Q&A: How to bring new, happy employees on board

One of the best parts of Susan Gardner’s job as the National Director of Human Resources for Basware is handing out 5, 10 and 20-year awards to longtime employees of the global company that specializes in networked source-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and innovative financing services.

But before an employee can get to that point, they need to have a strong start from the moment they first walk in the door, Gardner believes. The experienced human-resources expert says that onboarding a new hire is a key moment in that person’s life, both personally and professionally. So she likes to take time to make sure that experience is a good one.

Basware, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., is a larger company, and that makes Gardner take extra care with new colleagues, ensuring they feel like a part of the team and a part of the larger family at the international business.

Corp! magazine talked to Gardner about how she and Basware approaches the process of bringing a new hire into the company.

Q: Why do you do the work you do?
A: Our goal as a company is to create an inclusive, diverse and positive work environment. That is part of the reason why we were recognized with the following awards: “Great Place to Work”, “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation”, and “Best Places to Work” for multiple consecutive years. 

Q: What does the onboarding process look like at Basware?
A: One of the first things we do when we bring someone on board is build out dedicated plan for first week, month and two months on the job to have a good roadmap to follow. We also make sure they get to meet with everyone important for them to be successful in their work life early on in their journey. That way, they have a structure in place so they know where to go for answers.

Q: How else do you offer support to a new hire?
A: We have each new employee receive a designated buddy from day one – that way, they know they have someone to support them in their journey. We also make sure someone, like their buddy or their direct supervisor, takes them to lunch on their first day. We truly believe it is that important to give them a good start.

Q: What other things do you do to make sure someone feels welcome?
A: We have a variety of things, such as our website, where new hires can find self-paced e-learning. We also make sure the human touch is involved as well – we start right away with giving them a welcome bag with branded items, notebooks, pens and anything else we can think of. We want to make them feel like a part of the organization from the first day.

Q: Why is supporting a new hire so important to you and to Basware?
A: You hear a lot about something called ghosting these days among human-resource professionals. Basically, it means a new hire might show up for one or two days of work – maybe even a whole week – and then they disappear. They are like a ghost. We wanted to do as much as we could to avoid that situation. We created these programs to address that issue and to give our new hires the best start that we can. It’s a very planned approach. … When we were a smaller company (before Basware acquired us), we had to find no- or low-cost ways to build our business. That meant coming up with creative ways to build our culture. Now, we’re able to support these initiatives on a deeper level, but we always come back to the idea that we have to do the best that we can to make sure we’re building a great culture.