All Aboard for Onboarding! How to Effectively Onboard New Employees

Kevin Trokey on Jan 20, 2017 3:00:00 AM

Finding a great new employee is exciting. Everything is fresh and everyone is ready to jump in and get a strong start. As a Human Resources professional, you play a key role in making sure this happens in a way that is beneficial to the new employee, your current staff, and your already overworked HR team.

If that scenario sounds impossible, don’t worry. In our How to Effectively Onboard New Employees blog series, we’re going to break it down into nice, easy techniques and steps you can follow to ensure that everybody gets the most out of the experience.

When it comes to onboarding, the temptation is to think of everything that needs to be done and then try to check all of those things off the list as quickly as possible. This can be a little overwhelming, both for HR and new hires alike. So instead of giving you a giant To-Do list, we’re going to outline one way to enhance your onboarding processes each week. How’s that for manageable?

Ready for week one? All right, then. Let’s do this thing.

Step 1: Promote Your New Hire

This doesn’t mean you need to organize a full-fledged parade around the office, although that might be fun. What it does mean is that you should publicize your new team member before he or she actually arrives. This can be done easily in staff meetings or via email, and will set the stage for recognition and positive interactions as opposed to confusion and potential negative interactions. Visualize it this way: “Hey! You must be Mike, our new IT star!” vs. “Hey, are you the new cleaning guy? My garbage can is overflowing, dude.” It’s pretty obvious which scenario is better and more welcoming.

Define and communicate your new employee’s role

Just because Mike is replacing Sarah doesn’t mean that position will or should stay exactly the same. Take some time to create or update the job description in a way that will allow your new team member to contribute their greatest value to the organization. Once you’ve hired the right person, communicate the new role to your team. Be open and clear. Let them know what things might be different moving forward and why you’re excited about the value the new person will bring. This will avoid the pigeonholing of your new hire and alleviate unnecessary comparisons to the person they replaced. It will also make the rest of the team comfortable with where they fit in and how roles may change or adjust moving forward.

Be specific with details

When will this person start? Where will they be working? Who will be their direct supervisor? If you’re a large company, it’s not necessary to alert the entire company to every single new hire, but certainly those on the new person’s team will want to know. There’s nothing worse than leaving your employees in the dark on things that affect their working environment. Give your staff the information they need to be successful. The more they know, the more valued they feel, and the more excited they will be to welcome and mentor new team members.

It takes a village

Successful onboarding is a group effort. You want your new hire to feel welcomed, valued, and excited about the possibilities. This means they need exposure to more than just their immediate supervisor and occasional training videos. Bring your employee on with a little fanfare and a lot of interaction with the team. If you’ve got the resources, assign a mentor and/or accountability partner. Plant the seeds that will help your new employees grow into their positions and the company.

Things to think about:

  1. How will this person be announced to the team and the company? In meetings or via email? Who needs to know? What details should be included? Who will make the announcement and how far in advance will it happen?
  2. Are there aspects of his/her new role that affect others? Will this person be taking on work that used to be done elsewhere? Will there be a transfer of duties to another department? How will you give your current employees this valuable information so they can be informed and supportive?
  3. What does your new hire need to be successful? Spend some time thinking about specific tools, technology and processes your new star will need to get going in the right direction: office supplies, relevant technology, training schedule, introductions, mentorship, accountability, regular check-ins, etc.

Want to build excitement with new hires and current staff? Promote your new employees before they even walk in the door, and let the rest of the team know how they fit into the bigger picture.

Photo by Kwol 

This is the first post in a series of blogs about onboarding new employees. Stay tuned for more information on this topic and subscribe to this blog to receive new HR-related posts each week.

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Topics: Team Development