The initial interactions between a new employee and your company can set the stage for the employee’s relationship to the company during his career. Onboarding is the process of introducing the new employee to the company, the company culture, and the position he or she was hired to fill.
When does the onboarding process begin? Is it when the applicant accepts the position? When the applicant fills out the paperwork? When the applicant shows up for the first day of work? Believe it or not, onboarding actually begins when the company reaches out to the applicant for the initial interview.
A good onboarding process will allow the new employee to be productive faster, and to demonstrate tangible contributions quickly. The employee will be engaged earlier, leading to greater job satisfaction and long-term retention.
Full-time employees are not the only ones who benefit from effective onboarding. Temporary, part-time, and contingent workers also gain from understanding the company culture and learning the steps required to work within the system.
Here are a few suggestions for making sure your new employee or contingent employee gets off on the right foot.
- If possible, give the packet of forms to the employee before they report to work for the first time. If the forms are available online, send the employee the URL for completing the forms.
- Make sure the employee knows where to report on the first day.
- Access badges or tokens should be available on day one.
- Network security roles should be defined and assigned prior to the employee’s arrival.
- The work area should be prepared with basic office supplies.
- The computer should be set up with the software needed for the particular job the new employee will be doing.
- A copy of the latest employee handbook, and information about the company should be provided. A map or floor plan is always useful.
- Plan for one or more people to take the new employee to lunch, either on- or off-site. (And new employees should take advantage of this opportunity to pick up some pointers on the company culture.)
- Make sure the employee knows whom to contact when he/she has questions.
- Give the employee some time during the first few days to digest all the new information he/she will receive.
Whether you allow just a few days or a week for onboarding, or if your onboarding process takes three or more months, providing your new employee a great welcome and a little TLC in the beginning will get you both on the path to a productive and engaging partnership.