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Onboarding new hires

What Should “Week One” Look Like When Onboarding New Hires?

Once you’ve made a new hire, you may feel like the hard part is done. You’ve gone through the recruiting process, interviewed and vetted job candidates, and have carefully decided on who would make the best fit for your company. 

Making a great hire, however, is only the beginning of successfully incorporating new talent into your company. Next, you need to take steps to create a smooth, effective onboarding process – helping both you and your new employee to succeed at this brand-new partnership. 

Why Onboarding is So Important

A comprehensive onboarding process will sufficiently prepare your new hire for the job and immediately integrate them into your company culture. Ultimately, onboarding that achieves these two objectives well results in employees who stay longer, work more productively, and have far higher levels of job satisfaction. They’re less likely to make errors, require less costly supervision, and perhaps, most importantly, they understand the mission and vision of your team. 

When a new hire is onboarded in a way that helps them to be efficient and satisfied, the team benefits from working with a colleague that’s contributing to – not detracting from – their overall success. Click To Tweet

That being said, successful onboarding is unfortunately more elusive than it should be. The stats say it all: 

Effective onboarding, then, needs to be considered carefully and strategically to ensure best outcomes for both the new hire and your company.

Free Download: A “Day One” Template

Successful Onboarding: The Basics

The basics of effective onboarding involve sufficiently preparing the new hire so that they can hit the ground running.

Here are a few key aspects of preparation that you’ll want to consider:

Prepare a workspace. 

Make sure the new hire’s desk is clean and organized so that you can help them get off on the right foot – organized and efficient. You may even want to provide “company swag,” such as a t-shirt, coffee mug, or other materials you might distribute at your business. In any case, do whatever is necessary to make them feel welcomed, and like they have a clean space where they can do their job well. 

Onboarding new hires

Set up all accounts and provide necessary technology. 

Create any necessary email and software accounts, along with clearly provided login names and passwords, before your new hire begins work. You should also make sure that the new hire has all necessary technological assets, potentially including a laptop and cell phone. 

In any case, you don’t want to spend the first day managing admin – that would be a waste of otherwise valuable and expensive time. 

Provide them with necessary contacts. 

Provide new hires with the knowledge they need to communicate efficiently with team members from the get-go. Depending on the size of your company, this information may be provided in a directory with details, or verbally. In any case, you’ll want your new hire to immediately get a sense for who does what – and how different team roles are relevant to their own. 

Establishing the basics of successful onboarding is critical – but it’s only the beginning of ensuring the new hire is successful. 

Successful Onboarding: Next Steps

In this section, we’ll take a look at how you can help the new hire to feel welcomed and supported, how to increase excitement about your company and the position, and most importantly, how to build a sense of purpose and mission.

Communicate mission & vision.

Having necessary resources and tools is certainly key, but perhaps the most important aspect of preparing for a new position at a company is understanding its mission and vision of both the company and their own role. When new hires understand “the why”, they get a larger-picture sense for their own role and responsibility, and are able to effectively execute their responsibilities and navigate when challenges come. 

Make every effort to immediately communicate mission and vision to your new hires. You may want to hold a kick-off luncheon where you explain the history of the company, the larger mission, and your core values. Communicate these verbally and visually, and give the new hire a sense of how they play a critical key role in the big-picture story of your business. This can help them visualize and get excited, and set them for a productivity- and innovation-focused mindset. 

Welcome them onto your team.

New hires shouldn’t just be introduced to your team; they should feel like they are a part of your team. Hosting a luncheon for the new hire will help, but you’ll also want to be strategic about discussing team communication and interaction. For example, how does your team best communicate with one another? Are there any pet peeves? Educating your new team member on the idiosyncrasies of your company upfront can help them feel like a well-integrated team player much more quickly. 

Help them set goals. 

Finally, hold a meeting where you can help your new hire set goals – both long- and short-term. Depending on the role, this may involve goals like finishing specific projects, establishing new client relationships, or innovating a new system to be used internally in your company. Or, they may have a goal of learning a new skill. 

As you consider the goals with your new hire, create at least one goal that will give the opportunity for the new hire to experience a “quick win”–something that’s quickly achievable so that they can gain an immediate sense of momentum. 

In any case, this extra step can help give new hires immediate purpose – and give you an additional opportunity to communicate your expectations and measures of success.

Onboarding new hires

Setting Up New Hires for Long-Term Success

Ultimately, the most critical piece of the process of onboarding is what your new hire actually does during their first week at the job. 

If you throw your new hire into the deep end without sufficient tools and training, they’re going to feel frustrated and inadequate – and may make costly mistakes in the process. Likewise, if you simply teach your hire theory without giving them an opportunity to test their skills and receive feedback, they may learn to underperform. 

The best way to set up your new hires for long-term success is to create a simulated job experience for their first week, where they are able to safely test required job skills without the risk of committing errors. This may involve creating mock client accounts or projects, and involving other team members. The ultimate goal is to allow them to do all parts of their new job without negatively impacting current accounts or workflows – similar to a job simulation you may have created for the hiring process, but longer and more in-depth. 

The goal with this short-term experience is to equip and train new hires well to succeed in the long-term – giving them the feedback and testing ground they need to learn and grow quickly.

Don’t forget: A “Day One” Template

Final Thoughts on Onboarding 

Onboarding will look different for every company and team, but the primary aim of onboarding is to create a consistent process that sets up new hires for success. A strategic, methodical approach to integrating new hires onto your team will ultimately pay off for your business in the form of increased productivity, retention, innovation, and job satisfaction. If you’d like to learn more about best practices for hiring, training, and onboarding new team members, click here for Scalability Solution’s blog.

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