Onboarding: Do Your New Employees Feel Welcomed? So you have identified the best talent around and have taken the time to create an awesome recruiting experience to match them to available positions. You have selected the applicants that you can’t live without and they have aptly signed on the dotted line to accept your offers. As the hiring manager, what do you do now? Your recruiting strategy should not end at the job offer. The onboarding process not only affects the employee’s perception of the company, but impacts how productive they will be in the role. Onboarding is the second more important HR practice behind recruiting. We all have experienced watching outdated training videos and reading textbook-sized policy handbooks. To improve your onboarding experience, here are some key things to keep in mind: 1. Keep the Enthusiasm High Recruiters love to court candidates early on in the hiring process, learning about the candidate and sharing information about the company. Their enthusiasm throughout this process makes candidates feel wanted and helps them decide whether to accept an offer. The new hire wants to continue to feel this excitement through onboarding to reinforce their decision. Some companies create GIFs and videos of the entire team welcoming new hires to the company. Everyone’s dancing and handmade signs may be cheesy but they are humorous and ease the terror of the unknown when starting a new job. This may be extreme for some businesses but can start with simply extending a welcome to the new hire pre-onboarding and letting them know that everyone is excited to meet and work with them. Also, the hiring manager should let them know what to expect during onboarding and connect them to whomever will lead that process. There is nothing worse than feeling handed over to a complete stranger. 2. Schedule 1-on-1 Time with Direct Managers LinkedIn’s recent study, “Inside the Mind of Today’s Candidate”, found that the majority of new employees agree that time with their direct manager was the most important aspect of the onboarding process. This helps the new hire better understand the company’s mission and their manager’s vision, as well as how they fit into the greater organization. This should be scheduled early in the onboarding process as it sets the tone for other activities and helps the new employee better understand what is expected of them. This also allows both parties to get to know each other better and create natural connections. 3. Make an Agenda for the First Few Weeks The first few weeks after starting a new job can be very awkward for new employees. Extensive time is often spent trying to figure out exactly what work to do, where the office supplies are stored, how to use the phone system and who to go to for help. Plan an agenda for new employees for the first several weeks. Schedule meetings to introduce the new employee to key staff members and clients, and plan tours of the office and important facilities. Providing an agenda helps give the new employee direction until they establish their own routine. It also prevents them from feeling neglected or lost which could dampen their outlook on the job and the organization. 4. Introduce the New Employee to the Community Starting a new job can be scary, especially if it involves moving to a new city. Winston-Salem is a great city but to a newcomer it can be difficult to find your place in the community. Employers must take the time to introduce new hires to local points of interest, neighborhoods, and watering holes. Take them to lunch or dinner, and give them a tour of the community. Invite them to events like “Welcome to Winston”, recently held by the Chamber of Commerce at a Dash baseball game, to connect newcomers to local organizations and businesses. We have an amazing community that has something for everyone and we all must work together to ensure that new and relocated workers feel welcomed in Winston-Salem and see our companies as places for them to prosper. If your company needs extra help or direction with recruitment and retention, please remember to utilize the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce which is dedicated to supporting local businesses and growing our employment base. Walter Farabee, Director of Talent Retention and Recruitment, covers issues related to developing the talent pool in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. He’s a part of the collaborative working group, Piedmont Triad Talent Alignment Strategy.