Author: Vanessa Alcorta
You’ve gone through the resumes, sat through the interviews, extended an offer to the top candidate and a start date is set, what do you do next? Few companies realize the importance of having a plan in place that lends to an intriguing, interactive first day, week and even month. Now, we all know most company’s standard procedure goes something like “Sit behind this desk, here is a print out of our company’s history, review these manuals of procedures, go through the online training and page me if you have any questions”. The individual tries to keep a smile on their face, but inwardly they are stifling yawns and imagining using toothpicks to keep their eyelids open. As the week progresses they start to learn more about the new software or the culture of the work environment and become more comfortable among their co-workers. They start to understand how to apply what those (yawn) manuals and webinars were instructing. Creating a positive, interactive first day could be the key in keeping the new hire around for the long run, establishing best practices and ensuring that all memories are good ones.
What should your new hire process contain? There is nothing wrong with learning the company’s history, everyone should know what the manual says (or at least what it intended to teach). Online training is a very useful tool, but learning everything all at once is a great way to forget almost all of it. I suggest setting a timeline for new hires. If they are not going to be using a certain software (fill in the blank) for two more months then there is no need to go through training on it the first week. Block out some time a couple of days before the intended use of said software and do the training at this time.
Let the new hire get to know the team, preferable in a little more relaxed setting. Group lunches are always easiest, this is a good way for the new hire to learn about the team’s culture, likes, dislikes, preferences and even create a few laughs along the way. If you are too busy to go, that is okay, your new hire may be able to relax a little more with their peers. Continue to keep the team building up through the year, one group lunch is not enough, make it an ongoing event. Encourage everyone on the team to reach out throughout the days and weeks ahead to check on how the new hire is doing.
Since we are discussing the team, maybe they would like to be involved in a discussion concerning ways to make the new hire process more engaging. They may have ideas of ways the history of the company could be more interesting than maybe just a couple of paragraphs on the website. Look into the training webinars, maybe the software company has some options that are more interactive, allowing them to use the software as they are learning it. Creating a notebook with sections for notes on the training, scenarios and areas they will have to focus on will be a great reference tool in the future.
In closing, it is important to think about how to create an enjoyable first day and many to follow for your new hires. In return you will have a more productive and involved employee.