We all know that first impressions are important. Research shows that one in six employees eventually quit or strongly consider quitting because of a company's poor onboarding process. During the onboarding process, “socialization and acculturation” are of utmost importance. It turns out, free food and freebies? Not so much. New hires desire an onboarding process that makes them feel wanted and confident in their new workplace.
These days, the first day is about much more than just paperwork. It's important that your new hire feels welcomed. To do so, be sure to delay their start by an hour or two, after your staff has made it into the office and settled into their day. You do not want them to show up while you're putting out fires from the previous afternoon, or during a meeting, or worse - to a dark and empty office. They will be left feeling awkward, out of place, and maybe even unwanted. Having a “welcome committee” ready to greet and guide your new hire throughout their day will ease their anxiety and will help them ease into their first day.
You will want to keep the first day light and positive. As eager as you will be to get the ball rolling, it's important not to overwhelm your new hire. Remember that the onboarding process is a stressful time for them as well.
Be clear about your company's standards and expectations from the start. Make sure the new hire knows how they will be evaluated on their performance over the course of their career with your company. Clear time in your schedule for your new hire's to sit down and discuss the role you want them to take on in your company and answer any questions they may have for you. This will encourage your new hire to work towards these goals from the start and keep them on the same page as management.
It's also important for your new hire to get a feel for the culture within your office. Maybe your company is laid back? It's okay to let the new hire onto your casual ways and you can do so by choosing a "welcome committee" that portrays these values and your standards at the same time.
Studies have shown that the first 90 days of employment are key to an employee's long-term success, so you will want your onboarding process to continue throughout this time. One way to do this would be to provide your new hire with a mentor, someone they can go to for questions, someone who will help guide them. When deciding on a mentor, try to match your new hire up with someone with similar traits and interests. Questions, concerns, and tricky situations are sure to come up beyond the first day and week. Having a mentor to go to during this time will help your new hire and relieve them of the stress and pressure of finding the right employee for these issues.
Sending your new hire into other departments to get to know different employees and processes throughout the first few weeks is another way to create lasting success. This will encourage cross-team communication and allow your new hire to get a better understanding of how your company functions as a whole.
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