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Human Resources: Do You Have an Effective Onboarding Process?

An employee’s first day of work is a time of excitement and promise, for both the employee who is embarking on a new chapter in his career, and your entire organization as you integrate another personality into your workplace.  But along with that excitement and possibility, new employees also can experience some anxiety as they attempt to assimilate into their new work environment.  A structured and well-planned onboarding process that includes HR, management, and other team members is critical to turn those first day jitters into confidence in their decision to join your organization. 

Tips for an Effective Onboarding Program

  1. Have a new hire checklist.  A new hire checklist can help you to make sure the relevant company, state, and federal information is covered.  This will help you to stay organized and make sure that critical steps and forms are completed. A sample new hire checklist is below.
  2. Make a great first impression.  Someone, preferably their manager, should be available as the first point of contact to greet the employee and guide him or her around the office on the first day.  It makes your organization look disorganized and increases the employee’s anxiety if there is not a plan in place for his or her arrival.
  3. Consistency.  Make sure that information about your company is consistent across individuals who will be meeting with the employee during their orientation process, as well as your printed materials.  Have a meeting with anyone who will be involved in the orientation process before the new employee begins to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page.
  4. Keep it simple.  Too much information at one time can overwhelm a new employee.  Break information up into smaller pieces, giving only the essential information upfront.  Plan on providing more details gradually, as needed.
  5. Mix it up. Rather than an entire day of videos followed by an entire day of reading manuals or lectures, break up the employee’s first few days by switching activities throughout the day.  Orientation information can sometimes be boring.  Try to think of creative ways to deliver information that will keep the new employee engaged.
  6. Capitalize on your team. One of the greatest anxieties the new employee will have to overcome is whether or not he or she will get along with co-workers.  Have a plan in place for how your team will welcome the new employee.
  7. Make sure they have what they need.  Make sure that the new employee’s desk area and supplies are prepared before the first day of work.  It leaves a negative impression and tells the new employee that you are disorganized and chaotic if the desk area is not prepared before the first day of work.
  8. Follow-up. Understand that the onboarding process does not end with the orientation.  Make plans to follow-up with the employee frequently during the first few weeks or months on the job.

The Employers Association

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