These days, there is a lot of emphasis placed on utilizing the best recruiting tools, hiring and retaining the right employees, and providing adequate training along the way - and for good reason. These steps are critical to an organization's success. Sometimes, though, the (seemingly) little things can be overlooked. For example, sometimes not enough emphasis is placed on how a company reaches out and welcomes a new employee. Among other advantages, such as awesome ratings on Glassdoor and Google, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce and plant the seed of a healthy, positive company culture.
Here are six ways that we create a good first impression with our new hires at PSI:
1. Start the welcome party immediately.
Once that offer is accepted, the welcome party should be unleashed. There is no need to wait until the week before a start date to begin the welcoming process. In fact, if there is a large gap between the job acceptance and the start date, it would be strange to NOT hear from your new company. The new hire should be included in all communication regarding them to their future team members; this will help the new hire feel like a part of the team right away. Encourage team members to reach out to the newbie and congratulate him/her on the new job. This is a very exciting moment for everyone, especially the new hire. It was most likely a rigorous selection process (it definitely is at PSI), and there should be congratulations for successfully completing the hiring process and obtaining the ultimate prize at the finish line!
2. Assign a coach.
Starting a new job can be socially intimidating. Just imagine having your best friend as your new co-worker! That would definitely relieve some social stress. Since that's not usually an option, the next best thing is having a coach. This is someone that can schedule a lunch with the new co-worker and give them an informal job preview. The coach can also be someone outside of the employee's new team that can open social doorways into other departments. It's a low-pressure situation for the coach as well, since the only objective is making the new individual feel welcome.
3. Start a welcome committee.
A welcome committee, or orientation committee, can be formed to help with additional onboarding tasks. They could be in charge of providing an office tour, a welcome packet (local restaurants, best local bars, other fun info about the area, etc.), creative gifts, new employee requests, and any other related tasks. Receiving personal attention from future team members, a dedicated coach, and a welcome committee - what a great feeling!
A welcome committee could consist of any mix of employees across different departments and disciplines. For the committee members, it's a nice way to break up their routine with fun, creative projects. It's also another way to meet other employees and increase workplace communication.
4. Give creative gifts.
Put some effort into showing your new employee that this is an awesome place to work! You could spend some dough here, but if the budget doesn't allow, this can be accomplished by getting creative. At Warby Parker, they provide new employees with Martin's Pretzels because it is a favorite snack of the company founders. They also provide a gift card to a local Thai restaurant because that was the only place open late when they first started the company. Think of ways to tie your culture, industry, leaders, or city to a gift. It's always nice to get a gift, and it's even better when that gift has some meaning behind it. Trust me, it's worth it and won't go unnoticed.
5. Provide a task list.
Those first few days can be the hardest. Not because of a heavy workload, but because there's no structure and there's often absolutely nothing to do except fill out some paperwork. Make sure that there is a task list or agenda ready and that it's customized for each new employee. It should consist of most important tasks first, followed by plenty of other tasks that are also helpful, but maybe not mandatory. Include items that will require time and effort. Don't forget to include some tasks that are fun and creative. For example, "Find out David's nickname and how he made the biggest sale of his life," or "Write down one thing you learned about each person on your team." These kinds of tasks can break the ice and allow good relationships to grow from day one.
6. Follow up and revisit often.
Get feedback on your welcoming process. Set up a meeting with the new hire at regular intervals - possibly 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and/or 1 year. Invite his or her coach. Talk about what worked and what didn't. Talk about the company values and culture that you were hoping to foster. Ask for first impressions that the new employee had during the first week. The onboarding process should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis to ensure continuous improvement.
Remember that welcoming a new employee starts as soon as the job offer is accepted. It's a process that can redefine your company culture if you do it the right way. PSI firmly believes that employees are an organization's most valuable asset. When you take care of your employees, they take care of you.
The work doesn't stop there, though: once you have these great employees, you need to take steps to keep them. Check out this webinar that discusses just that!