When you bring new people into your organisation it is important to ensure that their introduction to your working environment is positive, friendly and informative. An experience that goes way beyond meeting team members and being shown the facilities. A well thought out onboarding scheme can go a long way to really helping a new team member feel comfortable and up to speed as quickly as possible. Not only this, but it helps with retention and (with platforms such as Glassdoor) company perception in the market place (i.e. candidate attraction).
Here are some tips for creating a good solid onboarding scheme:
- Before someone joins your organisation, it is a good idea to send some form of communication, maybe from the line or office manager (if appropriate). It could be documentation about your company (a company handbook for example) or just a quick hi to connect and let them know timings, who will meet them and directions for the first morning. Getting some of the admin paperwork organised before the first day can free up time and extra headspace on that first morning too. So maybe think about sending over any forms that need filling out prior to their start date. All of this helps the individual to feel connected to your organisation before the first day.
- Create a timetable of learning / activities for the first couple of weeks. Depending on the level of seniority it can be fairly daunting for the first few weeks for new starters. Knowing who you are meant to be with, or what you need to be focusing on during those early days really helps to ease someone into a new role without feeling overwhelmed with the amount they need to learn. It can also ensure that they are learning what they need to correctly and in the right order to help them move forward in the role. Remember every organisation does things slightly differently so even if someone has a lot of experience, through no fault of their own, their habits might not be appropriate for your culture and/or client base.
- Clarifying expectations early on is helpful to both parties. The nuances of the job can never be fully explained at interview stage so sitting down and clearly discussing the role, the level of output and pace and any other expectations means that even if your culture is very laid back, new starters understand the level that is expected of them.
- Have you got a buddy scheme in place? Buddy schemes are a great way of helping an individual to get to understand the culture and team as well as just the role. Make sure that the person you buddy them up with is positive towards the company and culture and is not their line manager. Meeting up with a buddy in the first week is a great addition to the onboarding scheme. Ensure that the remit for the buddy scheme is to create time and a point of contact to chat around company issues. If a friendship develops that’s great but it’s not the main focus, it’s a friendly face for the new starter (and ongoing) to chat around any issues they may be having.
- Organise a social in the first couple of weeks. Often it can be hard to penetrate a tight team, even if your existing team is friendly, it is easy for people to forget to include others. Seeing people out in social environments helps to forge bonds quicker than it does in the office environment and a bonded team is a happier and therefore more productive team than a disconnected one.
- Create a three month plan and stick to it. Discuss this plan with the new starter in accordance with set expectations, and goal setting (role appropriate). This then becomes a good marker for discussion at personal development meetings or weekly catch ups. It also helps the new starter to see that they are progressing (which is motivating in itself).
- Create ongoing Personal Development Plans. Appraisals help to establish growth and motivation. If you meet once every 6 months for this purpose it provides an anchor and a reference point for progress.