We recently added a new employee at HRM. Carrie Nicholson joined us as our Director of People Placement. Getting her started and setting up an onboarding process was an automatic thing for us to do. However, I’ve noticed that with some of the companies we work with, onboarding is a term which is well known in HR, but can often get you a blank look when you mention it to other parts of the organization.
To start, onboarding is a more comprehensive form of a new hire orientation. The typical 2 hour new hire orientation presentation is supposed to fully inform an employee about the history of the company, get them to sign the handbook, apply for benefits, learn safety rules, and be ready to roll by 10:00 a.m. Onboarding goes beyond that and should help to fully initiate a new employee onto the team.
Here’s why onboarding is important: When you hire a new person, there’s a lot of anxiety – on both sides. Effective onboarding can help to lessen that anxiety. Here are some key things you can do to make the onboarding process go smoothly.
1. Set a specific schedule. Do this for the first week or so of employment and send it to your new employee in advance. Removal of some of the unknowns is a great way to reduce stress.
2. Explain the overall mission of the organization and how this position fits into the bigger picture. How will this position impact the organization?
3. Introduce your new person to the rest of the team and not just “Hi, this is Sue,” but “Hi, this is Sue and she’s going to be helping you do X, X, and X.”
4. Feed him. Meals are important to me, and so are people, so it was pretty uncomfortable when I started my very first professional job and got deserted by the entire HR department on my first day at noon. At a minimum, have a plan in place to feed your new person until he can develop a lunch plan of his own.
5. Communicate your performance expectations. What are the key measureables? How will they be evaluated?
6. Teach her about your company’s products. Do you make widgets? Have your new person spend time in the plant making them. If it’s not practical to do that, have her job shadow someone who does.
7. Explain the office nuances. Every office has their quirks and rules. Do you bring your own coffee cup or use the ones there? Do you pay for coffee or is it provided? Don’t make your new person learn the rules after they’ve just dropped the favorite coffee cup of your crabbiest employee.
When it comes to onboarding new employees, Carrie was really easy. In part, because I’ve hired her twice before: Once as a supplier when she was a manager with Kelly Services and then several years later we hired as the HR Manager at ASMO when we hired her to manage the process she had set up.
I must do a fair job with the onboarding, she keeps coming back, or maybe it’s just the food….