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Setting your new hire up for success

The day has finally arrived. You placed the perfect ad. Interviewed ideal candidates. Extended an offer to the best prospect. After negotiations, they’ve accepted your offer. And today is their first day at your company.

There’s just one more step in the hiring process: To continue the cycle of success, it’s essential to get your new employee off on the right foot from day one.

Onboarding is the process a new employee moves through as they join your company. It starts the minute they walk through the door on their first day and can last until the end of their first year of employment.

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Hopefully, the new hire is as excited about their new opportunity as you are about adding them to your team. You want to keep their energy and enthusiasm high. This means being prepared and ready for them.

Depending on the position, here are some ways to make the onboarding experience successful:

• Have a warm meet-and-greet with other team members (even if it’s just you) to start the day. Consider a simple breakfast of coffee, juice, fruit salad, and pastries. A 15- to 30-minute event can break the ice.

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• Give the new hire a tour of the office. Let them know where the bathroom is, where the office supplies are, and where the coffee pot is, and let them know what others do for lunch, etc.

• If they have a desk, make sure it’s clean and stocked with the basic office supplies they need. No one wants to start a new job at a desk full of the last person’s crumbs and stray hairs.

• If they will have a computer, make sure it’s set up and ready to go, with all of their required software and access to the network and printer. Ensure their email is set up— before they show up.

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• Training for a new position can be overwhelming to some. Let them know the specifics of their training. Depending on if it will be software- or people-based, let them know what, when, and how they will be learning to do their job.

• Have ready copies of keys, key cards, badges, and other equipment they’ll need to access allowable areas of your facility. In addition, if their job requires business cards, have them printed and ready for them at their desk on their first day; this makes a strong statement.

• Send an email to the team welcoming the new hire, and describe a little bit about their background and experience and why they’re a good addition to the company. Include their contact information and other vital stats.

In addition, pre-arrange for one-on-one kickoff meetings with key contacts within the team. For a salesperson, this might include the sales manager; for warehouse or yard workers, it would be their direct supervisor; for customer service or inside sales, it might be the branch manager. These meetings don’t have to be heavy on details but should simply help the new employee get to know his or her everyday contacts, who can then provide a preliminary overview of how things run, common procedures, and agreed-on best practices. Some companies even include headshots of key leaders in the company with their name and position in the new hire paperwork so they can start to recognize the company leadership.

Set a calendar reminder to check in with them every week for the first month, then bi-weekly for the next two months to make sure they’re feeling confident and to answer any questions they have. Be sure to pay attention and comment on what they do right. It’s nerve-racking to be the new kid on the block, and you want to be sure to pair the constructive feedback with praise or else they’ll feel like they’re failing and decide to leave—just when they’re starting to really get the hang of the job.

The first day, along with the following days and weeks, sets an important tone for what it will be like for the employee to work for you and for the company. By taking extra steps to ensure they feel welcome and well-prepared, they’ll be more likely to hit the ground running.

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