Onboarding New Staff (You can't afford to get this wrong!)

06 Sep by Alicia Vroegop

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If you have just hired someone for your team, make sure you ‘on-board’ them so they don’t mistake it for walking the plank…

In recruitment, we have the privilege of hearing some really inspiring stories of great businesses and how they treat their staff… and other stories that leave you truly wondering about the state of leadership and management in this industry.

Briefly, ‘onboarding’ refers to the process of welcoming and settling your new hire into the business, providing all the relevant resources to get them off to a healthy start with their new role. A crucial aspect to understand that onboarding doesn’t start on someone’s first day on the job – it starts from the moment they sign on the dotted line.

So here is a quick guide to help you make a plan for a great onboarding experience that cements the decision your newly hired talent made to join the team:

Avoid Cold Feet

Keep in touch with your candidate. The relationship starts here. Your candidate is likely working out a four week notice – longer for senior candidates, and having no contact in between interview and start date can make for a nice dose of awkward…

Keep your communications positive and personable. The phone is a great way of picking up on “cold feet” vibes or just providing the opportunity to have a more relaxed discussion to clear any questions.

A cautionary note here: PHONE is best... EMAIL next... I don’t believe it’s great to TEXT. (Horses for courses.. but if you think it’ll work because that’s your style and feel that’s theirs…go for it.).

You’re in the club!

If a team lunch is happening before they start, this is a GREAT opportunity to invite them so they can get to know the team. The warm fuzzies are coming in thick and fast.

Sharing is Caring

If there are major business changes, news or information you think your new hire would do well to get their heads around before day one – then share it. This will go a long way to helping them feel engaged and valued.

Also, forewarn the team, this is just professionalism! There are few situations more awkward for the new recruit than hearing “Oh right, so Simon didn’t get the promotion then?” on their first introduction.

Get Organised

Get technology or tools COMPLETELY SORTED before they arrive. Unless you like paying your staff to spend precious hours trying to get themselves set up? Not to mention the frustration and panic for the new employee when things don’t work and they’re trying to get settled in.

Lay Out The Welcome Mat

First impressions last, and no matter whether it’s entry level or executive candidates - we are all human, we all experience first day jitters, and the first few days/weeks on the job are a whirlwind of new people and information.

We don’t think a red carpet and bugle horns is necessary, but someone to meet you, guide you through signing in and taking you to where you need to be will suffice. The gold standard here is to have a welcome gift from the company.

Be Available

Assign time (lots of it) to introduce your new employee to key people, all their tools, processes, what’s expected of them in their first week/month…etc. Assign time in both of your diaries to connect and review how things are going and answer questions.

A Soft Landing

We often (too often) hear about people being thrown in the deep end. Some would say that is how they sort the wheat from the chaff. I say that’s how you sour an employment relationship. As stated earlier, people have options. Throwing someone in the deep end is risky for that person’s reputation in your business (mistakes WILL happen), and for your business operations/reputation.

Workplace Buddy

Ensure you have the right person for the job… Chucky wasn’t that great a buddy after all. The reason you assign a buddy is to ensure there is someone knowledgeable, friendly and positive who can help guide you through your first few week and knows their way around systems and processes. The buddy will either make you feel great about being there or heading for the ‘panic room’. Here’s your new friend, now go and play…

Get these things right, and you are bound to improve your chances of securing and keeping your hard-won talent!