There is a meme going around that says something along the lines of “Starting a new job is like being a new character on the ninth season of a TV show”.
We can all relate to this; you show up on your first day, everyone knows each other, you have a lot to offer but you don’t really know where to start… and there are lots of subplots that you need to get your head around.
Settling in at a new company can be stressful, which is why it makes sense to have a strong onboarding process that will help people to feel comfortable sooner.
What is onboarding?
If you haven’t heard the term before, onboarding is a human resources term used to describe the introduction of new staff to the workplace. While figuring out what they need to take responsibility for is an important part of onboarding, helping new employees to integrate into workplace culture is equally as important.
Why does onboarding matter?
As an employer, you need new staff to be up to scratch as quickly as you can so they can start contributing to the growth of the business. When a new team member starts, it’s vital to train them quickly and efficiently without overwhelming them.
Along with having a new position and responsibilities, new employees are also in an unfamiliar environment. They have walked into ‘season nine’ and need to integrate as part of the ‘cast’. A good onboarding system will help new staff to become part of the team.
These days, onboarding is more important than ever, particularly because many people are working remotely and may never have the opportunity to meet their colleagues in person. They need to know who to reach out to and they need to feel included, no matter where they are based.
Tips for onboarding
Having a clear process for onboarding makes sense. Here are some steps to improve the experience for everyone:
1. Have everything ready
IT should have a laptop, email address and logins ready for the new person on the day they start. You may want to schedule a new person’s start time for an hour later than everyone else on their first day so they don’t show up early and find themselves twiddling their thumbs.
2. Assign a ‘buddy’
It doesn’t have to be official but putting a new person in touch with a specific individual they can reach out to with questions will help them to integrate and feel supported.
3. Have a new employee instruction pack or online hub
Some businesses schedule regular induction sessions but if you don’t have time to do this you could create a searchable intranet hub or a series of documents where people can find the answers to common questions like how to book a meeting or apply for leave.
Creating videos is also a helpful strategy as it saves existing staff from having to stop what they are doing and answer questions from newbies.
4. Schedule a new employee review
A month or six weeks after they arrive, you may wish to send out a survey asking your new team member how their onboarding experience could have been improved.
5. Create a welcome pack with branded apparel and other items
Company clothing or other branded items will help new team members feel that they are working for a company that cares and values them.
Here are a few gifts to help onboard new team members:
● Backpack or laptop bag
● Branded chargers
● Personalised water bottle
● Notebook and pen
● Key chain or swipe card lanyard
● T-shirts or hoodies
A well thought out onboarding policy that includes a new starter welcome pack will make your new team member feel at home so they can be more productive sooner.