Hiring a new employee should be exciting, not stressful! As new hires begin stepping into a brand new world where they want to do well, it can be very difficult to fit in. What’s worse is not knowing answers to key questions, requirements, and steps. Fitting into company culture is hard enough, but in situations where a new hire is unsure what steps to take to do their job right, it’s even more frustrating. Without a proper onboarding process, new hires may not be properly prepared for their first day. Without creating a well-thought-out and easy-to-follow onboarding process, you could be setting a new hire up for failure.
Streamlining the onboarding process is good for both the employer and the employee. It gives new employees the tools and resources they need to do their best, ensuring the investment in that person is well worth it. At the same time, streamlining the onboarding process minimizes the need for too much time being spent on the process.
So, how do you streamline this process to get the best of both worlds?
Start Off Strong
To get started, plan for the onboarding well in advance, ensuring there is a specific process to be followed. Prior to the first day, send a welcome letter to the new hire. Provide that person with an itinerary that allows them to review what’s going to happen and what to expect. It also gives them a chance to ask questions early on. Ensure every question is answered in a timely manner, allowing their onboarding experience to go as smoothly as possible. That creates the right first impression and ensures the relationship begins in a positive way.
It’s also important to ensure all new employee documents are completed before that first day of work. Ensure your welcome letter makes it clear what steps the employee needs to take to get these documents completed. This includes providing copies of the employee handbook, company procedures, any contractual agreements that require signatures, and any other new hire documentation. Ensure all of this information is provided to the employee before he or she is set to begin working.
This part of the onboarding process can eliminate concerns around not only what needs to be signed but also about the contents of the employee handbook. It gives them time to review information so they can use that information when the time comes. A new hire onboarding process that allows for early organization and review ensures the best overall results.
This creates open spaces for the new employee to ask questions that you, as the onboarding manager, may have not thought about or planned for. Create an opportunity for people to come together with those questions, whether that is in a quick call or an in-person meeting. You want to encourage questions as this minimizes the risk for confusion and costly mistakes later.
In addition to planning ahead and sending a welcome letter, provide a solid way forward for other team members who are involved in the process. For example, planning ahead and sending necessary documents allows for HR to review all documents to ensure proper signatures are in place, everything is dated, and information is clearly organized. It creates an opportunity for the employer to ensure training will be streamlined, too. This type of efficient onboarding minimizes risks but also improves overall operations. It ensures everything that needs to be done to prepare for the start of the employee is taken care of fully before their first day.
Make it a Team Effort
It’s not just about adding a new team member. It is about ensuring that an individual fits within the operations of the company itself. One way to ensure the new hire feels right at home is to make sure that those who will work alongside the new hire are ready to play a valuable role in the process.
Start with getting the team members who will work most often with the new hire information about what to expect. It may mean communicating the job and tasks the new hire will be responsible for and how he or she will fit within the department of the organization. A new employee needs to feel at home, and when the existing team is ready to welcome them in, everything goes better for all involved.
This helps to foster good colleague relationships early on. Building that sense of belonging helps in many ways. It allows employees to ask questions to colleagues about the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities they will have. When you foster opportunities for open communication from day one of new employee training, everyone feels more comfortable. That is important for helping individuals to feel as though they can ask questions without feeling judged or as if they are intruding. It may also help team members build a new-found level of trust in the new hire, too.
When you include everyone within the group in the process, it helps the new hire meet the entire team. They know someone. They get to know what the company’s culture is. They do not have to be the person to sit alone during lunch – or the person who avoids asking questions for fear of someone thinking they are clueless or uninformed. Meeting the entire team helps the process go smoothly and gives the new hire confidence that they can rely on their team members. That means more smiles and fewer risks of conflict developing early on.
When you have an employee onboarding, and you make it a team effort to bring on the new employee, you create a number of benefits. That includes building opportunities for team collaboration. You build opportunities for improved communication. This is important on that first day but think about things down the road, too. For example, when a new employee has a good connection with existing employees, they become part of the group faster. They are able to communicate more effectively with each other now and later on. The comfort created from these introductions can ease potential disagreements in the future.
The bottom line - Bringing the team into the streamlined onboarding process helps everyone get to know each other, know what’s going on, and understand what their role is in the process.
Be Open to Communication
A lot of what we have mentioned here focuses on this – improving communication for the new hire while they are training and beyond. There are several key components of this process that must be considered:
- Set up meetings and check-in with the new hire on a routine basis. Be sure they know when you plan to hold a check-in like this.
- Create opportunities and specific steps for individuals to take to express their concerns. If they have a problem, they need to know where to go to get help. Big or small, you want to provide an easy way for them to consistently know how and where to get the help they need.
- Create opportunities to discuss pain points. There are often situations that arise and, with proper communication, it is possible to work through those situations quickly. Point out the specific time when you will communicate with the new employee about how things are going from your standpoint.
It is also important to be clear about performance expectations and goals. This should not be something that the individual learns about 90 days in. You want them to know what is expected of them early on. That way, they know that they are working to meet these goals, and if not, they may need to make changes to improve. You also want to minimize any blurred lines in communication – don’t assume people know things and never put them in a place of having rules overlooked “just this one time.” Instead, ensure communication is clear from start to finish.
Be honest with employees about their responsibilities and duties. There is no benefit to a lack of information being shared early on. In fact, when this happens, it is often the case that the employee burns out or becomes frustrated, leading to them not feeling respected or able to do their job successfully, no matter how much they want to succeed in this position. Be honest upfront to eliminate these risks. It can make a big difference in the new employee training and their long-term results.
The ultimate goal of streamlined onboarding is to avoid confusion and to increase communications. It is also important to maintain an open conversation about the new employee and their role in their position and business as a whole.
How Can We Help You?
Take a few minutes to consider where your onboarding process stands right now. It’s not always easy to know what steps to take to improve the onboarding process or to create a better, more efficient process for bringing in new employees.
At PeopleSuite, we work with a variety of companies from various industries to secure valuable candidates. As we work to find top talent for our clients, we aim to provide the expertise that creates a better experience for both the company and the new hire during the onboarding process and beyond.