In our most recent blog post we discussed preboarding, which is the lead-in to onboarding. While preboarding covers off activities from when your new hire is offered the job to the point of start date, onboarding includes the activities that occur once your new hire starts their job.

So why is onboarding important? Onboarding ensures that your new hire has what they need in order to do their job effectively. Without a good onboarding plan, a new employee is left without the necessary tools they may need in order to be successful in their job. Also, a lack of onboarding may leave your new employee feeling disengaged and could lead to an issue with retention. For example, if working in an office setting, your new hire shouldn’t have to wait three weeks to receive their computer. All equipment, system access, etc. should be available to your new hire on day one. Furthermore, your new hire should know who to contact in the event that they need assistance (for example, the IT help desk).

It’s a good idea to develop a check-list – either hard copy or electronic – that can be used when a new employee starts with your organization. This check-list should be updated with new or revised information as needed. Examples of items that can be included on the check-list – along with a brief schedule – are as follows:

Day 1:

AM:
• Allow new employee to get settled into work space/office
• Provide new employee with a copy of the organization chart
• Introduce new hire to team members
• Provide new employee with a contact list (including phone #’s and email addresses)
• Orientation to office equipment

PM:
• Take new employee out for lunch, along with applicable team members/managers, etc.
• Overview of company policies and procedures
• Provide time for new employee to familiarize him/herself with company Intranet, resources, etc.

Days 2 and 3:

• Job shadow with colleague
• Interspersed throughout these days, arrange 0.5 hour meetings with each company manager/team leader

Although the above is certainly not a comprehensive list, it gives you an idea of the information that can be included/should be provided to your new hire. Onboarding should not be an overwhelming experience for a new employee, so ensure that the schedule is reasonable and not too jam-packed. After all, just learning names can be a bit of a task for a new hire! One other note of caution: if your organization has a new hire orientation session, an employee should ideally attend this within the first month of starting their job. As orientation sessions typically cater to brand new employees, it likely won’t be all that helpful to someone who has been with the organization for several weeks or months.

The majority of onboarding/orientation will likely occur within the first few days of work for your new employee. However, it’s important to build in check points (for example, after two weeks, three months, and six months) to receive feedback from your new hire and to ensure that they have what they need in order to continue to be successful in their position.

Overall, an onboarding plan will reduce downtime and confusion for your new hire and will set him or her up for success with your organization – which will provide you with a productive, engaged team member.

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