Your employee induction process is often what makes or breaks an employee’s experience at a company. A great induction or on boarding experience helps settle your new employee in, and avoid workplace issues in the future. Here are 10 tips to make it great!
A successful employee induction process sets up an employee for a great experience with your company; however, if this process does not go so well, it is more likely your new employee will have a difficult time at your company, perhaps even resigning down the track.
For this reason, employee onboarding should be taken quite seriously. You need to quickly determine what you can do to maximise the likelihood that an employee will be successful with the company and then focus your induction around these activities.
Here are 9 methods to add to your employee induction checklist to ensure a great on boarding experience for your next hire.
Prepare an induction checklist
When we first started, we’d just try and remember what we needed to take a new employee through. Now, we have a 3 page document that outlines pre-start (things like computer set-up, email set-up, etc) on the first day (show emergency exits, explain software, etc) and first week (training sessions, larger overview of organisation).
It needn’t even be that long, however I would recommend at least some form of checklist that covers the basics of your employee induction process. For example, you can include items such as;
- Introduction to team leader or direct manager
- Performance standards and expectations of new employee
- Office/work times
- Introduction to team members
- Team roles and responsibilities
- Organisational chart
- Layout of office – I use a hand drawn map where people sit, and put their names and roles on there too.
- Security issues and access to the office
- Safety procedures
Make them feel welcome
It’s quite easy to become so fixated on getting your new employee up-to-speed that you forget to encourage them to feel welcome. There are a number of activities you can do, besides the usual ‘walk around and introduce them to everyone’. For example;
- Get the team together and go around in the group and ask each individual to tell everyone something unique about themselves.
- Buy a couple of helium balloons and tie them to the new employee’s desk.
- Get everyone to sign a ‘welcome to the team’ card.
- Enjoy a team lunch on their first day
- Post a welcome on your company social media accounts.
Have a job description
A job description doesn’t need to be long and academic. I prefer a one single page approach, where we list the most important duties, as well as experience and skills.
For example, we keep ours strictly to one page with the following headings;
- Role title
- Last updated
- Authored by
- Position statement (literally a few paragraphs)
- Key tasks (normally a list of dot points)
- Role requirements (more dot points)
These needn’t be long, however it is very important they are truly reflective of the role; I make a point of reviewing these every year with the people who are actually employed in these roles.
Encourage your whole team to be involved
When many people think of employee induction, they have a vision of sitting in a conference room while a single presenter delivers a long-winded PowerPoint presentation for hours on end.
We encourage a different approach. Sure, have a checklist as I’ve mentioned above, however encourage different topic experts to deliver each segment, and spread it over a few days, to avoid overwhelming your new employee all in one day.
Discuss your company values and vision
In the first few days, it is vital that you sit down with the new employee, and take them through your company values and vision and what they all mean. Ask your recruit what the values mean to them, and if they have any questions.
You will find this a lot easier if you prepare a good document that helps explain your company values beforehand. We’ve written an article, Creating company values that boost company culture which goes into depth on this topic.
Encourage social interaction with your team
If you can, ensure that your new person has a team member or two that they can rely on to ask questions and help them settle in. It’s a good idea to encourage the team to all pitch in and help with the small things, such as good places nearby to eat, etc.
One activity we always try to do is have a Friday drinks at the end of the new employees first week. This gives the team a chance to unwind together, and interact with their new colleague in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Outline your expectations clearly
Although your role description will carry some of the detail, it is important to lead each employee through the expectations you for them, along with why they are important to the company success.
For example, if you have a policy around booking leave in advance, ensure you explain the policy (bonus points if you have it documented somewhere!) and give a reason why, for example ‘We ask that people give four weeks notice, so we can prepare your colleagues to cover your workload effectively whilst you are away’.
There are many situations that policies or at least documentation could be created for the benefit of communication. Anything you expect, you cannot just assume that new hires, or even existing employees, will just now by instinct.
Look for creative ways to welcome your new hire
For example, at Australian startup, Appbot, they give all new employees a gift of a ‘cubebot’. See this article, How Appbot works on creating a great culture, written by one of the co-founders, for more information on that.
At Blinds.com they create a custom welcome video (here’s an example) before their first day on the job. They also get a tour of the entire business with the CEO, Jay Steinfeld.
At Bonobos, the hiring manager sends out an e-mail to the entire company introducing a new employee. The e-mail includes a brief biography and a photograph of the employee. It also includes a trivia game that is called “Two truths and a lie.”
These are fun facts about the new employee, but only two of the three are true. In order to figure out the lie, employees are encouraged to meet the new employee. The first person to identify the lie correctly gets a $25 store credit.
Follow up regularly
Don’t just complete your first weeks induction and leave it! Schedule a face to face with the new employee after a few weeks, and find out what is going on with them, what challenges they have found integrating with your team, etc.
It is vital in those early days that you are easily accessible by any new employee, so they can learn and understand your expectations and vision for the team.
Ask your new employee for feedback
The best way to improve your employee induction process is to ask your recent hires about their experiences. For example, these three questions normally yield some good answers;
- What is something you wish we had explained better in the first week?
- What’s one piece of advice you would give to the next person who is hired?
- How could we have done a better job of your induction? What could be improved?
This gives you great feedback to consider and include in your future inductions, as your team grows.
New employees need to feel at home, and become as productive as possible in the shortest amount of time. A little effort from management and some planning around your employee induction process can reap the rewards for everyone, quickly.
The nine points we raised, again are;
- Prepare an induction checklist
- Make them feel welcome
- Have a job description
- Encourage your whole team to be involved
- Discuss your company values and vision
- Encourage social interaction with your team
- Outline your expectations clearly
- Look for creative ways to welcome your new hire
- Follow up regularly
- Ask your new employee for feedback
All the best with your next hire, and congratulations for growing the team!