Once you’ve found the perfect candidate to join your team, all your hard work doesn’t stop there.. The first few weeks are some of the most formative, and set the tone for their relationship with the business in the long term. Consequently, having an effective onboarding process is essential for easing the transition and setting the new employee up for success.
Successful onboarding processes reflect the time and effort put into them, so, here is our advice on onboarding best practices to help you get it right.
Get Organised Beforehand
Whilst onboarding doesn’t officially commence until the employee’s first day, it’s key to think of it as a process that begins much earlier. Some of these might be obvious but nonetheless, are still important to cover.
Anticipate what equipment and information the new hire will need to get started and have them ready ahead of time. For example, is the work station/computer ready? Are log in details set up? Is a phone available? Are business cards and other stationery ready or on order?
Likewise, prepare any necessary paperwork prior to the hire’s first day so that you can dive straight in when they arrive. Make sure that they know what to expect and have been briefed on details such as the company dress code, parking and start times.
Connect to the Team
Before the start date, send an announcement to all employees (in-person or via email) welcoming the new hire to the business. Let the team know about the person’s role, experience and what they’ll be doing, so they can be prepared to provide assistance if needed.
Make sure that the new hire knows who is in their team and who they should go to for help in different areas. Consider providing a company chart to help them familiarise themselves – depending on business size, this could either be a seating chart or an organisational chart showing who is in which department and how they relate. This is particularly useful in large companies where there are a lot of people and departments to get to know.
Have a plan in place to ensure that the new hire meets with key colleagues and departments during their early days or weeks. If practical, it may be helpful to give the new employee a tour around the office and introduce them to colleagues on the first day. Whilst you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many faces at once, the eventual goal should be to help them get to know people not just within their own team, but in the wider business. Additionally, think about holding a team lunch or after work drinks to allow the new starter to get acquainted with colleagues in a more casual setting.
Provide Training and Support
Training is a critical aspect of employee onboarding, as it helps new employees find their feet, enables them to start working as quickly as possible, and sets a precedent for consistent internal standards and processes. The amount and depth of training will always vary between companies and roles, but it’s important to set aside time to ensure it is done properly. Inadequate training will only leave the new employee feeling confused and frustrated.
It’s important not to make assumptions about the new hire’s knowledge – even if they have performed in a similar role elsewhere, there are always differences between companies. Whilst they may have a good grasp on the role, they won’t automatically know every rule, process, procedure and expectation. Consequently, an effective training plan will be adaptable and will respond to the needs and circumstances of both the individual and the business.
Set Goals and Track Progress
Goal setting is an aspect that is often overlooked, but it can one of the most critical onboarding steps. Your new hire needs to know what to expect and what is expected of them. Establishing clear goals, as well as 30-, 60- and 90-day plans, gives the new employee an idea of what they should be achieving, and provides managers with a way to assess how they’re developing along the way.
Starting a new job can be quite a stressful time for the new hire, and tracking their progress against these goals will help reduce anxiety. Both the employee and their manager will be able to see results and recognise where they need more help, without having to wait for that first performance review.
Check in Throughout the Process
Successful onboarding doesn’t happen overnight but is a process that can sometimes stretch over several months. Even if it appears the new hire has hit the ground running, be prepared to check in regularly, and schedule catch-ups so they can address any concerns that may arise and receive feedback on their progress.
Take the time to observe and ask questions. Do they understand the business and their role? Do they need any additional training or support in any areas? Don’t forget to celebrate successes as well. Even recognition as simple as noting the new employee’s efforts in a team meeting can confirm that their work is valued and help keep them motivated.
By putting the necessary time and effort into an onboarding process and following the above tips, you’ll be able to help your new hire start off on the right foot. The sooner they can understand their role and feel part of the team, the sooner you will start to see results.
If you’d like more advice on employee onboarding or support with your Accounting, Finance and Technology recruitment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team in Sydney.