So you are taking on a new employee. As a hiring manager, you have invested a lot. You curtailed other priorities to spend time and energy on the recruitment and selection process. Your time is money to your business. So make your investment in hiring count by extending it into his or her first days, weeks, and months on the job to ensure your new hire will be successful and productive.
Tips for New Hire Orientation
After the job offer has been accepted and before he or she has come on board, stay in touch with the employee. Check in frequently before the start date. Ask if there are any questions. Make sure he or she has all the information needed to be prepared for day one. Not only will this help make the new hire feel valued, but it will deter any competing interest from other employers.
On the first day, the most important thing to remember is that your new hire is excited about his or her new job. Make that first day special – be excited about your new hire! Have a special welcome ready, have your new hire’s workspace ready, and if possible, have business cards ready. Make your new hire feel like he or she expected and welcome in the new job. The goal is to show your new hires that you are as excited about them joining your company as they are!
Of course there are the formal things one does to orient a new employee on the first day(s) on the job. Be sure to:
• Provide the employee handbook and obtain acknowledgment that the handbook has been read and understood
• Collect all payroll and benefit information
• Highlight specific policies and procedures that are important on the job
• Discuss appropriate workplace safety and health topics
• Provide training on equipment and processes and procedures, and
• Cover any position-related topics such as supervisory responsibility, duties and responsibilities and expectations of the new hire.
But don’t stop there – the informal things are just as critical. Aside from the payroll and benefit sign-up, basic safety, equipment and scheduling topics, take the time to talk about the unique aspects of your company’s culture. For example, how important is the matter of being on time? Are there unwritten rules about meeting attendance, dress, voicing opinions? And don’t forget to cover smart-phone usage and social media access while at work. Talk about it!
A successful first week is clearly the hiring manager’s responsibility. Therefore, you should plan for it as you would any other important business activity. Nothing should be more important to your schedule that week than being accessible and carving out time each day to meet with your new hire. Create a schedule for him or her for the first weeks including what meetings to attend, what materials to read, and who to meet and speak with. Arrange those meetings yourself in advance. Also, have someone provide basic training on technology. Cover topics such as the business cycle, important initiatives, key client projects, management styles and communication preferences of key people, how meetings are run (whether formal with agendas or informal), where and when to take ideas and concerns.
If the new employee has supervisory responsibilities it is especially important for you, in advance of the start, to meet with the team and present the new supervisor’s background – why the selection was made and what to expect. This will address the team’s unease during the transition and also will allow the new supervisor to move into high gear. High gear is good, but not before you are assured the new hire understands your expectations, the company and its operating culture.
Be sure to cover your performance expectations, and particularly how goals and performance assessments are conducted. Arrange for any essential training and ensure that there is awareness of company and department goals.
Finally, make sure you schedule periodic check-ins in the weeks and months that follow. Studies show that 22% of employees quit their jobs within the first 45 days which is not really surprising – the learning curve for any position is longer than anyone ever expects. If your new hire feels supported in the first six months, you will improve the likelihood that he or she will stay engaged and committed.
(Note: We have developed an employee development template to help managers structure and communicate the new employee’s learning objectives and to provide a structure for ongoing feedback during the first few weeks and months. Send us an e-mail at contact@affinityHRgroup.com to receive a free copy. )
By seeing the new employee as a business investment, your dedication of time and attention will ensure an optimal return, enhancing his or her to more quickly get up to speed and deliver value to the company.
Sallie Biitner is a contributor for Affinity HR Group, LLC, IIABNY’s affiliated human resources partner. Affinity HR Group specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations such as IIABNY and their member companies. To learn more, visit www.affinityHRgroup.com.