An employee’s first day can be stressful for everyone. When there are people’s livelihoods at stake, it’s difficult to see how it could be any different.
For incoming employees, there is the fear of new environments, of making an impact and of how their new employer will live up to how they described themselves in the interview. For employers, the fear stems from risk management, integrating a new employee with existing staff and the cost to get everybody up to speed. But an excellent onboarding experience, like that of Warby Parker’s, is an affordable and proven way to reap the maximum lifetime value from an employee.
Taking onboarding seriously and investing in the future of an employee is something that I have come to embrace over the past half-decade in business. The following advice comes from the successes and failures that we have had at Jelly Digital Marketing and PR.
Onboarding Begins Before Your Candidate’s First Day
Onboarding doesn’t start on day one. It doesn’t even start when you send out the job offer. It begins during the initial screening process. It’s easy to tell you that you need to find the right “fit” for your business. But applying the theory behind the right fit can prove too tricky.
It’s a common understanding that the interview process is tiresome, nerve-wracking and, at times, cumbersome for interviewees. The interview process can be made easy, however, by having a transparent process, by being punctual with responses and by keeping to promises. So, if the follow-up time is set for one week, follow up in one week. This allows the prospective employee to know where they are at in the process, whether they are under consideration and whether they can trust your company. Failing to do this can lead to the right candidate moving on to other interviews, or worse, accepting a job offer elsewhere.
Below are a few more tips to help optimize your employee onboarding experience and, thereby, boost employee engagement.
Prior To Arrival
Before your new employee’s first day, provide access to the tools that they will use on a daily basis and recommend that the new hire become familiarized with them. Send over a welcome document to give insight into your corporate culture. Let them know who they should report to and what time they should arrive, and give a brief overview of the first day. Contact them weekly, prior to their first day, to answer any questions they might have.
In my experience, these small steps are not only crucial to calm the nerves of the newcomer but they also boost the new employee’s confidence tenfold.
The First Day
Provide a warm welcome on your new hire’s first day. At Jelly Digital Marketing and PR, for example, we have a personalized welcome sign as well as somebody ready to meet the new hire at the door.
Provide a schedule for the first week that the new hire can follow, and give them a welcome kit. For my company, this is a handwritten letter and gift cards to local coffee shops to allow the new hire to get to know the local community. This little touch lets the new employee know that they are appreciated and that we are willing to invest in them.
The First Week
Allow the new hire to meet with the executives in the company during their first week and schedule a team lunch. Touch base with an end-of-the-week meeting to answer any questions, and ask for feedback on the interview process.
Encourage new hires to explore the local area. Afterall, they are going to be spending a lot of time here, so we want them to know their favorite spots in town while also knowing who they can turn to if and when they need it.
The First Month
During the first month, explain the company’s core values and ask how they apply to the new hire’s role. Give feedback on how the employee is performing. Offer three areas of improvement and three areas of success. But also request feedback on improvements that could be made to in-house processes.
This feedback allows you to know where you are living up to your core values and areas where you might be slipping. It also gives you an accurate pulse on the employee’s happiness and as to whether you need to start to look for a replacement.
Finally, schedule monthly get-togethers and religiously keep to them.
The First Year
Before the end of your new hire’s first year, schedule an annual review. Walk through the feedback given from the first month with the employee, and ensure that you’ve implemented what you could from your employee’s feedback. Build a career plan with the employee with milestones so that they can see themselves with your company for the long haul and recognize what it will take on all sides to make that happen.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of money or hard work to onboard a new employee successfully. But, failing to put these simple steps into practice could lead to a make-or-break situation for your company.