As we mentioned in an earlier post, it’s so important to embed culture into your onboarding process. As much as this is about sharing the company’s history, vision, mission, stated values and goals, it’s also about reflecting the way people dress, their behaviour at work, your brand, and what you stand for.
But culture isn’t something anyone can pick up in a day. And it’s often the hardest transition for a new employee to make. So how do you make sure that each new employee is successfully embedded into your company culture, right from day one?
1. Don’t go quiet
Instead of keeping the communication flowing, lots of companies go quiet after the offer letter is signed. They simply inform the new hire where and when to show up and leave it at that.
By making the mistake of closing down communication with the new employee at this stage, you lose out on a valuable opportunity to get them off to a really great start.
2. Put pre-employment time to good use
You can put this period (which is often around four weeks, but can be much longer) to good use by prepping new hires for what to expect once they begin. This is where your culture and values communication is vital.
This is also a great time to get all the tax forms and HR paperwork done and dusted. This way, you clear their first day from the traditional stack of routine HR paperwork.
You can also use this pre-employment time to share information about your office and have them read and accept all your workplace policies. Give them information about the office locality, along with great tips on where to eat, and other things of interest.
3. Prep first day essentials
In readiness for your new hire, it’s critical to take care of all those first day essentials such as preparing their work area or office space and kitting it out with all the necessary supplies.
Provisioning technology, access cards, and other equipment well ahead of the start date, makes sure it’s all ready and waiting for them.
4. Assign a buddy or mentor
Mentors and buddies play an important role in helping the new hire understand and appreciate your company culture. Thus, it’s a good idea to team your new starter up with one who will be instrumental in many of the activities that are planned for the first day or even first weeks in the new job.
5. Give them a warm welcome
Helping immerse new hires into your organisation smoothly and efficiently calls for a team effort. So, ensure their first day has an office or workplace tour with their buddy or mentor to meet as many people as possible, and answer any questions they may have about the business, the people or its culture.
Scheduling different kinds of meetings and lunches, or even things after work also helps your new starters to understand and get to know the people they’ll be working with. This, of course, all needs to be planned with military precision.
6. Assign real work
It’s important to arrange a kick-off meeting with their manager to explain the expectations of the role, and just as important to assign straightforward tasks to the new starter.
The trick is to give your new hires a taste of what it’s really like to work at your company from day one without overloading them with too much work before they’re ready. It’s easy to overlook the need to give new hires the opportunity to be involved in something substantial, right from the get-go.
As we mentioned in our recent blog on probationary periods, it’s important to give your new hires suitably challenging work, and something meaningful to sink their teeth into during the onboarding process.
During the early weeks make sure you’ve scheduled enough regular check-ins with their manager to evaluate their progress and see how they’re adjusting. You can also use these meetings to evaluate training needs or reset objectives.
Remember, a good employee onboarding process helps make your new hires familiar with company culture, knowledge, and behaviour, as well as their performance expectations so they can adjust to your workplace faster. This helps them become productive in a shorter timeframe, and in turn, a valuable member of your team.
So, think about starting your onboarding program from the moment they accept your offer – rather than their first day on the job.
An online HR system like Employment Hero can help you automate the workflow around onboarding. This allows you to trigger all the necessary team meetings, introductions, and check-ins, and assign a mentor, without fear of missing anything. You can keep new hires busy with a highly-structured schedule for the first couple of weeks followed by regular check-ins until they are comfortable setting their own pace.