the tour and introduce his/her team members. It’s very important that the first people who are introduced to your new hire are the people who will be relevant and helpful to achieving success in their position.
- Consider customizing the new hire orientation based on experienced professionals versus interns. Every level of experience has a different need when it comes to new hire orientation. You might initially believe this is too much customization, but consider your investment; isn’t it worth the extra time and effort to help them realize high engagement immediately?
So why not get a group together in your company and challenge yourself to review your onboarding process? Current and future workforce shortages will make new hire onboarding mission critical to your organization. Are you ready?
Lori Stewart, SPHR, is director, human resource consulting at HKP.