To borrow a phrase, a good onboarding program is both high tech and high touch. A new employee should be surrounded with both physical evidence and virtual access to their new company and if possible, their new team. As stated in the previous article, branded materials such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, gift cards all make great impressions on a new employee. The receiving team can also do other personal things such as flowers on the new employee’s desk, signs, and congratulatory cards.
So here is a typical onboarding timeline:
Prior to the first day, the employee can be mailed a welcome packet. That packet can contain the documents necessary to be collected on the first day of employment such as a data sheet, I-9 instructions, benefits sign ups.
On the employee’s first day, it is imperative that the manager has blocked out a few hours at the start of the day to spend with the employee. If the manager cannot do that, then the employee needs to start work on the first day that the manager can do this. Nothing is worse than a new employee who comes to work for a company that is unprepared for their arrival. First impressions are important, particularly with a new employee.
Thus the manager can orient the employee to the work environment, introduce them to the team, and make sure that all of the details for a good start are in place.
There is a technique in the sales world that can translate quite well to this time period. Often, when a person is handed off to a closer or financial person, the sales person will endorse that closer to the person by saying something like, “make sure this finance person tells you about our great warranty program”. The manager can do something similar when introducing the new employee to the team.
After the high touch start, it is now time for high tech. This is the time, usually on day one that the employee is signed on to the company computer system an will start a series of computer based orientation sessions. This does not have to be complicated, it can be a PowerPoint presentation or it can be a sophisticated online experience. In fact, some companies are now assigning an avatar to the employee and the avatar makes its way through a virtual office, meeting each department.
This computer based process can last days or weeks, depending on company needs. There may also be meetings or classes designed for new employees.
Regardless of method, creative thought must be put into how a company starts a new employee. The average person under forty will have ten jobs during their career. Make sure that yours is the one that captivates a new employee for the long run.