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New employee onboarding is a giant hassle even in the best of circumstances. No matter how skilled or experienced your new talent is, you’re still introducing them to a whole new world. The cast of characters on your team, the particular quirks of your copier, even the unique subtext of each Slack emoji are new.
There’s so much knowledge to impart, and meanwhile, you still have so many other pressing tasks on your plate. The good news is, a little preparation can make a new employee’s first few days run so much more smoothly. Here are the top three procedural changes you can implement to make onboarding a whole lot less painful.
First things first when it comes to onboarding. Your new employees need to meet with HR, their managers, and other team members. But scheduling all those first-week new hire meetings can be a real pain, especially when you’re working remotely. You want to get everything out of the way, but you don’t want to overwhelm your brand new talent.
Your new employees know themselves best, and only they know when they’re most productive. Maybe they’d prefer to have meetings in the mornings and complete training videos in the afternoons, or vice versa. Instead of mapping out their days for them in advance of the onboarding process, consider letting them take control of their daily agendas.
A shared calendar can help make it much simpler for managers to onboard new hires without the stress of organizing. There’s no need for management to make top-down decisions about when each individual meet-and-greet or training session happens. Your new employees and other team members can decide collaboratively when to meet by booking time on each other’s schedules.
As a manager, a shared calendar also keeps you in the loop about what your employee is up to. You don’t need to double check if they’ve carried out every meeting or training. It’s all stored in the cloud, so you can check and make sure they’re on track with all of their tasks. You can also schedule follow-ups way in advance and get those off your decision-making plate too.
Pre-boarding isn’t just for airplanes. It’s useful in your hiring process too. What it means is preparing your new employees before they show up for work on the first day. No employee likes spending their first day alone in a room filling out a mile-high stack of forms. Even when they’re digitized, it’s just not an efficient use of a new employee’s time.
Instead, get those forms to employees before they come in (or log in) for their official first day. Depending on your local laws—or as a good faith gesture—you may need to pay them for this work. You can mail tax forms, I-9s, and other new hire paperwork to new employees or send documents to them online. This is also a good time in the onboarding process to let them know about calendar invites so they can start scheduling if they wish.
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Another advantage of pre-boarding is that it ameliorates some of the anxiety new hires tend to experience. It’s common for people to feel anxious in the period between the initial hiring decision and their first day. Sometimes there’s a sense of “too good to be true.” Some new employees lose sleep, worrying they could lose the offer.
By giving new employees tasks to complete before the start date, you reassure them their new job is secure. You also open a channel of communication for sharing additional information and asking questions. And if you really want to earn bonus points, send new hires some swag in the mail. An onboarding welcome kit with branded water bottles, pens, stationery, and more can help them feel like part of the team.
3. Have All Usernames and Passwords Ready for the Onboarding Process
How many times have you started out at a new job and realized you couldn’t log in to your company computer? No one knows your passwords or usernames, or who’s supposed to have them, or if they’ve been generated at all. You’ve got tons of reading to do and appointments to schedule while you’re onboarding. But you’re staring at a useless welcome screen.
Now, you have to talk to HR, who sends you to IT, who weren’t even made aware you’d been hired. They’re awfully grumpy about it, and this is not the first impression you wanted to make. Forty minutes later, you’ve got email access—sort of—but you still can’t open the shared drive or download crucial software.
Don’t let the “you” in this story be each and every one of your new employees. They’re already overwhelmed enough just learning everything they can about their new roles. Make sure all their new accounts are created and passwords generated well before new hires even set foot in the office. Then find a way to—securely—give them all that information in one place, right away. Make all of this a routine part of your onboarding process.
All that said, data breaches are now more of a threat than ever, so don’t be careless with login data. Only give your new employees as much access as they need to perform job duties at their level. Consider using a password manager to store employee login data, and always instruct all employees to follow strong password protocols.
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Use the Onboarding Process to Retain Top Talent
These tips can make a huge difference in the success of your employees’ first few days or weeks. But it’s important to remember that hiring isn’t just about that initial short period of time. Survey data shows that up to a third of new employees will leave a new job within their first 90 days. To put it bluntly, the onboarding process is critical.
So don’t just tweak your onboarding process. Look at your management style and company culture as well. What are you doing to make new employees feel welcome beyond branded tote bags and diversity pledges? Look for ways to keep them engaged, with stimulating projects and opportunities for learning and growth. Give your new hires reasons to stick around long beyond their training weeks.
For more tips and tricks to help you keep your business running at its best, be sure to browse our blog often.