Posted on July 2018 By Luke Day
There are a number of things to consider on the days leading up to a new employee starting with your company. Luke Day shares the key considerations.
Getting onboarding right can pay enormous dividends. As a recently onboarded employee here at Speller I’d like to share some observations about my own experience, offering some suggestions on how to make your new team member feel welcome, and insights into why properly preparing them to hit the ground running is in your organisation’s best interest.
Let’s start at the start…
For the first few days, I was told to come into the office slightly later than the rest of my time. This gave everyone on the team an opportunity to settle and enabled my manager to give me their full attention to walk me through things.
Insight: For employers, this gives you that bit of extra time first thing to check your email and deal with anything urgent before turning your attention to your new starter.
I was introduced to everyone quickly and made to feel a part of the team early in my first week. This made it easier for me to get a sense of the culture as well, which can be as important as a skills-based match.
Insight: Introductions to a few key people early in that first week are very important, giving your new starter a couple of other points of contact to assist with any of their questions.
Part of the team
Even as a new hire, I was made to feel part of the team from the get go. Being included in discussions and meetings right off the bat – even if it was being thrown in the deep end – helped me feel involved very quickly with the work.
Insight: Your new starter may have new ideas and a fresh perspective. Including them early in meetings and discussions as soon as possible will ensure you’re establishing the right conditions for them to show initiative and share their knowledge from the word ‘go’!
Take a break
The Speller team took me out to lunch and coffee breaks, which enabled me to bond with my new colleagues more quickly than perhaps otherwise.
Insight: Removing yourself from the office environment for a quick coffee or team lunch will help your new starter feel welcomed and accepted more quickly. Plus, it will give you a chance to get to know them better!
Even as a new hire, I was able to access the appropriate systems from day one. This meant I was never stuck waiting around for permission to do my job or borrowing other colleague’s details (a known IT security risk).
Insight: Productivity is key. You want your new starter – especially a contractor – to have access and be productive from day one. Ensure the IT department is aware of their arrival and has the relevant log-ins ready to use, so that their desk/workstation/PC and phone is ready for them to start using straight away.
Having a clean and fully stocked desk – including stationery – really helped me settle in very quickly, making it easy for me to get straight into a comfortable and productive state.
Insight: It’s easy to forget the small stuff. Doing so however can make your new team member feel undervalued. Make sure they have a pen/paper/notebook ready at the very least, so they can start writing down key information from the get go.
Different team members showed me how to use different things, i.e. the office manager walked me through the online portal for my tax and super forms and showed me how to use the phone. Someone else walked me through the database, so I could see how to search for candidates and clients, and add comments.
Insight: Using different team members to do different inductions and training not only frees up some of your time, it also introduces the new starter to different ways of doing things – encouraging such lateral thinking is itself a useful and lasting thing. And because multiple people are investing to help the new hire succeed, everyone is made to feel more involved in the outcomes of training.
I was brought up to speed with the expectations and internal processes such as profiling candidates, taking references, searching CVs and using the database correctly very quickly. I feel this is important for any new starter in any business, as it helps them understand the work they’re tasked to do and begin contributing sooner.
Insight: Every company does things slightly differently. By bringing your new starter up to speed with important, relevant processes, key dates and timelines early in the picture, you’re ensuring that they understand project requirements and become an effective part of your team much more quickly.
Bringing on a new starter can be a relief when projects are busy and time is short. After all, having someone to help with the workload and bring in new ideas is always a good thing!
However, it also means key onboarding tasks can be overlooked.
In my case, Speller had work that I could get stuck into fairly quickly, which proved far more motivating than sitting around wondering what I could do or waiting to be told. And, they had a team and a system in place, ready to help the new person find their feet.
Even if there isn’t that same level of work to introduce to a beginner, that time is still valuable for both the new hire and the company – so use it well.
Have a checklist of which items are crucial, and who they can be completed by. It’s a great way to ensure your new starter is every bit as helpful and efficient as they can be, right from day one!