The On-boarding Welcome Wagon

One of the great things about being in Human Resources is that, in spite of all of the legalities and buzz words that surface daily, it really is all about treating people the way you would like to be treated.

If you had a visitor from a foreign country coming to stay with you, would you greet them at the door and walk away? Of course not! You would have their room ready, make sure they are comfortable with their surroundings, understand how your household functions, help them with the language and introduce them to others who can make their transition easier.

When you hire a new employee, you should welcome them into your business and your culture the same way. HRMagazine (Vol.50, No.4) references a study conducted by Reed Consulting indicating as much as 4 percent of new employees leave their jobs after a disastrous first day.” With the cost of turnover quoted as high as 60 percent of the new hire’s salary, it makes sense to do all you can to make on-boarding in your organization a positive experience.

While on-boarding includes many facets (paperwork, employer manuals, training, etc.), improving the socialization aspects will help the new hire adjust quicker and be more productive. Some things to consider are:

Prepare in Advance
-¢ Have their desk ready with all of the equipment they will need.
-¢ Assign a computer log-in so they have immediate access to programs.
-¢ Put their name on a welcome board in the lobby.
-¢ Give them a new hire basket with company-branded items.
-¢ Send a notice, with their picture and a short bio to all employees.

Make Them Comfortable
-¢ Take the new employee around the building and introduce him/her to coworkers.
-¢ Show them the location of conference rooms, rest rooms and the coffee pot!
-¢ Make arrangements for someone to take them to lunch on their first day.

Understanding the Environment
The time to start telling the new hire about the environment starts long before their first day-¦.it starts with the interview process. This is the time you should discuss core values; whether the area they will work in is noisy or quiet; whether they will have a desk in an open space or be in an office, etc.

You should also explain what type of management style the person’s supervisor has and what style the employee works best in (so both of you will be able to assess the fit of the position for the candidate). By sharing this information in advance, you will both be confident that your company is the right place for their new career and it lessens the new hire’s anxiety on the first day.

If possible, during the interview process, let the candidate meet the people they will work with directly. Those individuals can also give them a flavor of the company’s atmosphere and be the friendly faces they have already met when they come through the door.

Once hired, spend time discussing the core values of the organization in detail (including how they are visible in day to day operations).

Don’t forget the things that are sometimes taken for granted:
-¢ Check in/out procedure
-¢ How to order office supplies
-¢ How and when to submit expense reports
-¢ Operating the telephone system and company directory
-¢ Current company goals

In conclusion, if you do not have a formal mentoring program in your organization, introducing the new employee to others in a similar job capacity can be very helpful in getting him/her off on the right foot, too. This will give the new hire someone besides the immediate supervisor to go to for questions that may arise as part of their position. It will also give them another person to meet with for brainstorming and help shorten their ramp up time.

After investing so much time and effort to find the right person to invite into your “corporate home,” make sure you do all you can to give them a great first impression and head start to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Karen Melvin is the human resource manager at Resource, a national firm that delivers solutions in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Talent Development and is a winner of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Metro Detroit. Resource provides blended learning and recruiting solutions for clients in IT, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, travel, financial, and more. Headquartered in Troy, Mich. , Resource has satellite offices in Dallas, Texas, and Weston, Florida. E-mail Karen at [email protected].