Improving employees’ initial days and weeks on the job
Monday, August 29, 2016 5:41:54 PM

Any organization makes its first impression on its new hires through onboarding. Therefore, onboarding programs should be given utmost importance. For a new employee, initial few days and weeks are very critical, as this is the time when he/she fits into the organizational culture and becomes as productive as possible at the earliest. Orientation, the predecessor of onboarding, also plays an important role by assisting new hires in getting familiar with the new environment.

In today’s time, orientation is not merely a stand-alone event. Rather, it is the element of a more comprehensive process. Still today, some consider onboarding as a mere buzzword for orientation or something that is relevant only for big organizations. However, it is not true all the time. Even small and mid-size organizations should give importance to orientation in order to ensure that their new members get satisfied and productive as early as possible.

More than being just a custom, the onboarding process acknowledges that what new employees learn in their first few days has a profound impact on their ability to deal with various challenges they may face in the future. All the matters related to training, scheduled milestones, interactive meetings, and mentoring programs are all covered within the process.

Although new hires have been on the company premises during the interview or other selection phases, their first-day experience at their work will leave a lasting impression. Imagine, if, on their very first day at the new job, they find it hard to locate their workstation or the person to contact for other official issues, how will they feel? Further, if there is no clarification as to what is expected out of them and their supervisor is nowhere to be found, then? Doesn’t this sound scary?

Easing the Anxiety of Newcomers

Organizations should extend a planned first-day welcome to put newcomers at ease. The following are some ways to do it.

  • Make sure that all newcomers are greeted warmly at the reception
  • Make arrangements for new hires to be escorted to their workstations or cabins
  • Introduce newcomers to other employees and associated employees personally.
  • Telling newcomers that the organization is glad to have them onboard and a comprehensive introduction to the organizations and job details will be provided in the coming days. Such messages will make them feel valuable right from the day one.

Organizations also need to take this process further during the first week by ensuring that basic business functioning and the organization’s details are conveyed to new members. Some of these details are as follows:

  • The organization’s fundamental products or services
  • The size of the organization and the general organizational framework
  • The industry overview and chief competitors
  • The organization’s vision and mission
  • Strategic objectives of the organization

The early follow-up, which is a critical part of the onboarding process, should also be arranged during the second week of joining.

  • The supervising officer or any authorized person should meet employees at predetermined points at least two weeks after their joining.
  • New employees should be asked if they understand the business well, if they are clear about their roles, if they have any doubts or queries that haven’t been resolved, and so on.
  • They should be asked about their opinions on their training programs. They should be asked what developmental experiences they would like to be exposed to.
  • These follow-up meetings could also facilitate the evaluation of the organization’s onboarding process.

Although these steps call for substantial investments in resources and time, the cost/benefit analysis justifies it. The failure to conduct the onboarding process effectively may result in the failure of these employees in their individual roles, causing an embarrassment to the organization. On a positive side, an effective and successful implementation of this process will lead to greater employee satisfaction, better performance levels, and the long-term retention of employees. The onboarding process also helps organizations showcase that they value their employees’ happiness and want them to excel in their roles.