Too many businesses neglect to have a comprehensive plan in place for the onboarding process of new hires. There are many reasons for this, but the reality is that a solid onboarding plan can work wonders in boosting both productivity and employee retention.
Studies have shown effective onboarding plans can help to retain as much as 91% of new hires, while a strong strategy can also help to boost a team’s productivity by 62%.
Although many businesses acknowledge onboarding a new employee should be planned in advance, too often companies can be found guilty of winging it for large patches of a new hire’s first week.
While the first day of a successful candidate can gain plenty of attention among HR teams, competencies and on-the-job confidence aren’t established in 24 hours, and it’s their all-important first week that can be vital in paving the way for long-term success.
With this in mind, let’s explore seven essential ways that HR personnel can manage a new hire’s first week in their role.
1. Pair Your New Hire Up with a Mentor
One of the first actions you should be taking will revolve around setting up a mentorship program. This can help a new hire to overcome many of their challenges in an unfamiliar company and can also help them to build new relationships in the workplace.
Mentorships can be a quick and inexpensive way to help employees to build authentic connections during the onboarding process and to utilize their mentors for help in overcoming any issues that aren’t covered in their wider onboarding plan.
To set up a mentoring program for new hires, there are a few measures that you can take:
- Firstly, identify an existing employee who would be a great mentor for new employees based on the new hire’s personality fit and ambitions
- In addition to this, it’s worth training your employees on some simple mentoring strategies in advance
- Continually check in with your new hire to ensure that they’re enjoying being paired up with their mentor and are continuing to learn from them.
2. Craft a Welcome Email for Staff
One great approach to take in onboarding a new hire in their first week is to create a company-wide email that introduces existing employees to the candidate, showcasing their name, picture, role, and some relevant and irrelevant facts.
This can be a fun challenge for new employees, who you can task with coming up with three interesting facts about themselves to include in the email.
The goal of this approach is to introduce the new hire to the entire company without having to parade them around the office in person. It can also serve as an excellent icebreaker when meeting colleagues for the first time.
3. Set Clear Expectations and Objectives
Though many HR personnel will be rightly cautious about throwing their new hire in at the deep end, it can be detrimental to assign too little work to an employee who’s likely to be mindful of keeping busy in their environment.
On the first day of their onboarding process, check in with your employee and establish their expectations for the day, and objectives to span the week ahead. Here, you can explain how their workloads will be different in their first week compared to when they get up to speed, and you’ll even be able to reiterate key points about taking more time to ensure that they’re learning while maintaining their productivity.
4. Introduce Employees to Benefits Schemes
The first week of onboarding doesn’t have to be all about setting expectations and team building. Covering some of the perks of the job can also be a great way to combine a little extra motivation from the get-go.
Different companies will feature different workplace benefits, and because they’re not directly linked to onboarding, some workers can go weeks or even months without being introduced to their benefits schemes.
If you’ve set up a discount membership scheme with a local gym or have a discount program featuring a range of retailers, be sure to let your new hire know. Better still, if you’re able to offer a new hire access to free healthcare, such as private medical or optometrist appointments, it could help them detect potential issues that could affect their work. For example, did you know that a quarter of office workers suffer from eyestrain, which is often left untreated? It could do them a world of good to know that their new company has their back from day one.
Benefits can also come in the form of medical insurance schemes, and if they can find a store locally to access vision insurance or other forms of healthcare benefits, the first week is an excellent time to let them know.
5. Spark a Conversation with Your Hire at the End of Each Day
Different hires will have varying levels of comfort and confidence when entering a new workplace. However, very few will view an informal chat at the end of the day as a nuisance.
Here, it’s possible to very briefly check in with the employee before they head home and ask them how their day went, and if they have any concerns or questions.
Although they’ll be paired up with a mentor in this first week, they may be more open with HR personnel, particularly those who they met throughout the interview process.
Above all else, having a quick conversation with a new hire at the end of the day will help them to feel that they’re more supported within the company, and can help to foster more of a sense of belonging.
6. Set Up Work Lunches with Different Teams
Another great way of ensuring that a new employee is given the best chance of fitting into their new environment quickly is to set up lunches with different team members or groups.
These lunches could take place externally from the office which can help employees to discover new places to spend their time outside of the office and to quickly establish a social group that they’re comfortable in within the office.
7. Review the First Week
Finally, at the end of their first week, set up a meeting with your new hire to discuss how they thought their early days with the company have gone.
This will provide them with an opportunity to express early concerns or to ask questions based on their observations from the previous week.
First impressions mean a lot when it comes to starting at a new company, and for many employees, their first days in a new environment can be daunting and confusing. It’s for this reason that a comprehensive onboarding plan for the first week in a company can be so effective.
When developing an onboarding plan that suits your company, be sure to cater to the entirety of their first week and beyond. This approach could be key for creating a more functional working environment that your new hires can thrive in.