As an executive recruiter, I’ve heard many stories about onboarding debacles, even before the global pandemic required us to do this all remotely. I wanted to share some best practices so that your company can avoid some common pitfalls and retain the people you have worked so hard to attract.
There lots of examples of new employees reporting for work on their first day and surprising many people in the new organization except for the hiring manager and HR partner. The IT group may be unaware that they were supposed to make arrangements to have a new workstation delivered. The department responsible for training the new employee – or at least getting them training material and direction – may not have been notified. Colleagues and peers in the same department are often caught off guard that a new person has joined the team.
Stories like that abound, and if the dysfunction persists for more than a week, the new employee may begin to think they made a BIG mistake taking that job. That’s why savvy managers who lose good people to other companies will call their ex employee about a month after they start the new job to see how things are going. “You know, we miss you and that counteroffer still stands . . .”
Onboarding programs need to be well conceived and documented so that everyone is working to make the new person feel welcome and productive as soon as possible. There are steps you can take to make sure that needed tools are available right away, and other administrative tasks are not a burden for the new person. Special welcoming communications from senior management and other nice touches will reinforce the decision they made to take the job. I have created a list of Onboarding Best Practices gathered from organizations that have solid programs in place and that enjoy low turnover and high retention.
Phase I: Upon verbal acceptance from candidate
1. Send new employee Welcome Packet that describes benefits, culture and related information
2. Notify Payroll
3. Notify line managers in related departments
4. Email to the department / group with new employee home e-mail address and home phone number. Encourage new peers to send welcoming messages before start date.
5. Place industry announcement: Trade journals, local newspaper, company website
6. Enroll new employee in Health and Benefits programs
7. [If a relocation] Make travel arrangements for househunting and book real estate agent meeting
8. Re-evaluate work space and make it attractive. Flowers / gift?
9. Set up e-mail and voicemail accounts no later than first day
10. Load and configure computer, laptop, cell phone (as applicable) no later than first day
11. Order business cards
Phase II: Start Date
1. Orientation Speech – Welcome from CEO or member of Senior Management – in person, via webcast, or phone call
2. Photo, Security badge, office access issues
3. Assign Mentor – “Peer Auditor,” schedule appointment for them to meet. This has become crucial in the COVID era since new employees have no opportunity to meet their teammates personally.
4. Schedule lunch with new employee on first day, if possible. Share The Vision and discuss corporate culture. Encourage as many people to attend as possible.
5. Schedule First Month Review – Provide feedback about performance and create a forum for open communication. Confirm that they are comfortable and beginning to feel productive.
As always I welcome your comments and questions-
The Alpine Group