Your business is scaling; congratulations! You’re making more revenue, reaching more markets, and hiring more staff. But times of rapid growth are often times of rapid change, and you need to ensure that your new employees get shown the same level of care and dedication you gave to employee number 2.
Getting employees started on the right foot not only includes hiring the right people, but also entails onboarding them properly. When it comes to onboarding, you have two factors to consider: your new hire and your current team. Your job is to bring them both together in a seamless and timely manner.
Starting a new job is stressful, you don’t know the office culture and its social norms or politics. New hires often stress over items that have grown to feel very natural for those who have been with the company for some time. On the other hand, you have a group of employees wgo have operated as a unit for quite some time. Often within a growing company it can begin to feel like there is a constant flow of new hires and your old hats can easily become overwhelmed by new faces and so much change.
As the mediator tasked with balancing both ends of this spectrum it is important to execute on the following two things:
- Communicate to the new hire as much as you can about the company and workplace culture they are entering
- Prepare your team for the arrival of a new teammate
The success of your onboarding process depends on your ability to step into the mindset of the new hire (what am I to expect of this new environment?) and the mindset of the existing employees (who are these new faces and why should I adapt my daily routine to include them?).
Creating a consistent and effective onboarding flow within a growing company is completely possible but it requires some foresight.
1. Start onboarding before a new hire comes to the office
Create an employee onboarding handbook to send to new employees before their first day in the office. Include this employee handbook alongside their welcome letter and first day information so that your new employee feels fully prepared for their first day in the office. An employee handbook generally covers a lot of the questions your new hire might have such as when is lunch, what is the dress code, what office perks are there, and what benefits are included in my contract and how can I access them.
By sending this handbook up front your newest employee has time to digest the information at their own pace as well as ask further questions before arriving.
Onboarding doesn’t just relate to the new employee though – this is a perfect time to start preparing your existing employees to expect a new face. Use this opportunity to share a photo and information about the new hire – we do this with an infographic template. It’s a great way to put a face to a name, and proves a great ice breaker on both sides.
2. Don’t overwhelm new hires on the first day
There is a ton of information that you need to share with a new hire on their first day and many companies make the mistake of sharing it all at once. If you’re sitting your new hire down for a powerpoint presentation they are never going to retain all of the details. More so it’s a complete waste of your time because I can guarantee in two to three days the new hire is going to show up at your desk and ask how they should record their vacation time again, or when the health benefits kick in.
As well as providing employees with their handbook in advance, you can help circumnavigate this issue by creating a manageable and actionable checklist for new hires to follow.
Break the checklist down into sections; by topic and by day. Hyperlink to important documents and pages within the checklist. For example on the morning of Day 1 get your new marketing employee to read through the Brand Guidelines, complete their emergency contact details, and set up their email address. In the afternoon you could get them to sit down with their line manager and watch a video message from the CEO. Breaking it down this way helps set clear expectations for your new hires, but also is a guide to follow to help their onboarding process.
3. Continue onboarding past the first few weeks
It’s hard to keep track of all your new hires as more and more get added to the mix but it’s important to maintain an open dialogue with your new employees as they settle into their new environment. This means it is an ongoing conversation, not just a truck load of information on their first day. To help with this set clear timelines and due dates in all the onboarding materials so that your new hires know when to expect their probation review, and when they should complete their first task by. In the onboarding checklist make sure you disperse the expectations over the first few weeks of them being with the company, this will ensure that they are constantly moving towards an end goal and not reaching an abrupt stop to their onboarding.
The first month at a new job can fly by but that doesn’t mean all the stress and confusion have been forgotten by your new hire. Celebrate and acknowledge your employees throughout the process and show that you are excited for what sto come by commemorating their first month on the job. A bit of kindness goes a long way and you’ll be amazed at how well a company does when the employees feel happy and appreciated.
Onboarding isn’t a one size fits all method, and different techniques will suit different organizations, but by following these tips you can create an effective flow that works for your company.