Onboarding is more than a series of practical trainings.
The first steps after landing a job can set the stage for an employee’s experience at their new workplace. This experience, often referred to as ‘onboarding,’ entails the orientation and logistics of the position, along with any other details that the employer thinks will make the employee feel prepared and welcomed. What’s more is that successful employee onboarding benefits the company as well, in that it addresses any issues early on and can facilitate a positive relationship and employee retention.
- Start early
Don’t leave the onboarding process until the employee’s first day. Instead, set aside some time to develop an agenda for the employee’s first week. Email it to them along with an employee handbook and any other resources they may need upfront. This is also a good time to let relevant colleagues know that the new hire will be starting soon, and what to expect with regards to collaborative efforts.
- Don’t make assumptions
Some of the finer details of a new job can slip through the cracks if you don’t address them head-on. Items like meeting etiquette, phone procedures and business hours are areas that the employer often assumes the new hire knows how to navigate. Even if an employee does know how to navigate these waters, there may be nuances that are unique to a company, which cannot be presumed.
- Build on expectations
Rather than unloading all of the tasks and expectations of the job at the start, ease into it gradually over the course of a few months. Allow your new employee time to master each task and integrate it into their workflow before introducing new goals. This will also help your employee remember procedures with more accuracy.
- Include remote workers
Employees who work from home may be left out of the onboarding process simply because they don’t have a physical presence. But with all the technology available to us today, there are workarounds to accommodate these employees. You can schedule face-to-face meetings via Zoom or invite them to the staff Facebook page. Each little bit goes a long way in making them feel welcome to the team.
- Offer feedback
If you notice that your new employee has performed exceptionally well or has made some missteps, offer feedback to let them know how things are going. Otherwise, you may waste time in accommodating corrections when wrong turns do occur. Your employee will also appreciate feedback to help better their skills, which is critical to employee satisfaction and therefore employee retention.
- Make time for security
No matter the role of the new employee, there will always be some level of security in place that they will act as gatekeeper to. This could be locking up at the end of the day, using common sense to detect spam emails, or using discretion to avoid a social engineering hack. Make sure that your employee is trained on security best practices early on.
- Introduce the culture
While you may have discussed your particular brand of workplace culture during the interview stage, now is a good time to introduce it more personally. Clue the new hire in to the social happenings like happy hours and how birthdays are celebrated in the office.
If your new employee seems to be off on a rocky start despite a successful onboarding, be patient. Even the most seasoned employees will still undergo a bit of a learning curve at the beginning. The best that you can do as an employer is to give them the resources they need to succeed and be there to answer questions along the way. By the end of their first quarter, you should notice that they’ve gained their footing.
Layla Fenston is a writer behind eVoice Australia – a premier provider of virtual telecommunications solutions in Australia. Passionate about helping others achieve success in their careers, Layla regularly writes about small business and entrepreneurship.