If you don't have a standard process to welcome new employees and orient them to their new gig, you should probably rethink the way you provide orientation and training. New employees want to feel like they're part of the team from the get-go, which means making their first day and beyond with your company memorable, productive and encouraging. A truly effective onboarding process is also one that begins before the employee starts his first day.
Before He Sets Foot Through the Door
To send the right message and welcome your new employee, you want your onboarding process to create a culture of encouragement. As soon as the employee is hired, send him a welcome letter or email telling him the company is excited to have him on board and the things he can expect on his first day of work, including paperwork he might need to fill out, training seminars he might need to attend and maybe even lunch with the boss. You could also send him the paperwork ahead of time so he has it complete when he comes in to work on his first day. What you don't want to do is surprise the employee with activities he may not be prepared to do.
You also want to prepare the area where your new hire will be working. Does he need a phone extension or business cards? Do you need to put in a work order to set up his computer and give him access to the company system? Taking care of these things ahead of time makes your new employee's first day more productive and lets him know you're ready for him to begin.
After He Sets Foot Through the Door
Part of creating a memorable, productive and encouraging first day is to not let your new employee flounder. Be ready to meet him when he gets to work and start introducing him to his co-workers and other people he needs to know at the company. Ask your best workers if they would like to be a mentor for your new hire so he has someone he can go to with questions and get advice. Go over his job description with him and see if there are any projects he might like to get started on right away. This will help him feel like a valued member of the team from the beginning.
Hold a social event the first week so he can mingle socially with his co-workers and get to know them better. It could be something as simple as lunch or drinks and appetizers during the cocktail hour. Find out what your employee likes to do for fun and schedule an event based on his preferences. Not only does this make him feel special, but it lets him know you were actually listening to what he had to say.
The process of onboarding new employees doesn't end after the first week is over. To keep top talent, you want to make this a continual process. Ask for feedback, encourage the employee to attend professional development opportunities and celebrate his successes.
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