Onboarding New Employees

How many people does it take to onboard a new employee?

The first thought that comes to mind is simple: one – the onboarding manager. While some companies (most I’m willing to bet) take that unfortunate approach to new employee onboarding, maximizing a new employee’s success and overall value to the company takes a lot more than one person. It takes a village. 

One of the top skills employers seek out in candidates is the ability to work with a team. Yet, many companies fail to immerse new employees in the team dynamic until they have acclimated to their role. The intention might be to avoid overwhelming them but, in reality, having the chance to jump right in with the people they will be working beside is extremely valuable not just throughout the entirety of their career, but in the early stages of new hire onboarding.

Making new employee onboarding a team effort can be done easily with the right steps and might even elicit, dare I say, joy in teams. For all the mistaken companies out there that feel onboarding is a one person job, here are some tips on how to evolve your onboarding to be a team effort!

1. Give “The Tour”

First and foremost, new employees want a tour! This is an essential part of getting comfortable and feeling like you belong and it should go beyond the office bathroom and break room. Managers are faced with a great opportunity to show new employees where things are located, emergency procedures, and one-on-one time welcoming them to the company. Even better, managers can take new employees around to different departments and start making introductions.

Did you know, according to SHRM’s 2015 Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction study, the top two contributors to employee job satisfaction in 2014 were respectful treatment of all employees at all levels (72%) and trust between employees and senior management (64%)? This is exactly why managers should take time during the onboarding process to show new employees what the dynamics are and how everyone interacts with each other.

  • Make it happen: Managers can collaborate with company leadership, department heads and team members to give the new employee a warm and happy welcome. Furthermore, when facilitating introductions, managers can educate new employees with an overview of what each department does. Introductions are an important part of the onboarding process and making the most of them can have a greater effect than you might think.

2. Assign a Buddy

As someone who is in a new environment, surrounded by strangers, it helps to feel like someone’s got your back. Imagine the only contact you essentially have in your first few days of a new job is your manager. As accommodating and welcoming this manager might be, the dynamic between two mutual employees is much more impactful on a new employee’s attitude and impression. What’s more is that having the right person assigned as a mentor can accelerate knowledge transfer and on-the-job training and ensure that the right policies and procedures are being carried out.

  • Try it out: One way to decide on a mentor is to have a face-to-face meeting with the new employee to gauge their personality (or request a personality assessment). Then, find an employee that best fits the bill to mentor them so that there is a natural, flowing chemistry. The sooner a new employee can feel comfortable in their space and with a new team, the sooner they can start contributing to the company.

3. Celebrate as a Team

Managers are often in such a hurry to get new employees up to speed that they forget to make their first weeks feel extraordinary. This is wrong. As much as 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days of new employment and let’s not forget you only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it mean something. Celebrating a new employee’s milestones gives managers the opportunity to build on and reinforce that person’s strengths with positive feedback, encourages social interaction and team building between team members and doesn’t leave new employees feeling like they’re on this new journey alone.

  • Jumpstart team building: Achieving a great first impression can be done many ways, but the most effective way to facilitate this team building is to make it happen frequently, whether it’s small or big gatherings. For example, organizing a small celebration for a new employee’s first week or month is great for making that person feel valued and appreciated and gives the team a chance to interact on a more social level.

Be the Trailblazer

Onboarding new employees is too often put on the backburner by some companies, which is a shame. Did you know companies with standard onboarding processes experience 50% greater new hire retention and 54% greater new hire productivity? It’s time to make the onboarding process something to remember and strength in numbers is what will make that happen. What have you got to lose?

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