One of the most stressful events in a person’s life is starting a new job. Why all the stress? A new job comes with anxiety regarding learning about the new position, new co-workers, possibly more responsibility and discovering the ins and outs of the inner workings of a new office. Yep, that is a lot of stress. One of the things that can reduce that stress on both the employee and employer’s is a mechanism called on-boarding.
On-boarding refers to the process through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members of a business team. On-boarding is more than just new hire orientation. It is much more than donuts and coffee in the conference room so the new hire can sign all the paperwork and meet everyone in the office. On-boarding, rather, is part of a more comprehensive process. It covers matters related to training, scheduled milestones, mentoring programs and interactive meetings to evaluate how the transition is going.
Here are a few steps to consider when creating your company’s unique on-boarding process.
- Plan Well in Advance – Plan ahead to have all the tools necessary for a new hire to start off on the right foot. This will include: a clean work space, all the HR paperwork ready to be filled out, as well as alerting the reception desk and IT department that there will be someone new added to the office and the computer system. This will allow them to have immediate access to email and documents that they may need. A first week agenda may also be a good idea, too. This could include meeting key people and learning the basics of office activity from the people he/she will be working closest with.
- Define a Work-Buddy System – There is nothing worse than starting a job and not knowing who to ask about simple work tasks. Assign a work buddy who can check in with the new hire over the first few days and weeks and can give insider information of how things work.
- Human Resources Points to Consider – Be sure not to miss any big points that will come back to haunt you later in the employee/employer business relationship. Go over the employee handbook within the first few days to be sure the new hire knows about benefits, vacations days, calling out sick, sexual harassment laws and legal points necessary to run a safe and productive work environment.
- Create Goals with the Employee – Everyone in this new relationship wants to know what to expect. Create a list of goals both short term and long term that can help give direction to a new hire that will be itching to make their mark. Plan for times to review these goals and allow for open conversations. Some goals should be easy to reach and others may be “reach for the stars.”
- Create a 30-90 day Ramp Up Program – Let’s face it, it takes a while to get one’s bearings in a new position. Allow a transition time, then ramp things up a bit slowly over the course of the first month to three months.
- Evaluate – After a week, two weeks, a month and several months be sure to continue checking in with the newest member of the team. Evaluate what on-boarding programs worked and didn’t work. Change course if needed and change protocols for future employees as you see fit.