Onboarding do's and don'ts

I distinctly remember one of the most remarkable Managers I’ve ever reported to, telling me of her experience on day 1 at the firm we were working for.

She told me how she arrived and was shown around the office, then pointed to a small table, located in a hallway with an apology that they hadn’t had a chance to prepare for her arrival so didn’t have a computer, phone or desk properly set up yet, but could she please keep herself entertained for the day.

Luckily, being the pragmatic, problem solver that she was, this particular Manager learnt from the experience and made sure that no new team member ever faced that situation again.

How a business treats new team members (including potential new team members), right from the first touchpoint, will form the foundation stones of any future relationship. If a business wants that to be a long, mutually rewarding relationship, they need to be conscious of what first, second and third impressions they are creating during the onboarding process.

While you are performing the recruitment dance, think about whether you are acknowledging resumes sent to you, are you contacting them in a reasonable time frame for interview, are you treating the interview like a 2-way street (i.e. it is as much about the candidate choosing you as it is about you choosing them), do you keep them informed on how things are progressing while you are reference checking and doing any other pre-employment checks? And then, when you’ve chosen the best candidate, are you letting other candidates down in a way that leaves a lasting, positive impression of your company.

Once you’ve chosen your final dance partner, think about what you can do to make them welcome on their first day. Do you have their desk set up, their computer, their business cards, email address, welcome morning tea … do you have a well organised, productive induction program set up with time allocated in the diaries of each person who needs to spend time with them?

I hear a lot of Managers and Owners say that they just don’t have time to do this stuff properly. But here’s the thing … that bit of extra energy and input will be returned ten-fold. Your new person will be more likely to hit the deck running, be given the information they need to become productive quicker, be more positive about the company which will ultimately mean higher engagement levels and better performance … the list goes on.

So, next time you are lucky enough to be bringing a new person into your team, have a think about what you can do to make the best possible start to your relationship.