Onboarding New Employees: A Few Keys for Success

by Frank Peditto 1. September 2011 10:07
Starting a new job is never an easy task. It’s a daunting one for the employer as well as the new employee. Over the past year, we have increased our overall team by more than 25 percent and, while our team is thrilled to be growing, especially in the current economy, our growth has forced our leadership team to take a closer look at our onboarding processes.

While many large organizations have entire teams dedicated to onboarding, in many small and mid-sized companies the responsibility falls on the leadership team and a secondary team of pre-identified trainers. Needless to say there are a variety of tools, top 10 tips, videos, white papers, checklists and more available online about onboarding, but, being a company reliant on our service and our professional team, we have found it more successful to build our own plan.

Over the past several months our plan has evolved as each new employee has joined our team. We have paid close attention to the individual, their background, and their new responsibilities to not only reinforce a positive integration into the ReloTrans business, culture and team, but also to ask them and the onboarding team for feedback and ideas on how to improve the process for the next new team member. We have even included new team members in our onboarding process as more employees join our organization.

Even with our plan evolving over time, there are a few basic keys to success that have worked for our organization.

  • Communicate with the new employee prior to their start day providing them with:
    • Who they will be asking for when they arrive, where to go, and what time to be there
    • A high-level schedule of first week activities
    • If provided, a benefits package so that they may review in advance and come in with either completed forms or specific questions
    • The dress code and a bit about the corporate culture of the organization
  • In advance of their first day ensure that:
    • They have functional phone and email
    • Their desk is prepared and supplied with basic office supplies, business cards, and a welcome card from the team
    • The onboarding team is succinct with who is doing what and when; a calendar is helpful
    • Their immediate working team understands the challenges faced being a new employee and is well-versed in offering lengthier explanations etc. (for example, if your organization or industry uses a lot of acronyms, having those explained)
  • On their first day:
    • Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities for onboarding
    • A tour is provided with initial introductions
    • Lunch is planned
    • A leader is checking-in periodically throughout the day
  • Throughout their first month:
    • Leaders are checking-in and ensuring that they are on track in terms of both knowledge and comfort
    • Additional social events are scheduled; getting to know new team members is critical to the synergy of the team, especially in a smaller organization
    • Feedback is requested from both the onboarding team and the new team member
      • What went well, what can be improved, and what was missing
  • Ongoing:
    • Support is offered
    • Positive reinforcement is provided when earned
    • Feedback is requested

While some of these ‘keys’ are practices that we should have with all team members, in busy times, they are often lost. Onboarding is also a great time to bring your team together and offer others the change to re-train or refresh certain skills.

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About the author

As the President of ReloTrans, Frank Peditto is responsible for the vision and growth strategy of the company as well as overall leadership. A veteran of the transportation and logistics fields, Frank possesses more than eighteen years of leadership and thirty years of customer service experience.