November 1, 2015 BestCompaniesAZ

Your New Hire Orientation Can Set the Stage for Future Success. Here’s How to Do it Right

Great opportunities exist when people join your company, but otherwise-good companies sometimes struggle with onboarding.

If you’ve hired right, your new hires are eager to contribute, determined to start off strong, and want to show they can hit the ground running. What are you doing to build their trust from the get-go?

Recently, I was catching up with some old friends who changed jobs in the past month. Rolling his eyes, one talented tech wizard said he had been in his new position for six weeks and “was still basically doing nothing.” Ironically, he had changed jobs because he was looking for greater challenge. Unfortunately, his story isn’t unusual.

By the time someone is hired, existing staff is stretched so that no one has time to prepare. Top-notch new hires will figure out what to do, but what a missed opportunity for the company to build trust during what should be a honeymoon.

Here are a couple of tips from companies that do it right:

  • Send new employees flowers or balloons on their first day. Include a “welcome” card signed by the department and everyone who was involved in the interviews.
  • On the first day, have all the essentials set up; computer, email, supplies, IT training and organized paperwork. Extra points for having business cards printed in advance.
  • Prepare a schedule for the first week that includes introductions, tours, meetings and lunches. Plan so that new hires can contribute to meaningful work in their first week.
  • Consider a “buddy” program and assign all newbies to a company mentor.
  • Design your orientation to be fun and interactive. Videos, exercises, stories about the company, training games – this is your chance to reinforce your company culture and help newbies find their place in it. Instead of referring to a handbook (zzzz) have newbies read it in advance and play handbook Jeopardy for prizes, like at McMurry’s “Gr8 Start”. Infusionsoft refers to orientation as “Getting Infused”, or immersed in the company’s core philosophy.

New hires are like new customers, and there are rewards for treating them with special respect.