For many organisations the start of a new year also prompts a fresh intake of new starters. So it’s the perfect time to give a little thought to how you can best help them get settled in. It won’t surprise you to hear that there’s a wealth of research showing a clear link between thoughtful, well-planned on boarding of new joiners and higher rates of productivity, job satisfaction and morale. There’s also an impact on staff retention, with studies also showing that when companies put a bit of thought into supporting their new starters through the early days and weeks of their employment, their staff are much more likely to stay for longer. Yet too often this activity is half-hearted and disorganised – which can be enormously stressful and demotivating for new employees.
So what key things can you do to help get your new starters onboard quickly and performing?
Here’s My New Starter Checklist
1. Nothing Beats A Genuinely Warm Welcome And Some Effort To Make Them Feel Part Of The Team From Day1: So take care of the essential housekeeping – ensure someone is there to meet them on their first day, and their work station and all necessary tools and equipment have been organised in advance.
2. Arrange A Mentor/Buddy: An experienced and approachable colleague who can show them around, introduce them to other team members, talk them through all the ‘how things get done around here’ activities and processes, answer questions and be a supportive point of contact. Arrange for them to meet with other key colleagues too, over the coming days.
3. Spend Time Giving Them Some Background To Your Organisation: Its history, values, culture and vision, and – perhaps most importantly – how you see them and their role fitting into the bigger company picture. Done well, this can be a hugely motivating and reassuring reminder to your new joiner that they made the right decision in coming to work for you.
4. Clarify Your Expectations Of What Success In The Job Looks Like: What are you expecting of them in their role – and what standards of performance and behaviour are you looking for? Give them some tasks to start working on straight away as well as setting a few bigger, longer term goals. Let them know how, and when, you will be reviewing their performance over the coming months. This is particularly important if you have started them off on an initial probationary period.
5. Check Back That They Are Comfortable With Everything And Know Who To Ask For Help: Ensure they are ok with what’s required of them in their role and that they’ll feel comfortable asking questions or raising issues as and when they arise. Discuss and schedule any essential job-specific training they might need.
Effective on boarding needn’t be overly structured or onerous, but can have an enormously positive impact on motivation and performance, and if done properly will get your working relationship with each new employee off to a truly great start.
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Photo Credit: First Day Of School by Ian D. Keating