Starting a new job at any time is a big step, and it is equally as important for the new employer to ensure a good induction as it is for the new starter to give a good first impression; in fact, a well thought out and executed induction actually helps a new employee to feel part of the team and get stuck in more quickly. Research by Glassdoor has also found that great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
However, global analytics company Gallup found that 88% of organisations don’t onboard well, which can result in a higher turnaround and unnecessary expense to your business. Is your company one of them? And don’t let not being in the office together be an excuse, it is just as easy to ensure a good welcome and effective induction whilst working remotely.
Follow our 7 gems of advice for helping your new employees get off to a flying start:
Make them feel welcome
It’s easy to be so keen to get your new employee up to speed that you forget to help them feel welcome, so plan some activities on the first day other than the usual team intros. Everyone loves presents, so what better way to welcome a potentially slightly nervous new team member than with a gift? You can be as generous or creative as you like – from sending them off for a massage to some branded stationary - it is the thought not the budget that counts! Or how about something simple like a couple of helium balloons tied to their desk (or delivered to their door) and a welcome card signed by everyone in the team?
If you’re all in the office, taking them out for lunch or post work drinks on their first day is a good way to help them feel more relaxed and get to know the team better. If working remotely arrange a virtual drinks and get everyone to say something unique about themselves, or create a welcome video. And don’t forget to get them involved in any regular social activities early on.
Involve the whole team
An employee induction can be so much more than a single person delivering a presentation in a meeting room – arrange for different topic experts within the team or company to deliver relevant segments, spread it over a few days to avoid overwhelming your new employee, and think of different locations and delivery methods.
Create a buddy system
Mentoring is a great way to get a newbie settled and up to speed with your culture and ethos, and it’s also good for building strong inter-office relationships. Often, though, buddies might meet up at the start but once the initial induction is over it all fizzles out, so you can get quite creative to encourage a healthier and more long-term buddy relationship. How about a bingo or loyalty style card which gets stamped each time they meet, and at the end they both get a prize? Hopefully by this time the pair will meet of their own accord and it will ensure the new recruit has someone they can ask for advice from beyond the initial few weeks.
After your new employee has settled in a bit and understand what their team does, getting them to shadow key members of different teams helps teach them more about the company as a whole and how each aspect of their role fits into everyone else’s. This heightened understanding helps increase motivation. The last year and a bit has shown us how much can be done over zoom, and arranging shadowing should be no different.
Preparation is key
As with any key business event, when it comes to employee induction, don’t just wing it - preparation is so important. A lot of companies overlook the importance of this however, and you owe it to your new team member not to just throw something together last minute but to provide them with a well prepared and thought-out induction programme. It is worth investing some time creating one which can then be adapted as per necessary to provide consistency.
Don’t just complete the initial induction and then leave it! Schedule a catch up with your newcomer after a few weeks to find out how they are doing and if they have any challenges you can help with. It’s important, as a manager, to be easily accessible to any new employee and to be keeping tabs on how well they are integrating.
Worryingly, many organisations stop their onboarding process after as little as a week! This is definitely not enough time for a new hire to become properly acclimatised to their company culture and role. It can actually take about eight months for an employee to get fully up to speed. So, as well as preparation and consistency, maintaining momentum is also vital. While the first week is certainly important, it’s just as key to have a plan for the next few weeks, and even months, and to follow up regularly to see how things are going.
Ask for feedback
Even a well-planned tried and tested induction programme could have room for improvement, so, once they have settled in, ask your new team members for honest feedback on the process. What did they find really helpful? Was there anything that confused them? Was there something they wished had been explained better at the start? What advice would they give the next new hire? Asking them about their experiences gives you feedback to consider for future inductions in order to hone the process. And this also has the added benefit of showing your new employees that you really do care about their experiences.
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