Question: I am the owner of a small delivery business in Abu Dhabi, and I am preparing to hire for over 12 positions ahead of summer. I need you to give me some guidelines so I can helpthe new employees adjust in such a way that they can understand the company business and contribute to the success of the organization as quickly as possible and stay with us for the long term. What are some of the best ways to attain quick employee integration while achieving maximum working efficiency? Thank you! Omar B.
Answer: Hi Omar. With the economy slightly on the upswing, many companies are starting to go after new employees. That means a lot of first days on the job and a lot of time and money spent waiting for the new hires to get up to speed. But what if you could shrink the time it takes for an employee to reach his or her full potential? That’s the promise of a growing trend in human resources called ‘onboarding’. Onboarding is a comprehensive approach to bringing on new hires that goes beyond simple orientation. Onboarding plans are intended to make new employees familiar with the overall goals of a company, and support them as they embark on early projects, all in an effort to achieve the perception of success (and productivity) quickly. Here’s a 6-step guide to build a successful onboarding program for your new hires.
1. Plan ahead
Begin the process of onboarding the new hire before their actual joining date. Have a detailed plan of what they’ll do and who they’ll meet during their first day at work. On their actual joining date, make sure you’re there to greet new hires with a smile, and to present them with a prepared computer, telephone extension, basic stationery and a clean desk. Show them that you care. Here’s a list of things you should have ready by the time your new hires walk in the door:
• Send out an e-mail to everyone in the office so they’re prepared to welcome a new employee.
• Get the new hire a security badge if they need one.
• Provide a name plate on their desk or office door as a tangible sign that you’ve prepared their space.
• Set up their computer.
• Configure their e-mail account.
• Provide guides for any necessary software he or she will be using.
• Set up their phone system.
2. Have a welcome package
Create a welcome package, or ‘jumpstart kit’, for new hires which would contain everything they need to know. Include information about your company values, mission, vision, and goals, giving them examples of how they’re implemented within the company. You can include some goodies in your package, such as branded stationary, mug or t-shirt, or even something completely unrelated, like a small gift card, as a welcoming gift.
3. Endorse your culture
While you may assume that new hires will learn company culture by socializing with the team, cultural norms can be elusive and ill-communicated, so culture is not something you should leave to chance. Using employee success stories such as ones demonstrating integrity related to business practices or engagement with community organizations can be a really powerful and memorable way to teach organizational culture. Consider developing a video with the help of long-time employees providing specific examples of how your organization’s performance values might play out in everyday life. Here’s what our culture at Bayt.com is like. There’s no better way to make your employees fall in love with your company than by sharing stories in your onboarding program.
4. Involve other people
Make new employees feel comfortable by taking them on a tour of the office and introducing them to employees in all the different departments. You can help new hires to start building relationships with other team members by setting up a ‘buddy’ program. Have one of your existing employees be their ‘buddy’, so that they have a go-to person for all their questions. Bayt.com has a robust buddy program, where the buddy gets recompensed for helping the new joiner integrate into the company. He or she makes sure to take them on a tour to introduce them to other employees; they help them gain a better understanding of how things are done at the company and what is expected of them. The Bayt.com ‘buddy’ is also encouraged to take the new joiner out for lunch or coordinate a lunch with the team on their first day.
5. Nail the small details
The prospect of the first day on the job is nerve-wracking. New hires are eager to impress their new boss so if they don’t know where the photocopier is or how to use it, they probably aren’t going to ask and will waste time trying to figure the little things out for themselves. On the other hand, if you throw everything at them at once, they won’t remember most of it. With an effective onboarding program, you should aim to present basic information in an easy-to-digest fashion, so that a new hire can quickly turn to the more demanding aspects of his or her job.
6. Provide early career support
New hires want to feel productive right away. They want to be able to prove their capabilities and start contributing to the workload. Don’t leave your new employees bored and looking for tasks to take on during their first few days or weeks. Have tasks prepared for them, and give them ample information on how to complete them. Always provide feedback, in order to help them understand what exactly is expected of them, so they can start adjusting immediately. Feedback on a weekly basis in the first month, then monthly or at regular intervals (depending on how quickly they master the nuances of the new role), is also important.
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com.
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