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Critical Elements To Have In Your Employee Onboarding Programme

Critical elements to have in your employee onboarding programme

As important as any other company initiative, onboarding is your chance to make a good first impression. Are you sure you are doing that?

“I arrived early, excited about my first day and my first real job from college. I just could not believe how disorganised they were. It was like nothing you said. Matter of fact, they were not expecting me till the following week. When I showed her the letter, she had to make phone calls to HR. It was a total mess. I knew then, that I would not be here long.”

That short message was told to me by my daughter who, after finishing college, got her first “real” job. Because of my background in HR, I told her what the first day would probably be like since this was a well-known brand.

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The first date

A new employee starting with your organisation is like a first date. You want to put your best foot forward in the hopes that they feel that they indeed made the right decision to join your organisation.

During the recruiting process, we go the extra mile especially when we feel that we have narrowed it down to the finalist. We leave no stone unturned in making the sale for our respective organisations.

That first official date should be the icing on the cake.

The most important question that they will be asked, at the end of the day, is “How Is The New Job?” When they arrive back home, they will surely be asked that question more than once. Direct family members and close friends will all want to know just how it went. If you are a well-known brand, even more so.

It’s a celebration

Onboarding is not about paperwork.  Forms and paperwork could efficiently be done pre-onboarding.  That first encounter should be about a celebration based on the theme that we are glad you chose us.

Today, people are looking for more than a job –  they are looking for a connection to your organisation.  In my days in HR, I designed a programme which was chronicled in a book title “Creative Onboarding Programmes”.

The most unique factor about our programme was that it focused,  not so much on what we did as a business, but on how we engaged our employees.

Our Onboarding programme was broken into two days.  The first day was onboarding into the organisation.  The second day was onboarding into their respective department.  We put all hiring managers through training and each had a guide-book in how to welcome their newest “family member”…. from introductory email to all their departments to pictorial organisational charts.  Each manager was asked to take their newest member to lunch or do a team lunch at the company’s expense.

We put all hiring managers through training and each had a guide-book in how to welcome their newest “family member”…. from introductory email to all their departments to pictorial organisational charts.  Each manager was asked to take their newest member to lunch or do a team lunch at the company’s expense.

The most unique factor about our programme was that it focused,  not so much on what we did as a business, but on how we engaged our employees.  Our head of the corporate foundation was a part of our programme in describing our philanthropic activities in the community.  Our career development specialist talked about opportunities, career paths, development opportunities etc.

My department spent time not asking about forms and signed documents because those were done pre-onboarding, but talking about our volunteer activities.  Each new employee from day one was given three volunteer days as an opportunity to give back.

My role as VP of HR was to walk them through our businesses and how we made our money.  We described the company’s strategic goal for the upcoming year and how we planned to make it happen.  We tried to cover all the major points in how we do business.

Since one of our businesses was TV, we had a 15 -minute video done which spoke to the narrative of how we started to where we are today and the destination.

We scoured the company to try and match up alumni from their schools.  This person was invited to have lunch with the group which made it an even stronger connection.

Create brand ambassadors from Day 1

My goal was that, at the end of those two days, that person would have a very good feeling in knowing that they did make the right decision.  Our corporate goal was that we were creating brand ambassadors to keep an eye out for talent throughout their sphere of influence.

Employee Onboarding is just as important as any other company initiative built around your employees.

Why ask them?  Because they are the experts.

The importance of getting this right increases the brand power of your organisation.  When new employees join the company, their engagement level is basically at 100 percent.  At no other time during their life-cycle will it ever get that high again.  It is your job to make sure that you connect with them strongly to make sure that you further strengthen that bond. That is why it is important to think beyond those first few days and use every opportunity to keep the embers burning.

At the six month mark, we would typically have a new hire luncheon, and invite as many as we could, back for a check-in.  Our goal for the luncheon was to ask one simple question, “how are we doing so far?”  In a free-wheeling format, we would have an open discussion on what they liked or did not like during their new hire period.  Before the lunch was over, we

In a free-wheeling format, we would have an open discussion on what they liked or did not like during their new hire period.  Before the lunch was over, we asked “what can we do to make new hires more welcome into our company?” Why ask them?  Because they are the experts.

They have just been onboarded for approximately  six months and their experience is fresh in their minds.  This had the beneficial effect of allowing us to consistently tweak our programme over time. In other words, the tweaking should never stop.

There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

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