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Best Practices for a Successful Onboarding Process

August 2017- By Tiffany Ellington, Sr. Training & Onboarding Specialist

Have you ever heard the expression: “It’s the little things that count?” This saying is 100% true when it comes to successfully onboarding a new employee/contractor. As a manager, you want to make sure a new hire’s first impressions are positive, and he’s excited to begin his new career/contract. We often look at onboarding in three phases: 1) planning for the new employee/contractor, 2) their first day, and 3) ongoing communication, support, and acclimation.

1. Planning

This first step is often overlooked and forgotten, but we see it as the most important to ensure a smooth transition from an accepted offer to starting a new employee. As a manager, you first will want to:

  1. Let your team know of the new employee, when he will be starting, what role he will fill and potentially why you’re excited to have him join the team.
  2. Ensure all the supplies/equipment the new hire will need are ordered.
  3. Ensure they have a clean, organized, and set up work station, which gives them the impression that the team was prepar
  4. Develop a training plan or agenda that will help the new hire get up to speed as quickly as possible with the position (Do I need to schedule shadowing for the new hire with other team members? Does the new hire need a specific mentor assigned to them to ask questions throughout the day? Do any programs or software keys need to be located for the new hire to download?).ed and ready for the new hire’s first day.

Remembering these little things and doing the pre work will help guarantee that successful first impression, help ease first day anxieties, and help other team members better welcome and orient their new peer. In addition, anything you can help communicate to your staffing partner to best help prepare the candidate is always much appreciated.

2. First Day

A quality first day drastically shapes their impression of you as the manager, the team/culture, and the company! It also helps set the tone for the new hire’s first couple months. Here are some recommended best practices for a positive and productive first day:

  1. Someone should always greet the new hire on their first day and show them to their work station. This can be the manager or a team member, but bottom line, it needs to be done so the new hire feels welcome and isn’t starting their day confused, frustrated or forgotten about.
  2. The new hire should then be given a tour of the facility and shown the breakroom, restrooms, and any other important locations, such as a conference room. Make sure to point out if there is anything unique about your building such as parking, training rooms, patio areas, or a fitness facility.
  3. Introduce the new hire to all their fellow team mates and any other departments that sit in the building that they’ll be engaging with on a regular basis.
  4. Review policies, expectations, and the training plan/agenda you’ve created.

As an additional best practice, try and do one extra welcome measure during the first day or week, such as taking the new hire out to coffee, breakfast, or lunch to further get to know them, demonstrate your excitement to have them on the team, and give them the opportunity to ask you questions or pose concerns. Keeping in mind that most new employees/contractors have questions around their exact priorities, expectations, success criteria, and/or how they’ll be contributing to “the big picture” of the company’s goals, it would be time well spent to invest a couple minutes re-highlighting during this meeting!

3. Ongoing Communication

Throughout the first week, the manager should have check-in meetings with the new Inquire about and address questions. hire to make sure they are picking up on new information, meeting who they need to meet and don’t have any questions. If the new hire doesn’t have any questions, make sure you as the manager have topics to discuss/review. As a new employee/contractor, the new hire might not know where to even start to begin to ask questions. This will help open the lines of communication and build an employee/manager relationship.

Assessing the Onboarding Process

After your employee has worked roughly four to six weeks with the company, it is important to gather feedback to assess your onboarding process. We recommend sending out an anonymous survey and encouraging new hires to participate. On the survey, ask questions about the mentor program, effectiveness of the training tools/content delivered, and a rating of the overall experience. This is a great way to continue to grow, develop, and build on your orientation process.

Since the employee is giving your company and process feedback, it is only appropriate that you, as the manager, do the same with the new employee/contractor. It is human nature to want feedback and validation on your performance. The manager should highlight strengths and any areas of improvement they have observed during this initial onboarding process. From there we suggest scheduling regular performance cadence check-ins on the overall delivery of your employee’s performance.

Example Obnboarding Checklist

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