Recruiting and hiring is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s job market with unemployment being so low. So when you finally find that perfect fit to welcome into your team, the absolute worst thing you can do is have no onboarding plan for them.
Onboarding isn’t just having a computer ready for the individual on their first day though. And it’s not just giving them a copy of the employee handbook and sending them on their way. Onboarding is about having an organized process in place to integrate that new employee with the rest of your team.
It is often extremely nerve-wracking to start a new job. There’s a lot of unknown people, processes, and procedures. If you don’t help the new employee get adjusted to all the new things being thrown at them, you’re already setting them up for failure. Or at the very least, setting them up for a much harder transition than necessary.
But what exactly does an organized onboarding process look like? Here at Bridge, we are constantly growing and adding to our team, so here’s 6 things we’ve found that have helped new hires make that transition:
1. Pre-Start Date Information
One of the absolute easiest things to do is send some information to your new hires before their start date. Just a simple email with what to expect doesn’t take very long to send but can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Including information on what time to be there, when lunch will be, what to wear, and the schedule for the first day is an easy way to calm some of the new hire’s nerves. Sending out employee paperwork for them to get a head start on also saves time during their first week to instead focus on more important items.
Informing the rest of the team that a new hire will be coming on board also can’t be overlooked. There’s nothing worse than an individual showing up their first day with no one aware except for the hiring manager. Give the team some information on the new hire’s background so they have some things to ask them about.
2. Dedicated Trainer
Having an individual dedicated to onboarding and training new employees is maybe the most important part of the onboarding process. This is especially important if there is a lot of new information to learn. Here at Bridge, we work in an industry that not many people are familiar with. Most of our new hires have no prior experience in logistics. There is a lot to learn, which is why we have individuals dedicated to training in our operations and sales departments. Giving that new hire a single point of contact and someone they can turn to with all of the questions that come up is vital.
3. Individualized Approach
Everyone learns differently – and at a different pace. Having a formal onboarding and training schedule is important so that all new hires are learning what is necessary for their role, but maintaining flexibility is just as crucial. What is confusing to one person may be a breeze to someone else, so being able to slow down and speed up depending on the individual will help that new hire get the best possible training.
Developing a guide for new hires to refer to allows them to learn at their own pace. We refer to ours as a playbook – a document detailing everything that individual needs to know. It includes helpful tips and step-by-step guides (often with pictures) to show them how to handle certain situations. It’s basically an always accessible guide for when a new hire doesn’t remember how to do something or isn’t sure how to react in that scenario. It gives them the tools to be able to solve their own problems without always having to ask someone else.
5. Career Path Outline
Starting a new job can be scary, but it’s also really exciting. The individual is taking the first step to a new career, but sometimes it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the initial training. That’s why it’s really important that the new hire keeps an eye on the bigger picture. Introducing them to people who are in the same role as them, but who have some experience under their belt, helps them to visualize what life looks like for them down the road. Outlining for them on their first day what it takes to be successful in their role, what the typical timeline for advancement is, and what they can expect their job to be a year from now motivates them to get there. No one wants to be doing the exact same job forever, so showing them what their career path can look like within the company as early as possible can help increase retention.
6. After-Work Event
At the end of the day, people are starting new jobs to advance their career and do meaningful work. You want to set them up for success by providing them with information and individualized on-the-job training. But you can’t overlook the importance of developing relationships within the office. According to a Gallup poll, people with a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to engage fully in their work. That’s a huge increase in employee engagement, just by promoting friendships in the office. Giving employees time outside of work to get to know each other over happy hours or corporate events is an easy way to encourage more office friendships. Planning an after-work event shortly after a new hire joins the team can also help them to feel more like a member of the team and less like the new person in the office.
Onboarding is about getting a new hire up to speed on the role, but just as important is making sure they feel supported and encouraged in their new job. Setting expectations, giving them a single point of contact, customizing their training experience, providing them with tangible resources, outlining their career path, and promoting work friendships are just a few of the ways we onboard new employees into our company.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding