The New Year is often the time when people start new jobs. In fact, research carried out by reed.co.uk in January 2023 found that 75% of UK workers were job hunting at this time last year. Therefore, it is crucial to have effective onboarding plans in place so that your shiny new employee gets a fantastic first impression and experience of what life is like working for your business. We’ll review below the key steps to take to make sure that your onboarding plans are on point.
You don’t have to wait for your new hire to actually or virtually step through the door before you start their onboarding. By preboarding a new employee you can provide them with information that they need before they even start in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. If time and availability allow they might be able to drop into your workplace to say a brief hello to everyone in order to ease the first day nerves and this will also help them to picture their new workplace and build a sense of excitement about starting with you. If that isn’t possible then don’t leave a void of communication between the job offer and their start date. You might give them a weekly call until they start to update them on what is going on in and what plans there are for their induction. If you have one, and if it’s appropriate, you might want to add them to the team WhatsApp group as that can help them to build relationships and get a sense of what their new colleagues are like and vice versa. Some companies will have a list of frequently asked questions for new starters and that is also a great way to preboard an employee. If all their questions are answered that’s great, if they aren’t then it provides another opportunity for contact with them so that they can be answered. Essentially, try and make your new starter feel as welcome as possible as you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
The vast majority of us will have experienced the admin burden of being or taking on a new starter. Let’s honest nobody really enjoys filling out a myriad of forms but there are various essential elements of new starter admin that you need to factor into your onboarding plan. Employers are legally required to check and record that their staff have the right to work in the UK so make sure to have that on your onboarding plan. If you’re not sure of your responsibilities or what you need to do then read this guidance, Right to work checks: an employer’s guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Your new hire will also need to be paid so it’s essential to collect their bank details along with information for HMRC. Depending on the company and the role of the new starter there may be other pre-employment checks to carry out, you might need to take their photo for an ID badge or have other forms that you want them to fill in to gather personal information for their records. Ideally, all of this can be done at the preboarding stage or if you have a HR software system you may be able to allow the new employee to have self serve access so that they can complete the majority of the data gathering themselves and then day one is freed up to actually get to work. It might not be glamorous but it’s crucial to include this on your onboarding plan.
Many employers like to welcome new staff with some sort of gift and if that’s something that you do or would like to start doing then don’t forget to put it on your onboarding plan. By sending your new hire a quick reward and recognition questionnaire before they start you will be able to find out what they like and what their hobbies and interests are. You can immediately then use that information to get them an appropriate welcome gift and you also then have those details to hand when you want to reward or recognise the employee for a great piece of work in future. By giving someone a welcome gift you are demonstrating that you care, that they’re not just a bum on a seat and that you want them to feel welcomed and be happy at work.
Sometimes the most obvious elements of onboarding don’t go on your plan and then end up getting missed or being an afterthought. If you don’t get some basic practicalities right though then you can create a really bad impression with a new starter. Make sure that they have somewhere to work, if they need a computer make sure they have one, and a mouse, and a keyboard and that they actually have IT and email accounts set up and can access them. It’s also important to help a new starter to get acquainted with their unfamiliar surroundings so ensure that part of your onboarding plan covers a tour of your workplace. Put yourself in their shoes, what would you want to know? From a health and safety perspective employees should know what the arrangements are in the event of a fire or other evacuation, if and where they can find a first aider, where the toilets are and where they can make a drink and keep their lunch. Making a new starter feel part of your team is also key to a successful onboarding experience and helps them to be immersed in your culture as well. Introduce the new employee to their team and key colleagues over the course of the first few days in order to help them to build relationships. They might struggle to remember names at first but as part of your onboarding plan you can allocate them a buddy or mentor as their “go to” person and then they immediately have a new friend, and who doesn’t want that?
Check Ins & Review
Onboarding isn’t done and dusted at the end of day one when the new employee has gone home so much sure that your onboarding plan extends beyond that point too. It’s crucial to have regular touch points with a new starter to give them the opportunity to talk about how things are going, what they are proud of, what they might be struggling with and anything else they want to discuss. You should also ask them for their honest opinions about their onboarding experience, what did they enjoy, what could have gone better, what they might suggest doing differently and if in fact something was missing that they expected or that would have benefited them. By reviewing your onboarding plan in this way, it demonstrates to the new starter that you value them and their input, and it will also help you to refine your onboarding plan for the next time you hire someone.
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Why not also check out our blog on a similar topic Onboarding in the Digital Age
We also have a YouTube channel with loads of handy videos outlining various HR related scenarios.