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Welcome to the Company! Onboarding Strategies to Set New Employees Up for Success
Published on 8/24/2015 12:00:00 AM
Onboarding Strategies to Set New Employees Up for Success

If your idea of welcoming a new employee to the company consists of piles of paperwork and a basic training video, you may want to rethink your approach to onboarding. According to a 2014 Bersin by Deloitte study, 22% of employee turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. Without a proper welcome, new hires may be starting with one foot out the door. Here’s how to create or improve your onboarding program.

Compliance Aspects of Onboarding

Whenever you hire a new employee, you must fill out certain documents:

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act – OSHA – you may be required to train new hires in certain safety procedures, depending upon your business or the position your new employee is filling.

While OSHA requirements vary, OSHA recommendations can be applied to any business, regardless of industry. Consider adding a general safety training component to your onboarding program that covers, at the minimum, your Emergency Action Plan, fire safety procedures, and medical or first aid policies. Giving this information to your employees can literally save their lives in case of an emergency – which keeps them and your business safe.

Another kind of training to consider adding to your onboarding program: harassment training. Most employers cover sexual harassment training, but fewer tackle other forms of harassment, which can be covered with basic diversity training. If you’re not providing new employees with definitions and examples of all forms of harassment in the workplace, you may be inviting lawsuits, fines and investigations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Aside from formal training, this information should also be highlighted in an employee handbook that you provide to new hires on their first day.

Instead of using training videos or generic presentations to share this information, try to incorporate some interesting, interactive elements. For example, a brief quiz or game can help break up the material while also giving you an idea of how much your new hire is retaining.

Key Topics to Cover in Your Onboarding Program

When deciding what information to share with new hires, start by putting yourself in their shoes. Think back to the first day you started at your current company – what were your biggest questions and concerns? Recall what it was like to enter a new office for the first time and go from there.

It may help to address topics based on the “Five W” questions taught in school: who, what, where, when and why. For example:

What are my benefits?: You may have given new employees a basic overview of your benefits package during the hiring process, but now is the time to delve deeper and talk about the plans you offer. Pull together paperwork from your benefits providers, or, for perks that aren’t covered under official plans – such as PTO, bonuses, company parties or discount programs – prepare a handout that outlines all the details.
When can I use them?: It isn’t enough to cover what benefits you offer; you also need to let new hires know when they are eligible to start using them.
Why do we do what we do?: Your company’s missions, values and goals should be highlighted during onboarding to foster engagement early on.. If possible, try to convey this information in a video format using your workplace and actual employees.
Where can I…?: It’s difficult to limit “where” to a single question during onboarding. Your new employee likely has a lot of questions about where he or she needs to go or how to get something done. Always give new hires a tour of your office, even if it’s only one or two rooms. While some locations may seem obvious to you, like the bathroom or break room, chances are that new hires don’t know about them. If your office is large enough, you may want to provide a map of the building. Keep in mind, too, that the entire area, not just your office, may be unfamiliar to your new hire. Printing out a local map with relevant information – restaurants, parking or gas stations – will help new hires get their bearings.
Who is…?: “Who” is an important, but broad, category, too. If your business is small enough, take the time to introduce new hires to everybody. For larger businesses, introduce new employees to their coworkers; direct reports, if any; and direct supervisor. Try to schedule lunches or meetings with these individuals – certainly the first day, but in the days to follow, as well. You can help break the ice by sending new hires a survey ahead of time that asks basic questions about their hobbies and previous work or life history to make introductions easier. During onboarding, also provide information on who’s in senior management and who to turn to in case of different kinds of common problems, such as your medical response team or IT department.

Once you have an effective onboarding process in place, take the time to evaluate it to make sure employees are getting the most out of your efforts. Schedule success check-ins with new hires to see how they’re adapting to your office, or distribute surveys for feedback on your process.

To make sure you’re effectively welcoming new hires, download our new hire checklist to create or improve your onboarding process.​​

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