How can you help new employees make a smooth transition to be contributing members of the team? A successful onboarding process can reduce costs and staff resources. Employees who are up and running quickly will have fewer days of on-the-job training and less turnover.
Creating a successful onboarding process requires organization and thoughtful planning, from the moment a job is offered through the first few months of employment. Here are five key elements of a successful program.
Clearly Define the Job and the Expectations
Many onboarding efforts get derailed before the offer letter is even mailed simply because the job was never clearly defined in the first place. Every job should have a distinct set of responsibilities, with clear goals and expectations of each employee. Changing the job and expectations after a new employee is hired can waste precious time and resources, and may result in redoing the entire process before any work has begun.
Develop an Orientation Program
Whether it’s assigning a mentor or presenting an overview class, develop an orientation program that addresses all the basic needs of each employee on their first day. This may include an initial meeting with Human Resources, where they will complete any additional paperwork and training on company policies and procedures, as well as a tour of the building.
Have the Work Environment Ready
All the tools a new employee needs on the first day of the job should be ready the minute she comes to the office the first day. A company-issued computer should be waiting on the desk, with intranet access and email accounts already set up. The phone should be connected and a clear set of instructions on voicemail readily accessible. The employee should have basic office supplies in her work area and an employee phone list that includes the who’s who in each department. These steps not only makes the employee feel immediately welcome and appreciated, but they can prevent many lost hours of productivity.
Introduce New Employees to Key Team Members
Formally introduce the new employee to their team members, and explain how they are expected to work with each other. You can schedule this team meeting on the employee’s first day or make a team member responsible for introductions. It is also important to make new employees aware of any particular working arrangements or styles that may affect the team dynamics.
During the first few months of employment, make a point of checking in with new hires. Look for signs that the employee has assimilated with the team and help guide them through situations that may not be going smoothly.
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