It’s a great feeling, finding the perfect candidate to fill your role. You can see a great future for them at your company. A long term future. But if you get the onboarding process wrong, you will send your ideal candidate home after their first day questioning if they have made the right decision in joining your company. Recruiting for the same role shortly after filling the position is very frustrating. So invest in your onbaording experience and your new employee will invest in you. Long term.

Let’s make one thing clear, the onboarding process begins before your new recruit commences their first day on the job. To demonstrate to your new recruit that they are supported, there are a few simple tasks that should be completed prior to their arrival that will have a huge impact on making a great first impression:

  • Ensure their workspace is fully prepared; supplies, computer, telephone and phone list, organisational chart, welcome gift, employee handbook, business cards etc – an empty desk space will make them feel undervalued;
  • Ensure their log-in and password is available along with ID cards and keys – yep, you’re a part of the team!;
  • Populate their contact list with key connections and their calendar with regular meetings – set a clear working agenda;
  • Have a personalised welcome letter awaiting them and ensure their first email is one they have been cc’d in on, showing them they have been welcomed to the team – they are not an outsider, they are a part of your company’s future;
  • Have a schedule of meet and greets with managers and team members to occur over their first week – help them to learn who’s who and the role they play;
  • If a company uniform is required, schedule them for a fitting – when you look like you belong, you feel like you belong.

Fairly basic and common sense stuff, huh? I’ll bet many of you are failing to cover these basics though. Even before your new recruit steps into your foreign world filled with strange faces you can make contact and begin the familiarisation phase. Forward the standard set of paperwork to collect ahead of time your new recruits personal, banking and superannuation details, provide tax forms and a copy of their position description. A prime opportunity to make them feel welcome, you may also ask them to share some fun facts about themselves, their hobbies, favourite foods and where they grew up. Knowing what your new recruit enjoys can prove handy during the orientation phase in week one…hint; if they love pasta, send them to lunch with the team to a local pasta restaurant during their first week. It is a great opportunity to bond in an environment they are comfortable within.

With your pre-employment checklist ticked off, you can now focus on acclimatising your new recruit to the business, their colleagues and their role. Day one begins with a warm greeting, accompanying them to their workspace and a workplace tour – including additional worksites if applicable. Now, don’t be lazy and engage in a generic, “Hey everyone, this is Sally and she will be joining us as our new sales person.” Argh. Heads will spin and take a curious look before quickly reverting back to the task they were focused upon moments beforehand. No, your introductions need to be personal and include a spiel about Sally. ‘Hey Mike, this is Sally, our new sales woman. Sally has an impressive track record in business development, growing loyal customer bases and identifying niche product markets.” Sally instantly feels valued with her unique skill set and achievements recognised and Mike now knows who to turn to when he wants to explore a potential new opportunity. You may assign a mentor to introduce them to the team and beyond, helping them to become familiar more quickly with the inner company workings.

If day one was a success, your new recruit will be confident in their choice to join your team and eager to return for day two. It’s a great idea to organise your new hire to have lunch with different groups within the organisation during their first week. Avoid the naysayer’s though. If you’re an intuitive manager you will reserve the last day of the working week for a luncheon alone with your new recruit. This will allow the opportunity to assess how they have settled in. Each new recruit will acclimatise and engage at a different rate, but should nevertheless begin to be demonstrating they are invested in the company’s culture and principles and feel like they are a valued member of the team. A clear and comprehensive training program from the outset to assist them to learn the functions of their new role will go some way achieving this.

Onboarding a new recruit should continue well into their initial months, with regular meetings at key intervals to ensure they are receiving the support they need and validate that the company is invested in their success. Done well, you can slow the revolving recruitment cycle considerably. It is also important to understand their onboarding process so that you can make further improvements for future recruits. Imperative to the onboarding experience is to fast track a recruit’s integration without overwhelming them. With a lot to learn about processes and the inner workings of the company, there is also a new role to adjust to. It’s a lot to adapt to and regular check-in’s will verify if you are doing it well.

Starting a new job is never easy and an experience beset with nerves. Setting the tone early you can help your new recruit to feel comfortable and welcomed, transitioning into the company culture and working environment at a more rapid pace. Involving the team in the onboarding process additionally allows for a faster assimilation. Yet the process must be recognised as one always under development and where cultural norm is for all to embrace the importance of a great welcoming experience that endures.

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