When you hire that perfect someone for a vacant role you feel a well-earned sense of victory. But getting someone to sign on the dotted line is only step one in the employee onboarding process.
Preparation for a new hire's first day comes days or even weeks beforehand. A solid onboarding process is key: it sets the tone for an employee's entire experience at your company. And while employee onboarding can vary across industries, there are some crucial steps that any company, including yours, can take to set new hires up for success.
Today, we're going to talk about the employee onboarding best practices you can use to make new hires feel supported from the moment they walk in the door. Our plan is divided into three key phases:
- Before the first day
- During the first 30 days
- Beyond onboarding
Employee Onboarding: Before the First Day
Most interview processes touch on the key aspects of the job or the overall company culture. But, most of the time they don't touch on some of the basics of working at the company.
If everyone shows up at 8:30 am or everyone typically stays until 6 pm, the new hire will want to know. If there isn't a cafeteria or quick option for lunch, the employee will need a heads up. If the job requires a uniform t-shirt, let the new hire know you'll provide one on their first day. This information may seem low-stakes, but providing your new hire with this background will prevent them from feeling out of place. Nobody wants to show up in a full suit while everyone else is in jeans.
Sending answers to common questions before an employee's first day will help them hit the ground running.
Set up their workstation
Starting a new job can be hectic: a new commute, a new schedule, a new role, and a new company. Having a workspace to call your own is a welcome sight on someone's first day. Make sure that happens.
If your new hire for a data entry job will need to practice using the company's systems, make sure they have a computer and login credentials ready to go. If your new hire's first day will be working at the university hockey game, make sure they have an assigned locker and a walkie-talkie. Even simple things, like bringing a coffee mug or a water bottle and having a place to set this down, can make your new hire feel comfortable right away, which sets the tone for a positive work experience.
By setting up your new hire's workstation for their first day, you can ensure that they have a home base. This will help them settle into their new role as quickly and comfortably as possible. Whether a desk, a locker, a truck, or a cash register, this workspace will give your new employee a place to feel settled as they juggle training and get the lay of the land.
Schedule team introductions, including managers meetings
Getting to know the team is an important step towards integrating your new hire. But, we all know that coordinating schedules can be a challenge, so this should be set up and ready to go before the employee starts working. Whether it's over lunch or in a conference room, a meeting with teammates in the same or similar positions is crucial for the first day.
New employees need to know who they'll work closely with moving forward. These folks will serve as valuable resources for basic questions that come up during training. A meeting with managers is also important, but it's best to keep this informal. Sitting down with three managers is less intimidating over coffee or during a walk than in a stuffy office or conference room.
Remember: the goal of these early meetings is to introduce the new hire to the rest of the team and start building this relationship so they are comfortable working together.
Employee Onboarding: The First 30 Days
Create a predictable schedule & share this with the employee
Your training process will depend on your company and the position you've just hired. Regardless of the specifics, creating a schedule and sharing this with your new hire for their first thirty days will help them establish a routine.
If they know they have team meetings on Thursdays, then they can plan to use this time to learn about the goals and duties of the team. If a mentor meeting is on their schedule every other day, they'll know when to save their less-urgent questions. Creating and sharing this schedule will help your new hire participate in their own training.
Allow time for job shadowing
Job shadowing can be a useful tool during training.
Yes, employee handbooks can outline workplace processes and training can guide a new hire through their tasks. But seeing experienced employees complete these tasks and work through problems as they arise will help new employees model their own work after seasoned vets.
Establish expectations through training
As your new hire masters their job tasks, make sure to also establish clear expectations.
If your new-hire cashier can't close the shop for another 6 months, there's no need to go over these duties in the first month on the job. Having clearly outlined expectations and responsibilities will help employees move on to more advanced tasks over time. Once they have learned how to work the cash register they can be trained on how to check inventory on their own. After 6 months they can be trained on closing the shop when they have proven themselves to be ready for more advanced responsibilities.
Employee Onboarding: Beyond Onboarding
Maintain mentor relationships
Mentoring plays a key role during job training, but maintaining this relationship after onboarding is equally important.
A mentor can provide guidance in job growth, advice for challenges in the office, and help with additional training as needed. This relationship can be so useful even after onboarding officially ends. Encourage your employees to maintain their mentor-mentee relationships by suggesting regular check-ins.
Encourage employees to reflect
Your recently-trained new hires are valuable resources: they have just successfully gone through the onboarding process. As they're settling into their new role and grow comfortable with their job duties, arrange a time for them to reflect on the onboarding process and offer constructive feedback.
This can be an anonymous survey, a meeting with human resources, or report for the hiring manager- whatever works best for your company. Just be sure to set up the time and take this useful feedback into consideration while you prepare to onboard your next new hires.
As you can see, well-defined onboarding and training are key to your employees' immediate success. For more tips on how to manage and schedule your team, check out the SubItUp blog.