Bringing new employees to your company can be a challenge. It can be expensive and time-consuming, and most businesses can’t afford to hire the wrong person. One of the most important periods in any new hire’s time at your company is their orientation. It’s important to make sure that new employees become familiar with your processes and operations, but it’s more vital to make sure they fit into your existing infrastructure.
Whether you’re promoting from within or bringing someone new on your team, don’t give them the “sink or swim” experience. Without proper guidance, your employees may lose productivity, morale and respect for the work being done. If you’re preparing to hire new talent, here are some ways you can make sure they hit the ground running to help you maximize your investment in them.
Ditch the Orientation Video
We’ve all had the job that requires hours locked in a conference room with new hires listening to droning speeches from busy managers or bored HR representatives. This by-the-book approach may not be an efficient way to get anything to stick. Here are some things to consider on an employee’s first day.
Figure out what you want orientation to achieve. Do you want to inform, or empower? Give new hires the tools to succeed, not rules to recall.
Make new hires productive from the start. Providing enjoyable work that rookies can sink their teeth into makes for a great start.
Welcome them to a family, not a business. Even if it’s just their team, give all new hires the chance to find their place in the office.
Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s one thing to give a new teammate the rundown on current clients and projects, but it’s also important to train them on your group’s dynamics, mission and strategies. Many managers overlook the team elements in favor of getting new hires up to speed on current projects. Without the proper context, it can be difficult for new team members to “get it.” As a manager, you’ll start to see valuable contributions quicker if you can ingrain your team’s mandate, unwritten rules and goals for the year, not just those for specific projects. It can be difficult to let everyone see the big picture plan, but it will be a major step towards making a stronger employee.
Mentors Make It Happen
The easiest way to pass along critical practices or values is for new employees to see them in action from a seasoned veteran. Having an orientation mentor for the first few weeks of employment is almost like a spotter in the gym – your new employee still has the responsibility for the lion’s share of their work, but they know that someone is there to point them in the right direction. If possible, try to choose a mentor who has expressed interest in training a new hire. Using an unwilling mentor could short-change both employees, so make sure you have someone ready to take an active role in the process.
Follow Up With Employees
Most bosses may say they have an open-door policy, but this should be especially true when dealing with new employees. As a manager or employer, it’s important that you set milestones to discuss your new hires’ integration with their teams. The first 30, 60, and 90 days are critical for an employee’s success, and it’s also the easiest time to address any problems that have arisen within your teams. Even if it’s just a quick chat in your office, always take the time to check in with your new employees.
Cara Barone is the Social Media Marketing Manager at Kforce, a provider of staffing and workforce solutions including network security jobs. Cara also manages Knowledge Employed, a career advice blog for job hunters, seasoned employees and hiring managers.