Employee on-boarding - how to do it best to impress
23/05/2017 by Ean Brown Partners Limited
Part 9 of our blog article series: "Strategies for business success"
(and part 2 of 3 of our mini blog series on "How to build a great team")
So you've followed our tips for attracting exceptional talent? Great! You have invested time and resources into finding the best-fit applicant, and now they arrive at work, fresh-faced and bushy-tailed, ready to impress.
But are you also ready to impress them? An employee/employer relationship is a two-way street - have you given consideration to what their first impression of your company is when they arrive on day one?
Imagine this: you turn up to your new workplace at 9am -there is no-one assigned to greet you, there is no workstation, uniform and/ or safety gear organised, and everyone seems "too busy" to show you the ropes. You feel awkward and unwelcome because the vibe you are getting is that you are a nuisance that nobody wants to deal with.
Having a new recruit experience pangs of regret for accepting your job offer is obviously not the best way to start an employment relationship, so here are some ways you can ensure a smooth integration and, most importantly, retain that fresh enthusiasm your employee walked in with:
Warm Welcome's Work Wonders
Your new employee is likely to feel nervous and uncertain when they arrive. By letting the whole team know (particularly the receptionist or likely first point of contact) to expect the new candidate, it can immediately help make them feel welcome and included. Being greeted by first name with a warm handshake and generous smile will just serve to top it all off.
Paperwork first, but not on the first day
Yes, a lot of employment information will be required, and yes, it is tedious yet necessary. Instead of immediately sitting your new recruit down with a daunting pile of forms and contracts to read and complete, consider having these made available to them in advance of the start date. They can complete the paperwork in a leisurely and non-pressured environment, allowing them time to seek independent council if required, and deliver everything to you on day one.
If you intend utilising the option of a 90-day trial period, it is imperative the employee agrees to this by signing their employment agreement before they commence working. If an employee signs at any time after they have started work, the trial period becomes invalid – this includes signing at their first morning tea break!
Introductions and Inductions
Before they arrive, designate a team member to show them around the workplace. This person should ideally have great people skills and have a sunny disposition – no-one wants to be shown the ropes by 'negative Nigel' or 'disgruntled Dave'.
Some of the things that should be covered are:
Where they will be working
Where they can keep their bag and personal items
Where the facilities are (lunchroom, kitchen, toilets, storeroom, stationery room, etc)
Rules around break times, and where to find cups, coffee, milk, etc (even how the urn or hot water zip works, if it's not immediately obvious)
Introductions to other team members, where they predominantly work, and what they do (it is also helpful to point out the payroll and HR managers, the safety officer and their team leader)
If safety gear is a requirement, show them how and when these are to be used. For safety inductions it is advisable to have the induction procedure recorded, and the employee sign and date the document to acknowledge they have been briefed appropriately
Any other information that will be relevant and helpful (think back to what you were shown, or wish you'd been told, when you first started)
The new candidate will already have the required knowledge and/or experience you need (after all, that's why you selected them!) however they won't know your company or your internal procedures. It is great for a smooth transition, as well as for building team relationships, if you assign a buddy who your new staff member can "shadow" or work alongside for a few weeks. This will ensure that work quality is not be compromised during the training stage, and the buddy can oversee their progress until they can be left to work independently.
Ideally the buddy will be the same person who did the 'Introductions and Inductions', but if not, ensure a professional hand-over is exercised ("This is Sandy. She also does accounts payable and will show you the ropes for the next few weeks", not "that's it from me. Just go and pop your head into Sandy's office – she's the last one at the end of the hall").
Touch base – touch down?
Don't be afraid to put the question to your latest recruit: "how did we do?" After the initial 'settling in' period is over, touch base with your employee (by now not so new anymore) and find out if they have everything they need to do their job effectively, if they are experiencing any issues, and if there was anything they feel was not covered in their induction/ training process. Use their feedback to improve your process for the next intake.
Lastly, don't be too stubborn to accept newcomers' ideas for improvement. They were hired because you felt they had something good to offer your business, so by shutting them down when they suggest better ways of doing things, you are sending the signal that their ideas are not valued. The fresh eyes a new person brings to your business should be encouraged and celebrated!
Look out for part 3 next week: "Employee retention: How to create a culture of happiness" - why understanding your employees' motives helps keep them happy and engaged.