Written by: Natalie Koski
Download: Onboarding Team Members Reminders!
Hiring new team members can take a lot of time, energy, and resources, and it can be disheartening
when they leave a few months after starting. There are many reasons someone might leave: not the
right culture fit, expectations do not match reality, not enough work to be constantly busy, etc.
However, one reason people tend to overlook is how they were onboarded (different than orientation)
into the company and role.
Orientation is a one to two-day event where a new team member learns about the company, its history,
and its policies. Onboarding is the process of integrating a new team member into the company and
providing them the resources and information needed to become a productive team member. This
starts before their first day and can last for a whole year.
Getting this process right will set new team members up for success and, hopefully, retain them for
many years to come. Therefore, to help you upgrade or get you started on creating an onboarding
process, here are three things to consider:
- Ensure it is completely planned out and organized
- Involve other team members
- Personalize the process for each person
Plan and Organize
Even though your new team member accepted the position, they will be judging you on how prepared
you are to bring them on in this role. Therefore, it is critical that you take time to think through what
they will need so they can be productive as soon as possible. Some crucial items to think about are
equipment and resources, position specific training, projects, and conducting 30.60.90 Day Reviews.
Once you have made a list of what is needed, the next step is to create a plan so everything is ready to
go once the team member starts. Order any equipment and additional resources as soon as possible so
you have time to set it up before their first day. Once you have ordered those, collect hiring paperwork,
training materials, and create new team member specific documents (such as a login information sheet)
to provide them with when they start.
Lastly, while you may want to complete everything (training, company and role overview, and
introducing them to everyone) on the first day, the reality is your new team member will be
overwhelmed if you do. Therefore, create a first day, week, and month agenda to space these out. Focus
on the most important items during the first week, such as reviewing policies, crucial projects, and
critical training, and go from there. Provide the new team member with this agenda so they know what
to expect each day and can come better prepared.
Have you ever gone to an event and everyone in the room knew each other but you did not? If you have
you know it can be very uncomfortable. If you have not, you are very lucky; it’s not something you want
your new team member to go through. A way to combat this is to involve current team members into
the process, especially early on. A few easy ways to do this are having the team send the new team
member a welcome email, include a team member(s) in project overviews, and assign team members to
train them on a topics that a manager or HR does not need to do. This will also help the new team
member meet others faster, so they feel more part of the team from the beginning.
Personalize the Process
The best gifts are those that are thoughtful and specific to the person receiving the gift. Keep this in
mind when creating your onboarding process. Obviously, much of it will be the same from person to
person but find ways to make it unique to each person. A great way to do this is to have them fill out a
questionnaire about themselves. You can be sneaky and include questions focused on their favorite
things. Use this information to your advantage to make them feel as welcome as possible. If their
favorite snack is popcorn, include that in their welcome package.
Consequently, personalizing does not just mean buying things specific to them; it also means creating a
feeling in the new team member that they are the most important person to you and the rest of the
team. You can do this by assigning a team member to greet them when they first arrive, providing a
team lunch on their first day, and allowing time during their first two weeks for team members to spend
one-on-one time with them.
Now these are not 100% guaranteed to keep every new hire with your company until they retire, but
hopefully it will keep enough for you to see a return on your investment. There is a lot more that goes
into bringing on a new team member than just filling out paperwork and reviewing policies. You must
take the time to get to know them and provide them with tools and resources so they will buy into your
company. People are a business’ greatest asset; be sure to treat them well from the beginning.