By Marty Fukuda
Organizations spend a great deal of resources, including time and money, selecting the perfect hires. Many businesses have developed training programs to teach new recruits the ins and outs of technical procedures as well as details about their products, services and software.
Yet often some essentials are neglected. During the first few days of an associate’s career, amid those nervous, impressionable moments, a company should lay the groundwork for a lasting powerful relationship with the person involved.
1. Identify a welcome committee.
While arranging for a red carpet or a 10-piece marching band is unnecessary, develop a plan to give a new hire a warm, memorable welcome. Since a department doesn’t bring on board a new hire every day, the process can seem like a distraction or afterthought for a manager when the time arrives. To avoid this, implement a strategy, starting with who will take part in the onboarding process.
When possible, the very team members who were involved in the interviewing should greet the new hire on his or her first day. They are likely the only people the newcomer will know. Seeing a few familiar faces upon walking in the door can put a new hire at ease. It’s a bonus if one or more of these employees can take the new employee to lunch the first week.
2. Set the tone and expectations.
Cultural alignment is critical for building a great organization. Communicate clearly and repeatedly what your company stands for to new and veteran employees alike. This can take place through sharing stories, PowerPoint presentations or handouts. It’s critical that each new hire quickly understand the organization’s expectations for behavior.
The interview and the onboarding processes are ideal times to set the expectations for team members’ performance and explain how they will be evaluated throughout their careers. It’s only fair that they fully understand your criteria. A common complaint by unsatisfied workers is that they don’t know the standards they’re being measured against.
Before onboarding your company’s next employee, sit down with the department head or supervisor to establish performance expectations for the role.
Consider as well what new hires will see their first few days. If you pride your company on being laid-back, don’t put a nervous, manic leader in charge of onboarding employees. The newcomers likely won’t survive long enough to enjoy the casual culture you’re aiming for.
Instead, match the traits of the employee leading the onboarding process to the values you want instilled throughout the team. This must be a priority. Too often members of the welcome committee are selected simply because they are friendly or available to help.
3. Assign a mentor.
When a company is able to hire new help, this usually means that business is picking up. At a time when staffers are becoming busier, it might become all too easy to throw a new hire to the wolves and hope for the best.
No matter how well planned your onboarding process is, some unexpected questions will likely pop up. Have mentors in place for novices to turn to. This will help them navigate tricky waters the first few weeks of their new jobs and feel comfortable about being able to receive the answers they need.