by Amanda Sloan
Whether you are bringing in an entry-level accountant or an heir apparent (c-suite successor), your organization’s onboarding process is critical to the retention success of newly hired employees. Regardless of industry, or the size of your organization, creating (and following) best practices for onboarding are essential for a cohesive company culture and an optimal new hire experience. While there are many ways to successfully integrate employees with a team, below are several recommendations that should not be overlooked in this process.
1. Preparation and Communication.
It cannot be overstated how important the preboarding process is for new hires. Ideally, office hours and dress code have already been communicated either in the offer letter or throughout the hiring process. Communicate 1-2 weeks prior to the start date what needs to be brought on day one (I-9 documentation), parking information, when to arrive, where to go, and who to reach out to with questions or concerns. Set up the employee’s workstation prior to their arrival, making sure all technology is fully functional and ready to use. On the employee’s start date, provide a welcome packet with all the necessary employee resources (in both paper and digital form to be easily accessed at any time). This should include a copy of your employee handbook, mission statement, organizational chart, employee directory, company history, and any other pertinent information.
Have team members all sign a welcome card and provide a small first day gift (perhaps some company branded materials). Plan a celebratory first team meeting with snacks and/or facilitate a fun fact ice breaker. Allow the opportunity for employees to openly engage in conversation and welcome the newbie to the team. Lunch with the hiring manager is also a nice touch!
3. Training and Team Engagement.
Enlist the CEO, Managing Director, or other executive leadership to facilitate a company overview (ideally on Day 1). Designate seasoned coworkers to facilitate systems training or job shadowing and assign a peer mentor (an employee in an equal or similar role) as part of the new hire training process to promote connection opportunities and help assimilate the new team member. Engaging employees from every level of the organization provides exposure to multiple departments and promotes a cohesive culture with a greater sense of belonging. Be sure all assignments are clearly defined and communicated amongst the team!
4. Follow Up.
Complete personnel paperwork ASAP. Schedule calendar invitations throughout the employee’s first weeks to submit the required benefit enrollment documents, handbook acknowledgment forms, etc. in a timely manner. The employee handbook should be thoroughly reviewed in detail to be sure all policies and procedures have been made clear. W Talent Solutions typically has both HR and the Managing Director review each section with the new hire at different times to be sure nothing is missed. Send reminders for completion of any outstanding items or schedule more time if necessary.
Also, ask for feedback along the way and offer multiple opportunities for follow-up. Onboarding is not just a week 1 activity. Plan for multiple check-ins at 2 weeks, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days and ask new employees to provide feedback on the onboarding process. Their input can identify areas for improvement and ensure you are setting your team up for success!