Onboarding Utopia: Part Deux

What do new employees truly learn on the first day at a new job?  This is a question I’ve been pondering for a few days now, since my post, One Step Closer to Onboarding Utopia.  Well, I’ve got some thoughts on the subject.  At a minimum, new employees need to understand three things by the time they leave at the end of their first day:

1. A new employee needs to know what he signed up for.

This should include learning about his new company’s history and core values.  It could mean reaffirming job description expectations.  Maybe getting acquainted to more team members than he met during the interview process.  He needs to walk away at the end of the day feeling good about the decision he made to come work for your organization.  He needs to be engaged and eager to come back on Day Two.

2. A new employee needs to feel a sense of belonging.

Is the new employee’s desk/office set up and in “move-in” condition?  He needs to know he has a place.  A place to put his coat, a place to dwell on his new surroundings and prepare for the tasks ahead.  Maybe (if he’s lucky) a place to find a moment’s peace to take it all in.  It may sound silly, but many times this is an overlooked item by hiring managers.  If you are the person in your organization who owns the Orientation process, take the time to find out how this is being done.  If you notice gaps, do something about it.

Is the new employee welcomed into his team?  From pre-arranged “Meet & Greet” sessions to a casual first-day lunch, there are many opportunities to embrace a new employee and make him feel that he belongs.  Again, this is another area many hiring managers take for granted.  Provide them with tools, ideas, and inspiration they need for this critical phase of the onboarding lifecycle!

3. A new employee needs to know there are resources available to be successful in his role.

Will he remember how to navigate every one of your company’s systems at the end of his first day?  Nope.  He might not even remember how to access them or log in right away.  Will he remember who does what, where to find everything, and be a contributing member of the team before the ink is dry on his I-9 form?  Probably not.  Providing the right tools and resources – these could be job aids, tutorials, workbooks, classes, coaching, or even a mentor/buddy – helps alleviate the apprehension of not being able to remember it all.

I know I’m leaving out details…and decidedly so.  Every company, every team, every job is different.  Expectations are different.  Business needs are different.  Even timing is different.  In spite of the varied circumstances, if you stop and think about it, the things an incoming new hire needs to know on Day One can be summed up into these three categories.  I’d say it’s a pretty good start!

There’s a little foreshadowing in this post.  My next post will include info on creating an action plan for equipping hiring managers and company leadership to carry the onboarding torch, after Orientation wraps up.  Stay tuned!

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