Does your firm provide fertile soil in which your newly hired talent can flourish? I recently read an article in which the author and researcher raised the question of whether top talent is “portable”, and the individual would succeed in any environment. Interestingly, even top performers in seemingly individual roles (i.e., financial broker) were often not as successful after a move to a new firm if that new firm did not have a process providing support during the transition and a support structure that encouraged success long-term. It may sound cliché, but we should ask ourselves, “What can we do today to improve our onboarding process for new hires supporting our employees, allowing them to reach their highest possible level of performance?”
Dare we let our best assets, top talent, wilt on the vine?
Below are some easy tips to help support your newly hired talent start off with success!
- Details matter. Do your best to have the workspace ready (computer, phone, pens, note paper) and business cards ordered prior to the start date. It can take some time for a new employee to feel at home, but an employer who makes a place for someone sends the message that they care.
- Communication! Share any information on paperwork they will need to bring their first day, an agenda of what they can expect that day, any parking information, and a quick summary of the company’s dress code so they don’t feel out of place.
- Let your current employees know! Email your team letting them know the name of who is starting, what their title is, their work experience/education, and your hopes for what this new person will bring to the company!
- Give them a warm welcome!It doesn’t take much to make a new employee feel welcome. A quick coffee social or donuts in the breakroom goes a long way. You can also have someone from the company take them out to lunch the first day. This allows them to start feeling like they know someone a little better at the company.
- Give a tour of the office. Share information such as locations of bathrooms, kitchen/breakrooms, conference rooms, etc. Explain different departments, where HR is located, and any other essentials.
- Be wise in choosing the trainer.Like most small businesses, if you don’t have a formal training program, be cautious not to assume that the employee with the most expertise is also the best trainer. Often, you will want to involve multiple people in the process so that the newly hired employee understands how their role fits into the organization. For example, sales professionals should spend time with customer service or technical support professionals so that they understand the customer. Also, be aware that people have different learning styles—some need to “do” rather than just hear or see.
- Set clear expectations.This is your chance to start with a clean slate. Review the new employee’s job description letting them know what is expected of them and how they will be measured. Let them know how often you will meet with them and how to have questions answered.
- Ask what their expectations are. It’s just as important to make sure you are meeting their expectations too. For example, the new employee might be used to meeting monthly vs. quarterly. Adjusting to monthly could help them perform better and feel more valued by your company. This would also be the time to communicate any discrepancies if their expectations don’t meet yours. It’s better to try and resolve any issues now versus 6 months from now.
- Schedule software trainings and any other necessary formal trainings as soon as possible. It’s important to make sure your new employee knows all software, processes and best practices as soon as possible.
- Schedule social outings. The more time your new employee can hangout with your team, the better. Whether they’re going to sing karaoke, play some good ole fashion bingo, or hit some balls at Top Golf, they will get to know each other in a more relaxed setting and make them feel more comfortable.
- Put their success in the hands of the entire team.When the team feels it is in their best interest for a newly hired employee to be successful, they are more likely to support them and give the newly hired employee the best possible chance for success.
Do you have any other tips for starting new employees off with success?
Written by: Julie Godshall Brown and Shawn Kinard