New Employees? 6 Easy Tips for Greater Onboarding Success!

We can all remember starting at a new school or job. The excitement that occurs when you are starting something new, meeting new people, and learning the cadence of everything around you. Attending a new school ended up not being too challenging as schedules are provided, you are meeting all of your new teachers, and a syllabus or presentation about expectations were provided. It worked with a large group of new students, so why is it so challenging for some companies to start a new employee?

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True story, I was in a new job and I was placed in a cube and told: “someone would be by to tell you what to get started on.” So I sat there, most of the day, while people ran back and forth past my cube, too busy to stop. No team leader, no team member because no one knew why I was sitting there. There was a phone on my desk that did not work and I did not have a password for the computer. Then I asked around if someone needed any help or if anyone could help me get things set up. Again, “I am sure that someone will be by shortly.”

This is one of those life experiences where you end up with a lot of takeaways on how NOT to do something. While I hope your company operates well past this scenario, some things do get missed. Time is money, so here are a few things that you can do to get this person started and help with retention in the long run;

  1. Send out communication to the entire team that a new person is starting. Provide some background and let them know who this person is reporting to.

  2. Have all of the tech ready to go. All of the software should be installed and updated, passwords set up, phones, virtual meeting links, or some other sort of communication ready to go.

  3. Have their manager greet them and introduce them to the team in person or via Zoom. Briefly talk about expectations and have a person on the team be their assigned “buddy.” This go-to person can be on the same team or be a person that knows how to get the answers they need. The longer a person is idle, the quicker they become frustrated.

  4. Take the time to get all of the paperwork they need to complete ready to go as well as the time to do it. Just get it done. It is way easier than chasing it all later.

  5. Remember that schedule and syllabus for school? Have an employee handbook and/or procedure guide in their hand on the first day. Bonus: If there is downtime, this will allow them to get acclimated with your vision, mission, processes, expectations, etc. Having this kind of guide is also great for them to reference while they are working there. Provide the week’s schedule of meetings as well as the location. 

  6. Check-in. Check-in. Check-in. We don’t want to micromanage but making sure that they “got it” is so very important at the beginning. Very similar to learning to ride a bike, someone might have held the bike seat until you got your balance and were pedaling. We know what happens when someone lets go too soon. We also know that this doesn’t last forever so invest the time.

We only get one chance to make a good impression. We spent the time interviewing and getting this new person on the team to come in and do great things. Do not waste the time and money by failing them at the very beginning. A sense of community and purpose at the start of their career with you will endear an employee to you much longer than the one you treat as a piece of furniture. Grab a #2 pencil and let’s get back to work!