In my previous article, I shared the importance of a high-quality on-boarding program. When a company risks 20% turnover within the first 90 days of employment, successful on-boarding is not just a nicety; it is a necessity!
Day One is a make or break day for an employee. It has the possibility of casting an exciting future, or it can dampen the excitement most people bring to a new job. Leveraging an employee’s first day excitement is essential to both long-term retention and high productivity.
Day One: Create a Positive Experience
1. Focus on Meeting People and Not Just Completing Paperwork on the First Day
Yes, paperwork must be done. However, it can stifle the first-day experience and leave the new hire bored and less than enthusiastic. I recommend setting aside time to do paperwork and answer related questions. Completing these upfront saves long-term confusion and the sense of never-ending paperwork. However, the focus should be on meeting people, building relationships, and learning who to go to for what. Too many employers drop a huge amount of paperwork and voice a large amount of information to new hires. Little of this is retained. Wouldn’t it be better to introduce who to go to with technology issues as opposed to talking about a bunch of processes and troubleshooting procedures? The same can be said about payroll, benefits, and basic processes. If they know the people, they can learn the information.
2. Give Gifts with Meaning (branded gifts)
Everyone loves a gift! When a new hire arrives at their workstation, nothing says “welcome to the team” like a branded gift or two. This is powerful from a number of fronts. First, it draws another connection between the new hire and the organization. Second, it provides free advertising. A new hire, who proudly wears a logoed shirt, spreads the name and brand of that company. It’s a win-win for the new hire and the organization.
3. Connect the New Hire with the Company’s Core Ideology (Mission, Vision, Values)
Organizations with a strong core ideology use this as a competitive advantage. When an employee has a deep connection with a company, s/he is much more likely to stay and be a highly productive contributor. Organizations can begin this process very early in a new hire’s career by finding ways to connect them to the core ideology. New hires should meet key employees (not simply based upon title), who embody what it means to work at a given organization. Have these people take a new hire out to lunch and help the person understand the “heartbeat” of the company and why the person loves working there. Connecting a new hire to the company’s core ideology increases the likelihood that the employee will find a sense of belonging and recognize that their contributions make a significant impact.
4. Complete New Hire Paperwork and Answer Questions
Few people enjoy new hire paperwork. As an HR Manager, I do not enjoy processing it, but it is necessary. It is essential to provide a time where new hires can ask questions and complete paperwork. When paperwork is not completed early in the new hire’s tenure, the chances of missing legal deadlines (e.g.—I9), failing to enroll in key benefits (e.g.—health insurance, 401k), and general misunderstandings will arise. New hire enthusiasm is quickly doused by not understanding what needs to be done and what benefits they have. Prolonging paperwork weeks and months into a new job is frustrating. Minimize such frustrations by having a time and a resource (typically an HR representative) to complete new hire paperwork early in the new hire process.
5. Anticipate Questions/Problems and Proactively Address Them (IT, Payroll, Benefits)
As long as technology, pay, and benefits exist, there will be questions and issues. Many of these questions and issues are easily anticipated. It is likely that a new hire will wonder when s/he is going to be paid. It is likely that a new hire will want to know when benefits start. It is likely that a new hire’s computer will not completely work. Since these are known probabilities, managers and HR professionals should anticipate them. There should be time set aside to review commonly asked questions and probable issues. It is wise to connect new hires with key people, who can resolve pay, benefit, and IT issues.
6. Assign a Buddy
New hires have a manager, but it is important that they have someone to go to, who can field questions and provide advice. A manager can be intimidating, so it is helpful to have a non-threatening person looking out for the well-being of a new hire. The buddy plays a vital role in helping assess the pulse of how the new hire is doing as well as someone, who can help maneuver through the various confusions of being new.
As you are continuing to make a positive impression upon your new hire, keep the momentum going! Do not stop the on-boarding process! This process must continue throughout the employee’s first year to ensure their long-term success. Please be on the lookout for Part 3 in this three-part series.
Check out the other blog's in this series: