onboarding new employees

Six ideas for successfully onboarding new employees

We’re lucky people here at Padraig. We get to work closely with some of the most amazing leaders and leadership teams across North America (and, indeed a bit of Europe and Asia too).

Not only do we get to help these extraordinary leaders become even better at what they do, accomplish even greater things and grow even stronger teams, we also get to learn from them. And that’s pretty amazing.

One of the areas we constantly hear great ideas from is our leader clients is how to welcome and onboard new employees to help them get up to speed quickly and more importantly, successfully.

Here are some of our favourites:

Make sure you’re ready for them

Sounds a bit like a no-brainer, I know. But, you’d be surprised at how many organizations have employees who start their first day without a workstation, without access to email, and without a plan for their time.

Remember, first impressions count and this employee is still deciding if they’ve made the right choice by coming on board with you. The position of power has shifted and great employees aren’t always easy to come by.

Before your new recruit arrives on the job – make sure they know you’re happy that they’re there.

Put a few things in place to “wow” them right away such as:

  • Make sure their workstation is set up and ready to go;
  • Have business cards printed and ready, if possible;
  • Ensure all IT is set up and they have access to email and other technology they’ll need, and
  • Prepare an agenda for them for their first week so they know exactly what they’re supposed to be up to. (But, make sure there’s lots of time to do everything so pressure is low. The priority is to bring them into your culture).

Small acts like these send the message that the new hire is valued and that, as an organization, you’re on top of the details.

Mentor them in

For every new hire, identify someone (or two someones) on your team who have experience that will help this person. Perhaps they did the job, or a similar one before (or still) and they’re great at it. Don’t forget that existing employees may not have experience mentoring people so walk them through how to help others and let them ask lots of questions of you before the new recruit arrives.

Use a shared profile tool for everyone

We use Everything DiSC®, our top-selling Behaviour profile tool, with companies around the world and they love it. DiSC is one of the simplest, clearest of these types of tools and, most importantly, focuses not just on knowing yourself but on figuring out others so you can adapt your approach and build stronger relationships.

Many of our clients who have had us in to do DiSC workshops or to do profiles for their staff ask us to run a quick profile for every new hire. It helps the new hire know themselves and we can then draw linkages to their new colleagues and help them figure out how to interact with them.

As well, it becomes a bonding experience over shared language when existing employees can ask them about their “DiSC type” and start a conversation around that.

If you’re interested in DiSC for your organization, Click here.

Make a lunch date

The first day on a new job can be overwhelming. Can you remember a first day in a new organization? Maybe your first day at college or university?

Make the first day a good memory for your new recruit by having one or more of their colleagues take them out to lunch. The company should pick up the tab while the new recruit gets to bond with their new team and the team gets to enjoy a little perk while they welcome their new teammate.

Coffee Time

If lunch is too expensive, here’s an alternative we heard about that we think is a great idea: a coffee gift card. As part of your welcome package, besides the photocopier manual and a guide for how to sign up for the company insurance plan, give the new recruit a pre-loaded gift card for the best local coffee shop and tell them they’re to use it for taking each person on their team out for coffee.

Free coffee, and maybe a donut, are never a bad thing and it accomplishes a couple other goals:

1) Gives the new employee a really good (and easy) reason to strike up a conversation with a colleague, and

2) Get them to know their team and bond with them outside the immediate pressures of the workplace.

Accelerating Success

If the new recruit is going to be a leader in your organization — ie. responsible for leading a team of others, or leading a project with other members on the project team, we love doing our “Accelerating Success” program for them.

With this program we help the new leader and the team, get to know each other, overcome months of learning curves and deliver high performing results to the organization.  

Past participants have said this cleared out “6 months of BS and got us moving so quickly.” And, “Yesterday was the most productive meeting of its kind that I have participated in for a decade. Thanks for leading the time and the legwork beforehand.”

One of our clients even did a case study with us, comparing the situation when the new leader arrived to the situation after we ran the program.

The effects were lasting and a year later they calculated that their savings and gains from doing this program were 27x the cost of the program! You can read the case-study here.

The Coach’s Question

What are you doing to make sure new recruits land firmly and hit the ground running with confidence and pride in their new employer? We would love to hear your answers. Leave a comment below to share with us, and other readers, what has worked for you.

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