69% of employees say they're more likely to stick with a company for 3 years or more if they get a great experience during their initial "onboarding" sessions. Despite this, there are still many businesses out there that simply leave their new hires to "jump in at the deep end," with little to no guidance whatsoever.
No matter how much experience your new employee might have with your industry, it's important to remember that a new job is a complex and often nerve-wracking experience for anyone. That's why a welcoming and well-thought-out onboarding plan can be crucial to keeping your new staff members from experiencing too much unnecessary stress.
Whether you're launching your onboarding strategy for the first time, or you're making some adjustments to your existing process, the following tips will help you to ensure that the first impression your employees get of your business is a good one.
Make Them Feel Like Part of the Team
Although it's essential to maintain your professional reputation when you're welcoming new hires onto your team, you also need them to feel as comfortable as possible during those initial days in a new place. Ideally, your onboarding program should be designed to eliminate any anxieties your employee might have about starting work in an unfamiliar place. Try:
- Asking your HR team and receptionist to greet the new employee warmly, and have someone lead them to their office, so they're not left to wander around the building alone.
- Introducing them to each member of their new team individually in a group welcome session.
- Providing them with a company roster, so that they have the details they need on how to contact the people who can help them out when they get stuck.
- Giving them with an introduction to their role, including the new software and tools they might be using each day.
- Making sure that their workstation is set up before they arrive, with pens, paper, a computer, and anything else that they might need.
Get the HR Paperwork Sorted
Nobody enjoys doing mountains of paperwork, but if you can stop it being a headache then you can make sure that your new employee is ready to jump into their position head-first. Taking care of the necessary essentials early will make life easier for everyone involved. For companies who don't have an HR department or who aren't quite ready for a full-scale HR team just yet, a PEO service can simplify the road to onboarding new hires. They can advise on the legalities and help with HR admin such as direct deposit forms and benefits enrollment.
If you feel giving your new employee a large amount of paperwork at once will overwhelm them, you can always spread some of the documents out over the first week. That way the onboarding experience gives them more time to get used to their surroundings, colleagues and workplace.
Encourage Interactions and Networking
One of the easiest ways to make your employee feel right at home in their new environment is to help them build the crucial relationships that they'll be relying on each day. We mentioned above that it helps to introduce your new staff member to the people they'll be working with individually, but make sure that you encourage your existing employees to interact with the hire as much as possible too. If it helps, you can even start the onboarding process off with a group bonding session.
Remember encouraging interactions also goes beyond forging connections between employees and their new colleagues. It's also helpful to encourage your managers to engage with new hires as much as possible too. Studies show that the amount of supervisor support a new employee gets can have a direct impact on the feelings of job satisfaction that they have during their first two years in a role.
Ask managers and supervisors to do their part in rolling out the welcome mat by letting employees know what's expected of them, and how they can access extra support when they need it. You can even set up an end-of-week meeting between an employee and their immediate supervisor to assess how the hire is setting in during their first seven days.
Bring Structure to their Schedule
One of the most complicated aspects of starting a new job is figuring out how everything works in an environment you're unfamiliar with. Most new employees will need to adjust their work patterns and thought processes from their previous job, to fit with the demands of their new role. This can take some time, but structure can help to speed the process along.
Scheduling a new hire's first week can be a great way to make sure that they know exactly what they need to do from one day to the next. This helps them get into the swing of their new routine, and it also shows them that you've thought about their needs. Using a shared calendar, you can show your new hires what their tasks will be in their first week, how long those projects will take, and who they'll be working with. You can even provide them with maps around the office, or a guided tour, to show them where they're going to be going each day.
Even scheduling small tasks like "set up your new company email" can give your employees a sense of direction, so they feel more comfortable diving straight into their new environment. As employees become more comfortable in their new space, you can begin to make their schedule less rigid as you see fit.
Ask for Regular Feedback
Finally, if you want to make your onboarding process as successful as possible, why not simply ask your new hires what they need from you. HR experts can benefit astronomically from accessing insightful information about how employees feel and act during their first days with their company. After all, without the data available from honest feedback, it's hard to measure whether your onboarding program is a success or not.
A great way to improve your onboarding strategy with feedback is to merely survey your new employees after a week, a month, 6 months, and 12 months have passed. The more data you collect, the easier it will be for you to pinpoint the parts of your onboarding campaign that work and the areas that might need improvement. You can also look at other external information too, like employee productivity levels, and turnover rate for new hires.
One particularly useful question to ask during the initial survey you send your new candidate is "Why did you quit your last job?" The answer to this question could help you to put measures in place that convince your employee to stay with your company for longer.