Stop for a few seconds and think about the strongest relationships in your life. How many of them started off on the wrong foot? Probably few and far between. It’s pretty natural: if we’re not yet invested in a relationship, we don’t have reason to suffer through the bad or unknown in hopes of hitting a better tomorrow.
Same goes for our relationships with our jobs.
The first 90 days are make/break time for any occupation. That’s not only when new employees get first impressions of employer brand, managers, co-workers, culture and workload, but their impression of how well they fit into this equation, too.
Wading into the unknown without guidance (or even a light at the end of the tunnel) rarely produces an engaged, long-term employee in today’s market. But there’s a magic ingredient that can change this fortune for any company. It’s called onboarding.
Onboarding is the process of introducing employees to their new world of work and, well, getting them on-board with what it means to work at your company. For too long, companies large and small have mistaken hours spent on paperwork, timekeeping and policy PowerPoints as onboarding.
That’s right. They take an employee bustling with new-job enthusiasm, sit them down and have them write their SSN for a few hours while they’re told how to behave.
Don’t get us wrong: paperwork and appropriate behavior are necessary. But we need to work them into a better process. In fact, one in six employees consider quitting a new job in the midst of an ineffective onboarding experience. Can you afford to make that mistake?
We didn’t think so. Let’s get your employees started on the right foot. Here are five ways to inspire onboarding at your company.
- Meet them at the door. Wherever PSCI has placed an employee (full-time, contract or otherwise), we meet them at the door on their first day. Walking into a new job is fraught with the unknown, insecurity and indecision. Is that how you want a new person to feel when they first walk in your door? Having a familiar face at the door to show them where to go, whom to meet, where to sit removes most of the mental hurdles a new person must face on Day 1. And if it’s as easy as standing at the door at a set time, it’s an investment well made. If you’re not working with a recruiter, be sure to have your new employee met at the door by the hiring manager or a team member. It makes a big difference and you’ll see it pay off in seconds.
- Map out the first five days. Create a schedule for your new employee to follow for the first five days. We’re not talking hour for hour. But prioritize what they need to do each day so they can start feeling the pace of your work culture. Preschedule meetings on their calendars, give them activities to do, tasks to complete and, of course, time to complete paperwork and learn company policies. See how the company Percolate has built a master template that they apply and tweak to build each new employee’s onboarding experience.
- Tap into tech. Onboarding is one of the most significant processes companies execute, but the least likely to be organized and project managed. Even if you don’t have the hands-on resources to walk a new employee through the step-by-step of joining your company, you can tap into tech resources to do it for you. Take this example from Trello, using its own project management tool to guide a new employee through each phase of onboarding.
- Set up a buddy system. By allowing the new employee to manage his/her own guided process through tools like Trello or Asana, s/he can learn at his/her own pace. Just be sure interacting with leadership and co-workers are key components of what’s in that process. Give other people jobs to do, topics to cover, activities to introduce. Each day, assign one person to be the new employee’s “buddy” – a go-to to answer questions, shadow and even eat lunch with as the new kid. Relationships start now.
- Share their thoughts. Newness is a powerful thing. Get your new employees engaged in discussions by letting them use their newness and semi-outsider opinions – before they become storied experts on everything you do. Put them to work giving user feedback on products, thoughts on blog content or even input on how to improve your onboarding process. You’ll gain valuable insights about your products and processes while making a new employee already feel part of the team.
Indeed, great onboarding requires thought, planning, teamwork and execution. But the investment on the front-end of your new employee’s career with you will pay off in their engagement, productivity and loyalty to your employer brand. That’s the power of getting relationships started on the right foot.
Three powerful #relationshipgoals to adopt before you hire a soul(mate).
Your relationships with talented IT pros aren’t unlike other valuable relationships in your life—but when do we ever think of it that way? There’s a balance of first impressions, honesty about the future and engagement to strike.
Do it right and you’ll find the spark to launch your IT staff to the next level. We’ve built a tip sheet that outlines three #relationshipgoals that can help you make that happen.
PSCI knows a thing or two about relationships. We’re an IT staffing solutions provider whose reputation is built on strong relationships with our clients and tech professionals. Connections this good take a lot of work—but they get great work done, too.
If you’d like to learn more about building relationships with IT professionals or starting a relationship with us, send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.