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New Year, New Onboarding Process

January 28, 2020 by Kelli Thomason

Some of the most stressful events in a person’s life are experiencing a death, going through a divorce and transitioning jobs. Since I’m not an estate planner or marriage counselor, I’ll focus on transitioning jobs. It is important to understand the stress that your new team member may be feeling, and why it’s critical that your onboarding process is as smooth as possible. You want your new team member to not only be happy about their job choice but to be highly productive, as well.

The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your onboarding process and how you can improve in 2020. Here are four tips to get you started:

  1. Create a Training Schedule
  2. When your new hire shows up on the first day, don’t show them to their office and just expect them to “figure it out.” Give them some time to settle in and schedule important meetings on their behalf. Schedule these meetings in order of importance to their job, including meeting with other members of the team, significant department contacts, and a member of HR. By creating a schedule for them before they first arrive, you are creating a sense of order in an otherwise chaotic process.

  3. Assign a Buddy
  4. Often there are unwritten rules in an office environment that a new employee won’t know, especially while they’re trying to acclimate to their new position. For example, perhaps team members are encouraged to wear only black or navy suits and a new employee chooses tan. Or maybe “casual” days include jeans and a collared shirt versus a t-shirt. If it’s part of the culture, but not explicitly stated, this mentor can help a new employee settle in more quickly.

  5. Be Generous with Swag
  6. All offices have swag to give away—pens or note pads, and probably even t-shirts, koozies, flash drives and more. Make it feel like a celebration when your new employee arrives at their desk. Along with the normal post-it notes, paper, pens, stapler and paperclips, company-branded materials round out the experience by helping the new team member feel part of something bigger. Create an effective workspace without having to show them the supply closet on the first day.

  7. Establish Regular Check-Ins
  8. Make sure that you are having regular check-ins with your new employee—not just that first day or week, but in the following months as well. You will want to make sure that you are establishing a good relationship with your new employee and creating a safe space for them to talk to you. They may be able to give you valuable feedback on your current processes since they bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears.

Onboarding a new team member doesn’t have to be a stressful event for anyone involved. By establishing a warm welcome throughout your onboarding process, you are not only setting your employee up for success for the long-term, but you are also establishing your company’s brand as a great place to work.

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