Ready or Not?


Hey manager!  Ready or not…here comes your new employee!

If a hiring manager doesn’t have a lot of turnover on her team, she may not give a lot of thought to preparing for a new employee’s arrival. On the flip side, a hiring manager who is often bringing on new team members might find herself lacking a consistent preparation process.

If you’ve read previous posts (like this one…or maybe this one) that are directed toward hiring managers, you’re probably already aware of my thoughts on this subject. The hiring manager plays a key role in the successful onboarding of a new employee. I can’t say it enough. In fact, I’m going to say it one. more. time.

The hiring manager (that’s you, maybe?) plays a key (mission-critical, really) role in the successful onboarding of a new employee. Tweet this

Sure, other people play an important role in the process, too. But this is on you. Whether you do it yourself, or you delegate some of the tasks to others on your team, you need to make sure that certain things are ready before your newest team member walks through that front door on his first day.

Now, don’t stress, my friends; I’m going to do some of the legwork for you today. Here is your to-do list, a simple compilation of 10 things that you, dear hiring manager, need to have ready in preparation for Day #1:

1. The employee’s desk/workstation/office – Everyone needs a place to sit. You wouldn’t believe the horror stories I’ve heard about people starting new jobs, only to find their desk had been serving as the office catch-all, or was still full of junk left over from the previous desk tenant. I have personally moved into an office, only to find a stockpile of stale granola bars, likely sitting there since the Reagan administration. Yuck. Give your new employee a clean home, please.

2. The employee’s computer, phone, and other necessary equipment and supplies – You can’t expect an employee to do his job unless he has the tools to do so. Make sure this is taken care of in advance; scrambling around after the employee has started sends the message that disorganization reigns supreme in your office. And nobody wants to work there.

3. A lunch date with you on his first day – Take him out of the building, if possible. Ask him what he thinks so far. See if he has any questions. Learn more about him as a person. Be genuine. Start building the foundation for a solid professional relationship.  Be the manager you’d want to work for.

4. A team lunch or social event during his first week – Help him get acquainted with the folks he will be working with. The sooner he can build these allies, the more it will help him assimilate into the team and company culture, and the more he will be able to learn from them.

5. Plenty of meeting time on your calendar during his first few weeks – Give him feedback. Ask for his feedback. Set expectations early on. Open communication is so important during the onboarding process. What am I saying…it’s important all the time.

6. Tasks or projects where the new employee can contribute during the first weeks – Securing “quick wins” is a major factor in the successful onboarding of leaders at all levels. Look for opportunities for the new employee to be productive, early on. He doesn’t need to be able to solve complex business issues – after all, he doesn’t have the context around the issues yet to fully grasp them. But finding strategic areas to contribute will help him build his credibility with you, with the team, and across the organization.

7. Personally introduce the new employee to key stakeholders across the organization – Take the time to walk him around and make some introductions. Coordinate an email or introductory audio or video conference to introduce him to remote colleagues or partners. Schedule informal meet-and-greet sessions (more info on meet-and-greets can be found here). Make sure your new employee is visible.

8. Coordinate a corporate credit card/expense account, travel guidelines or a company car (if needed) – If your employee will need these items, make sure your employee has them. A new employee will not necessarily understand the process, nor will he know who the go-to people are to arrange for these things. Take a moment. Take care of it.

9. Make arrangements for the new employee to attend any company-wide or department-specific new hire training – Craft short and long-term learning plans for him. Make sure he is fully enabled on systems, processes, products and any compliance-related topics. A knowledgeable, confident employee is often a more productive, loyal employee.

10. Do something nice for your new employee – Even the simplest gesture can tell the new employees that you’re happy they’re on the team. Have the team sign a welcome card. Have fresh flowers waiting on her desk when she arrives on her first day. If your organization is big on branded swag, have a fun coffee mug or t-shirt ready. It really doesn’t matter WHAT you do…just take a moment to show your appreciation. Give the new employee a reason to smile on her drive home that night.

Not so scary, huh? You can definitely do this. Some of these items are very practical and specific. Others will vary, based on the new employee’s role, your personal style and your company’s culture. Regardless, these items should somehow be incorporated into your process. To simplify it even further, I’ve created a handy little Onboarding Checklist for you to download.  Use it, tweak it, make it your own…just DO something! Your new employees deserve to have their onboarding experience be a positive one, don’tcha think?

Your turn: Tell me, hiring managers, what is on your onboarding checklist? How do you welcome someone to your team?

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7 thoughts on “Ready or Not?

  1. Jeff Welch says:

    Great advice Michelle! Man, you really know your stuff! I was once employed by two different organizations that joyfully hired me, but then made all the mistakes you mentioned in this post. I felt as if I’ve been invited to a party where I didn’t know a soul and the host simply abandoned me. Not a good feeling for my first day to few weeks within the organization. I wasn’t expecting a red carpet or anything, simply a little welcoming support. Again, great advice! -Jeff

  2. Michelle says:

    Jeff!! You hit the nail on the head – “…invited to a party where I didn’t know a soul and the host simply abandoned me.” Just so you know, I plan to shamelessly use this analogy at some point – ha! ;) Seriously, though…you make an excellent point. Employees aren’t expecting anything grand, but common courtesy and planning make a huge difference. It sets the stage for helping an employee to learn more effectively and become integrated into the role, team and company! Thanks so much for sharing!

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