New hires are often overwhelmed on their first day – especially when the orientation program includes long lists of procedures, tasks, company policies, introductions to co-workers, compliance requirements, and all the technical aspects of employment. It’s difficult for new hires to absorb and retain much of the information conveyed during orientation, this is why follow up is critical.
So first-day orientation, while important, isn’t the end of onboarding. Onboarding is a larger process that begins before the start date and continues through most of the first year, done properly it will provide a seamless, efficient and effective new hire experience.
It All Begins Here
Remember when you started. When did you receive and sign your offer letter? How soon did you start? Did you have communication between your hire and start dates? If there was communication, what form was it in? What did it say? What materials were provided? Hopefully you received a reminder to bring valid identification as well as signed copies of employment documentation (offer letter, employee handbook acknowledgment, I9, and a W4).
Onboarding documents, such as a Welcome Packet, are sent as part of the series of communication before your employee’s start date. These documents provide an overview to help set expectations. They also give your new hire time to review information and arrive for their first day prepared and ready!
Standardized new hire onboarding communication decreases the work and relieves much of the effort creating this experience for each new hire. This will also help you build a consistently reinforced employer brand with each new employee.
While some items in the onboarding process can be conveyed via bullet points in an email (direct deposit setup, background check, dress code, etc.) others need to be more thoroughly and clearly communicated. The Welcome Packet you create does just that.
A Good Heads-up Will Lower Anxiety
We like the Golden Rule when it comes to a new employee orientation checklist: When starting a new job, would you want your new company to send you a generic welcome email before your first day, or more personalized and detailed information to get you ready for your new position.
Provide new employees with a sense of transparency with the materials your company provides in their Welcome Packet. Include information to give them a heads-up (maybe refrigerator lunchroom rules or the temperature in the office). When appropriate an email introduction to team members or a request for a short personal bio for a welcome announcement to the company.
Providing a snapshot of coworkers (just the basics) first name, face, and function. These basic three can prove to be helpful when your new hire first meets their coworkers. This information can also help lower anxiety.
New hire expects an HR orientation on their first day. How long will orientation take 60 minutes, a full workday? What needs to be covered? What questions should be asked? These are the types of things new hires are thinking about. Introductions, new hire paperwork, lines of communication, different team members, understanding the new role and expectations of performance are all unanswered question new hires want and need to know.
Start by sending Welcome Packets a week before the new hire start date. This provides basic information and answers questions and concerns before that often stressful first day.
As we all know, first impressions matter! The first day is a major part of the onboarding process. This is where your company makes its first impression. This is why it’s essential to get things off to a proper start. Providing a detailed look at the agenda will keep you and your new hire on the same page and help ease the stresses of day one.
Onboarding is about employee perception and experience, providing a platform for successful employment. It doesn’t stop after the first day. It’s not unusual for new hires to take as much as 6 months to a year to fully get up and running in all aspects of their new employment. The all important 90 day review should include a review with not just the employees manager but with the HR department. This provides the perfect opportunity to ask about their experience and opinion of the onboarding process.
This is why it’s important to have a plan that extends out 90 days to as long as 6 months.
Once the onboarding is complete, check for understanding, track your results, examine any gaps, incorporate feedback to improve your future Welcome Packets.
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