Your on-boarding experience as a new employee sets the tone for how you should expect the rest of your journey with a company to be. The interview process actually sets the tone but we are going to skip over that part of the process and hop right into on-boarding new employees.
So you just decided to offer someone a position with your company or on your team and they start in two weeks. What is your process and is it the same with all new employees? As a seasoned corporate professional, I have seen many new employees on-boarded. Here are just a few on-boarding scenarios I have witnessed over the years:
Info Overload - This is where you spend the entire first day with HR filling out paperwork and learning the corporate rules and regulations all packed into a single day and if you are lucky, they brought lunch in. In this scenario, the new employee is often overloaded with information and starting to think they just signed up for a career filled with stale paperwork and processes that are more important than actual people.
DIY On-boarding - If you have a creative person on your team, DIY on-boarding can be done very well. But typically, DIY on-boarding is when team members rummage through their desks looking for chachkies or office supplies they don't use and "gift" them to the new employee in such a way that when the new employee arrives to their desk, it looks like someone emptied their junk drawer into a gift bag that says "Welcome." Sometimes in the DIY on-boarding scenario, a team member will gift a plant that isn't thriving under their care. A plant on the desk of a new employee is a nice touch.
- No On-boarding - This scenario usually starts with the phrase, "Ooops, I thought you were starting tomorrow." In this scenario, you arrive to the office on Monday morning only to find out your new hire just started and has been sitting at their desk for over an hour already. This scenario has both good and bad aspects. The bad aspects are obvious. Your new employee thinks the company that they just devoted their time and energy to become a part of is disorganized and unprepared. The good part of this scenario is that often times the hiring manager is so embarrassed that they were disorganized an unprepared that they take the new employee to lunch. But is that really enough to erase the bad on-boarding experience?
Then someone shared with me the Best On-boarding Experience Ever!!!!
A colleague and friend of mine got hired at a mid-sized data company. She was leaving a stable job with a supervisor she loved (me;) for a job that offered a higher salary. I warned her of making choices on salary alone and told her the 'devil you know verses the devil you don't know' story. But I was pleasantly surprised when she told me of her on-boarding experience at the new company.
After she was offered the position, she received a questionnaire to complete. The questionnaire at first seemed normal with questions about her preference to MAC vs PC and her preferred method of communication but then it got personal. She was answering questions about her hobbies; sharing details of family and friends; expressing life goals; listing important dates in her life; and even sharing with the company her favorite snacks and guilty pleasures.
She started to wonder what she got herself into UNTIL she arrived to work on her first day. There waiting at her new desk where she planned to spend the next several years was:
- Framed pictures of some of her family and friends
- A listing of all the local running trails as she is an avid runner
- A wall calendar with those important dates highlighted that she listed in the questionnaire
- A how-to-book that focused on her life goal of getting her masters degree
- And of course a huge bag of her all-time favorite snack, Flaming Hot Cheetos
When she told me about her exceptional on-boarding experience, my first inclination was to think that her experience was an outlier and perhaps even overkill. Then I had the realization, it wasn't overkill. It was the right way to on-board someone who plans to spend the next 2000+ hours per year working for you.
So here is the million dollar question......if time and money were no issue, would you offer your new employees the memorable on-boarding experience that my friend had? Hopefully you answered yes because everyone deserves that type of on-boarding experience.
Of course, time and money are an issue. According to Glassdoor, it costs approximately $4000 and 24 days to hire a new employee. So with that type of personnel investment, it makes even more sense to make it a delightful and memorable experience.
You don't have to go to the same lengths as my friend's employer did but here are a few quick wins for a memorable on-boarding experience.
- Anticipate Questions | Compile the most common new employee questions and create an infographic that addresses them for new hires.
- Manage Expectations | Most new hires have no idea of what to expect on their first day so map that out for them. If there isn't a place nearby to get lunch, let them know they should bring one or better yet, coordinate a team lunch on their first day.
- Make Them Feel Welcome | Nothing says "we're glad you're here" like a work-ready and inviting office space. Whether it's an office, cube, or open desk environment, take the time to personalize your new hires space so they know that you are excited to have them on the team.
- Open Communication | On-boarding doesn't stop at day one of a new hire. On-boarding continues until your new hire is properly trained and well versed on company policies and processes. So encourage an open dialogue with feedback mechanisms in place to share feedback.
- Consistency | Every new hire should experience the same on-boarding process no matter what department you are in so it is important to be consistent and create a process that all departments should adhere to otherwise you will have a hard time evaluating the success of your on-boarding program.
Need a faster solution? Order on-boarding packages for new hires and/or quarterly employee appreciation subscription boxes online and let us focus on providing a consistent, delightful, and memorable employee experience.