“Welcome to your first day!”
You are met by your leader on the way down the hall to your desk who says, “I am on my way to a meeting, glad you’re here. I will try to catch up with you in about an hour.”
Or for you virtual folks, the new hire receives an email from their supervisor at 7:18pm the night before they are going to start –
“I know tomorrow is your first day, but I have to attend an important meeting. HR is going to work with you first on some paperwork and then we’ll catch up sometime later.”
Neither of these scenarios says, “We are excited you are here!” “You are important!” or “We have planned for your arrival!”
Both of these scenarios leave the new hire –
- Lacking confidence
- Disconnected to your culture, mission and goals
Yes, onboarding is THAT powerful!
Onboarding a new employee is critical to retaining an employee. Expecting anyone to “hit the ground running” is unrealistic and disrespectful.
Even the most experienced employee needs to know their way around and have proper introductions to their job responsibilities, their leader’s expectations and where to get a cup of coffee. (Or again, for you virtual folks, they still need to know what the protocol is for Zoom meetings and who to email to be reimbursed for their at-home office supplies.)
EVERY employee needs to feel valued.
From the minute you receive an acceptance of the offer, the real work begins. You must carefully plan every interaction with the applicant during their notice period and develop a carefully laid out agenda for Day 1 through 5.
Yup, I said it, for ALL 5 days of the first week. And that is a minimum! The higher level a position is in the company, the longer the onboarding process may be.
Successful teams don’t just build themselves. If you want to lead a successful team, you must invest the time and effort at the beginning of each employee’s journey.
Trying to catch up later is unacceptable. Scheduled time with your new hires is imperative as the hiring supervisor.
Something else is more important conveys that they aren’t. Is that the experience you are trying to create?
If you are treating onboarding like an afterthought or completion of new hire paperwork is the extent of your process – you must make a change. This change must happen now.