Peter Forbes outlines the latest best practice tips for introducing new starters to your workplace.
Recent research by the Candidate Experience Awards in the US has highlighted some of the ways in which the most successful organisations make new employees feel valued and welcome.
“Employee onboarding,” as this process has come to be known, is the way in which you induct new staff members, and includes both gathering and imparting information to new recruits.
The way you handle this process can have a long-lasting impact on the employee’s performance, so it’s worth streamlining the process and making it as pleasant, welcoming, and memorable as possible for the new employee.
A report by the Candidate Experience Awards produced seven recommendations on how to make your employee onboarding process more people-friendly.
1. Implement a mentoring or buddy system for new hires to help them become acclimated to the workplace
The idea of a mentor for an employee’s first few days at work is nothing new, but there are some creative ways you can take this idea a step further and make that new hire’s first few days unforgettable.
For example, Silicon Valley tech startup Commerce Sciences has a tradition where the last person to join the team creates a “starter kit” for the next person who joins. The contents of the kit depend entirely on the creativity and ingenuity of the previous employee.
This is great for a small tech company, but how can larger companies institute an idea this “viral” when they may be onboarding dozens (or even hundreds) of new employees each week? Get thinking!
2. Ensure managers are actively involved in the onboarding experience, which will make new hires feel more engaged and that they are valued and important additions to the team.
We’ve all started a job and felt the old “us and them” forces at play. Nothing creates greater barriers to creativity and peak performance than the feeling that managers are in some ivory tower looking down on the common folk. This divide sets up an immediate feeling of powerlessness and resignation in new employees that will be hard to overcome.
The solution? Get managers involved in the induction process. They need to get their sleeves up and their hands dirty, showing new hires that they’re prepared to invest in them and that they recognise them as a welcome and valued addition to the team as a whole.
3. Discuss advancement opportunities up front so new hires can feel they have a future with the organisation.
Ever had that feeling that there was some invisible barrier between you and the next level up? Some employees spend years with a feeling of uncertainty about when or how they could get promoted. The result is a feeling of hopelessness and a resultant lack of desire to excel at one’s role.
The solution is to make it clear up front what opportunities for advancement are available, and the steps the new employee needs to take to make this a reality. It’s never too soon to have this conversation. Why not do it during an employee’s first week so they have something to strive for?
4. Socialise the employee by introducing him or her to new colleagues.
This seems like a no-brainer, but with so many things for a new employee to be learning and experiencing during the onboarding process, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics. So, make sure you formalise the introductory process by setting aside time for a new employee to meet and socialise with their peers. This could be formal or informal, and could mean the difference between a lonely, isolated introductory experience vs a welcoming and supportive new work environment.