Great Onboarding: Lessons from Terrible First Dates
You’ve probably been on a terrible first date. You’ve also (hopefully!) been on an excellent one. Amazing, isn’t it – how different you feel after getting home from an awful date versus a memorable one?
Starting a new job is a lot like a first date. You have the same flutter of excitement mixed with nerves. That feeling of I hope they like me … and I hope I like them. You wonder what to wear, if it’s a good fit, and then scrutinize every detail on the way home.
While a terrible first date is never fun (well, unless it’s so bad it’s funny!), the cost of a poorly onboarded employee is steep.
After spending months searching for the perfect employee, botched onboarding weakens an employee’s decision to join the company and makes them wonder if they should stay or start looking.
Five onboarding lessons learned from terrible dates:
1. Eliminate anxiety
With dating, you’re meeting someone, and it could be the start of something amazing. With a new job, you’re starting something and meeting a host of new people, all at once.
Reach out to your new employee right after the offer is accepted to help them feel connected and engaged with the organization. Give them all the information they need for a successful first day, from the dress code to who they will be meeting with. Knowing what to expect helps keep anxiety at bay.
2. Focus on the First Impression
Your date shows up ungroomed and late. Your new employee shows up and is greeted with a stack of onboarding paperwork, no plan for the day, and a laptop that will be ready in a week or two.
Your new employee expects their onboarding to be as seamless as ordering from Amazon, with intuitive guidance and elegant simplicity. They want to know they made the right decision joining your organization. Poor onboarding makes them question it.
3. Provide a network
While bringing your family along on your first date might not be the best idea, introducing your new employee to the team is an excellent one. Immersing your new hire in the culture and introducing them to key people helps form the foundation of their network, a critical component of employee engagement.
4. Don’t be boring
You have likely been on a dinner date where your date talked at you, sharing their entire life story, without asking a single question. Just like an engaging date, onboarding is a delicate dance of sharing information. New employees have shared feedback on Glassdoor like, “On my first day, [my manager] … took me into his office at 9:00 a.m. and talked. And talked. And talked. He called it my ‘training’ but there was zero instruction involved.”
Dated onboarding is boring. It typically involves a confusing stack of paperwork and nothing planned to actively engage the new employee. It’s also a glaring signal to new employees that they might have made a mistake accepting the job offer.
5. Prioritize Protection
If you’ve ever been on a dating app date, you have probably worried about your personal safety. So, you meet in public and let someone know where you’ll be.
When you join a new company, you share all your sensitive personal information without a second thought, trusting your employer to protect it. As an employer, it is your duty to protect your employee’s data and keep it secure. The safest way to manage it is in a secure, central location that’s SOC 2 Type 2 and GDPR compliant.