On-boarding – get it right or else!

So you have invested lots of time and resources into identifying your new hire. As day one approaches have you really thought through the on-boarding process and the benefits that are to be gained from having a well-planned strategy, as opposed to the ramifications of getting it wrong!

For any new starter their emotions will be a heady mix of anticipation and excitement. Having decided to leave their last role and join your organisation, they have made a huge life choice. They will have considered a lot about your business, information gained from the selection process, their own research and hopefully from your recruitment partner. However, as they walk through the door on that first day, reality strikes and with it, quite possibly a level of anxiety.

Now is a really critical time for you to welcome them in to your business and identify a path that will integrate them into the team, ensuring that they are quick to make a positive impact and leave them feeling rewarded, valued and in full knowledge of having made the right choice for themselves and those around them. Surely you wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?

Perhaps you would be surprised at the number of candidates we speak to who have been through poor induction and on-boarding experiences with their current employers and the contribution that this has in forming a negative of their time there. Like many aspects of building a winning culture, on-boarding does not have to be complicated, but it does have to be planned and importantly, delivered.

Here are some of the areas that should be considered when drawing up any on-boarding plan. Even if your company already has plan in place, you can add to it, making it as relevant and rewarding as possible for your team.

  • It is imperative that you have their desk ready to for them, their PC/Laptop, phone/PDA, email and relevant log-ins, all up and running. The impact of your not being ready is unlikely to leave any new starter with a very good first impression on the business that they have just committed themselves to.
  • A quick walk around the premises, showing them their desk, the bathroom and the coffee making facilities doesn’t really cut it either! Of course, you may well have shown them around the site and the facilities during the selection process. Every business and team will have a unique culture, processes and quirks. Any welcome pack should include information on all of these areas so that your new hire can quickly grasp the fundamentals of your business. This can be a (relatively) light hearted document that acts as a quick reference and familiarisation guide. Aside from the obvious, this can contain useful information such as reviews of great little delis nearby, what time the sandwich van does its rounds, where the nearest dry cleaners is, who won recent employee awards and why, etc.
  • There will always be a need to go through an induction process, bringing the new hire up to speed with certain processes and housekeeping methods, but think, is this best done when they first start, or can it wait a few hours or days before they are taken step by step through the company handbook.
  • It is important that that they meet the team, both formally and informally. It is often a good idea to get team members to take them out to lunch in the first week. Although it’s well worth remembering that in any team you will have members that range from hugely pro the company through to those that are somewhat anti – so choose wisely! The same goes when choosing a mentor.
  • Ensure that you have something that they can get their teeth stuck into straight away. This could be any form of project, but it is a good idea to make it something that is not too stretching and yet leaves them feeling that they are making a positive contribution. Remember throughout to praise and coach, not criticise.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, SEE IT THROUGH. Make sure that having set out a plan for the first few days, weeks and months that you stick to it. Yes you will have numerous distractions throughout the on-boarding period, but no matter what, you need to make sure that you are seen to own the process and not to be making excuses, or perceived as begrudgingly sticking to the plan. Your new team member’s perception of you as a manager and your company will have a direct impact on their immediate and future productivity, so plan well, make it personal and don’t deviate.

Follow this through and you will be well placed to get the most from the talented individual that you have just invested so many resources in identifying, selecting and persuading them to join your team and not the competition!

At Hanson Hunt we aim to provide a comprehensive approach to your recruitment needs. We have years of experience in recruiting and retaining talent and we love nothing more than to share this with our clients. If you are looking to recruit whilst benefiting from working with a consultant who is focussed on helping you build the best team and maximise their return, then please call Simon Hunt today on 020 7871 6770, or drop me an email at simon.hunt@hanson-hunt.com