You’ve just hired a new employee. They’re smart, talented, hardworking, and one of the best at what they do. They seem ready to jump into their new job with both feet. But are they? As much as they know about the position, what they don’t know about is your company culture: the nuances of how things work at your company, and how your employees act and interact. In order to get them familiar with these things as quickly and smoothly as possible, you need to put them through an onboarding process. Here are seven tips for doing that.
1. Start as Early as Possible. The sooner you start getting your new hire acclimated to their surroundings, the sooner they’ll be able to reach their full potential at your company. If you start the day they begin the job, there will be a transitional period while they get used to things, and a learning curve in terms of productivity. If you have a training period before they begin, you can ensure that they have all the information they need, or at least much of it, right from the start. Even more efficient, though, is to begin onboarding during the interview process. Have one of the interviewers be not a superior, but a peer, someone they’ll be working alongside, who can show them firsthand a typical day at your company, and gauge how well they interact with their potential coworkers.
2. Get Set Up Beforehand. What will your new employee need when starting their job? A desk with a computer? A phone, with direct extension? Company e-mail address? Account or user profile for any software platform you may use? Employee ID? Make a list in advance of everything you’ll need to provide them, and have it all ready to go the minute they walk through the door on Day 1. If they show up and then spend their first several hours waiting for you to put them in the system, walk them through a complicated setup process, or even give them a desk to work at, then that’s several hours of lost productivity.
3. Create a Jargon Dictionary. Any company has its industry-specific terms, particularly acronyms. Some of them are basic things that anyone should know, like CRM or ERP. But others may be specific to your company, and even though you’re used to them, they can be intimidating for a new hire, especially if you throw them at them all at once. To make things easier, compile a basic dictionary of jargon that they’re likely to encounter at your company, including what each acronym stands for, as well as any slang terms or in jokes that your other employees may use. You can print a copy for them, but even more helpful would be e-mailing them a copy of the file, or putting it on their desktop. This way, they have an easy reference at their fingertips for anything they may otherwise have trouble understanding.
4. Make It a Two-Way Conversation. You know how things are done in your company. You’ve worked there for years, so to you, this is all old hat. Therefore, there are plenty of things you likely take for granted. So without even meaning to, you’ll gloss over these aspects of company culture. The new hire is confused about what you just said, but you’ve already moved on to the next thing. So rather than just telling them how things work at your company, engage them in dialogue. Encourage questions. Ask them if there’s anything they need clarification on, or that you can explain better. You might even ask them to explain certain steps or processes back to you, to make sure they’ve got it. Be patient and don’t rush things. Taking the extra time now to ensure they’ve got it down now, will make them more efficient and productive in the long run.
5. Personalize It. Not every employee is the same, and not all of them learn or acclimate in the same way. If you have a standard, cookie cutter methodology for onboarding, you’ll have trouble making it work for everyone. Have a basic list of things each new hire needs to know, but personalize the process for each employee. Start with someone the new employee already met in your company (e.g. during the interview process), to make the transition smoother. Have the trainer/interviewer build on what they know about the employee in order to relate to them more effectively. For instance, is your new hire outgoing and gregarious, or shy and introverted? This should influence how you relate to them as you acclimate them to your company culture.
6. Assign Them a Mentor. Onboarding is more than just a basic training program that an employee can complete on their first morning, and then be ready to go. That may be enough to get them started, but really helping them find their place in the company and thrive there can take time. Therefore, once the basic training is over, assign them a mentor who can help them as they go along: someone who’s been with your company a long time and can answer questions, provide guidance, and help them reach their full potential.
7. Help Them Get to Know People. Onboarding is about more than just how your employee can do their job effectively. It’s about making them part of the team. Of course, during the basic training process, there’s little you can do on that front beyond a basic introduction to other employees during a brief tour of the office. However, if you implement regular activities that the entire office can participate in together, it will go a long way towards helping employees to bond with one another, as well as raising morale. Have a monthly lunch potluck, wherein everyone brings a dish to share. Start an office-wide game, such as a fantasy football league, or pickup basketball team. Encourage new hires to take part in these activities, in order to get to know the people they’ll be working with.
Onboarding is an ongoing process. A basic, one-day training program can help your employees understand the basics of your company and their place in it, but fully integrating them into your team takes time and special care. If you really make the effort to get your employees fully onboarded into your company over time, you’ll increase productivity, reduce employee turnover, and create a great team that will serve your company well.
Technology can be a valuable tool in onboarding strategies and achieving your goals with respect to new employees. Paypro offers a comprehensive suite of workforce management solutions that give you the accurate, real-time information you need to make informed decisions. Please contact us with questions – we are here to help simplify your workforce management!