We never get a second chance to make a first impression. In a work climate in which 50% of all outside senior new hires fail within the first 18 months, this is especially important for businesses that can't afford to absorb the loss of high turnover. 

While elaborate onboarding events may seem exciting, the reality is that businesses must get their new hires up and running as quickly as possible, as soon as they walk in the door.

Here are the 4 key components business owners must incorporate into their onboarding process to make new employees quickly feel welcomed and integrated, and empower them to be rapid contributors. 

Technology, HR, and Logistics

  1. Arrange a meeting with the HR director (in house or outsourced). They should receive all legally required HR forms including health insurance benefits, W2 forms, 401K information, direct deposit forms, and the employee manual which will require completion of a signature page.  In addition, the HR director should review standard policies and procedures, including vacation time, telecommuting, holidays, sick time, and time off for volunteering.

    Ideally, new hires should receive all administrative paperwork prior to their first day, and then return it when they report to the office. 

  2. Arrange a meeting with the IT Director to receive information on technology usage, including social media policies. This may also include an overview of specific platforms and technologies the employee may need to use (HRIS, CRM, Sharepoint, internal calendar system, intranet, etc.). Again, new hires should be required to sign an understanding of information received, and a declaration that technology will not be used to bring harm to the company. 

Critical Company Information

  1. Today it's easy for the CEO/Owner to record a brief video welcoming new employees to the company. This provides a voice and a face of the company leadership from the very beginning of employment. 
  2. The new hire's supervisor should also provide the company history, mission, vision, core values, org chart, and overview of the company leadership team. 

Buddying Up

It's critically important to create a buddy system for new employees. The worst thing a company can do is to present a warm, welcoming environment during the interview process, and then bring a new hire into an environment where they are left alone to fend for themselves. The recommended time for a new hire buddy system is 2 weeks. 

Celebrating Their Arrival

The HR Director or an employee's direct supervisor should send a welcome email to the company announcing their arrival. It can include fun information, in an interview-style format, beyond just the traditional Q&A.  Here are a few off-the cuff questions that will help employees feel connected in ways that extend beyond their title and job description:

  • Who inspires you?
  • What is the best concert you ever attended, and why?
  • What actor/actress would play you in a movie about your life?
  • On what TV show would you like to have a guest role? Why?
  • What superhero do you think is totally over-rated?

Onboarding Should Mirror Recruitment

The onboarding process should reflect the same messages and impressions that a company conveys through its recruitment process. Onboarding reinforces the company's brand, and sets the stage for the employee experience. 

By taking a proactive approach to onboarding, and committing to a positive, engaging experience, you'll successfully avoid your new employee's "buyer's remorse," and quickly convert them to a brand evangelist.

Good luck!