12 Simple Ways to Show New Hires They Matter

Onboarding and Orientation are your first opportunities to develop a meaningful and lasting relationship with your new hires. Onboarding is an ongoing process of building engagement from the first point of contact until the employee becomes established within your organization. Orientation is the crucial stage of the onboarding process where new employees learn about the company and their new responsibilities within it.

Studies have shown that taking the time to lay a solid foundation during the onboarding process boosts employee retention and benefits everyone involved:

  • Staffing turnaround times are substantially shorter
  • Other employees carry less of the burden and focus on their top priorities
  • New hires are useful and productive quicker and stay with the company longer
  • Candidates can be proactive and take steps to familiarize themselves with the company on their own time, reducing their stress and your expense

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Ensure your incredible new employee’s first day is productive, purposeful, and organized to make a great first impression and improve your odds of retaining top-tier talent. Here’s how:

1. Send a personalized email to welcome the new employee a day or so before their start date. Include time, date, location, and the name of the person who will be heading up the orientation. List anything they should bring with them. Identification, meals, special equipment or clothing--make a comprehensive checklist and keep it current. Let new hires know what to expect on their first day. Include organized links to employee handbooks, FAQs, legal paperwork, policies and procedures, videos, and tutorials. These systems should be continuously improving as you get feedback from your new hires.

2. Prepare your staff. Gather your staff (or send an email) a few days before your new hire arrives. Encourage and facilitate ideas to welcome and successfully onboard fresh recruits. Note their job title, direct supervisor, and pertinent information, and get your team excited about what this new player is bringing to the table. Select an amazing company representative to show them around. Choose an ambassador wisely to ensure your corporate culture is accurately and positively reflected. They will be responsible for helping them settle in over the next few weeks, and even years. Involve senior leadership, mentors, and A-Players to put your company's best foot forward. 

3. Nail the basics. It really isn’t rocket science. New employees require some basic tools to get started. It is astonishing how many first-day horror stories are out there--new hires showing up to a workplace that has failed to provide them with a desk, a computer, or even the most rudimentary supplies. Implement an excellent automated onboarding system, but be sure to provide a personal touch as well. There is no shortage of paperwork with new hires. A comprehensive introduction package complete with business cards, email account, keys, security codes, calendars, and the like let people hit the ground running. Add important dates and benchmarks to their calendar, including training, follow-ups, performance reviews, and meetings to allow new employees to feel like part of the team immediately. Your employees should have the tools they need at all times, but it is especially important at this fledgling stage. You get one chance to make a first impression--make the most of it.

4. Go above and beyond. Be unique and memorable. If the new employee has recently moved to your area, provide a welcome package for the family. Gift certificates for great local restaurants. Maps. Points of interest. Tips on getting around. A local gym membership. Think outside the box to welcome your new hire and it will not soon be forgotten. What better opportunity to showcase your culture, your vision, and your values than by fostering an immediate sense of community?

5. Teach new hires to speak your language. A comprehensive glossary of company acronyms, industry terminology, and buzzwords makes the whole process less intimidating and facilitates quicker assimilation, integration, and productivity. We’ve all been “left out of the loop” at some point and know how unpleasant and counterproductive it is. Letting people in on your lingo is a simple and effective way to catch someone up-to-speed quickly and make them feel like part of the conversation from the get-go.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

6. Make remembering names foolproof. Remembering names is a daunting task for many of us at the best of times. It can cause a great deal of anxiety and requires a lot of brain power. During orientation, new hires should be focused on learning tasks at hand. Take the pressure off by creating an organizational chart with individual and team photos. It lets new employees breathe easy and avoid embarrassment by studying at their leisure later. Be sure to include name, contact information, position, and supervisor.

7. Meet the team. Start with the new hire’s immediate supervisor, then team or department members. Nothing sets someone’s mind at ease like meeting the people they’ll be working alongside. Try not to introduce too many people at once, and ensure your new hire can steal a moment to review the organizational chart, names, and photos along the way.

8. Tour the facility. Getting the ‘lay of the land’ helps people to relax in their new surroundings. Where do you park? Where is the supply room? And more importantly, where are the donuts? Take this opportunity to go through security protocol, check that all keys and ID cards work properly, and ensure that your new hire is confident and comfortable getting around.

9. Answer their questions. Getting the same questions time after time? Your FAQs and handbook probably require improvements. Take the time to lay the groundwork by answering questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to say “I’ll get back to you on that.” No one has all the answers 100% of the time, and it sets the tone for transparency and doing things right--the first time!

10. Paint a clear picture of what success looks like. Just like our amazing office manager says, “clear is kind.” Just because someone has amazing skills and capabilities doesn’t mean that they will automatically ‘translate’ in their new position at your company. Even expert new hires can feel a bit like a fish out of water when they find themselves in a new environment. Clear, measurable goals and realistic expectations set the right tone from day one.

11. Get started. Find a practical way for your stellar new hire to make a valuable contribution on their very first day. It cements the relationship and creates an air of excitement and possibility.

12. Follow Up. Everyone has questions. Ensure that a dedicated team member is available to answer them. Schedule a post-orientation follow-up (with a senior manager if you aren’t available to do so personally) after their first week, and at key intervals for their first year. New hires are particularly susceptible to turnover during the first three to six months. Onboarding is a process, and if you do it right, your employee retention rate will skyrocket. New employees who feel valued and heard tend to stay with organizations for significantly longer periods of time.

You spend untold fortunes recruiting, vetting, hiring, and training stellar employees. Don’t let your time and money go to waste. Make sure your new hire’s first year is positive and productive, and you will see far greater job satisfaction and long-term employee retention.

Hiring Honest Help in 5 Simple Steps

An original Macintosh team member coined the phrase ‘reality distortion field’ in reference to Steve Jobs’ amazing ability to “present what he would like to be true as if it were already reality.” When it comes to resumes and interviews, all candidates are attempting to showcase themselves in a favorable light. Where do we draw the line between self-confidence and deceit?

Photo Credit Amanda Dalbjörn/Unsplash

It’s your job to invest enough time and energy in the hiring process to see through any deception and hire the best candidate available. Studies show that upwards of 80% of all job-seekers lie (or at least stretch the truth) on their resume. The more time you spend with an applicant, the more likely you are to get a true and accurate portrayal of who they are.

The following five-step hiring system is very effective for most small to medium-sized businesses.

1) Sort candidates by resumes, cover letters, and salary histories. Is the cover letter tailored specifically to the position and your company, or is it a generic stab in the dark? Does their resume show relevant work history? Can you afford to hire them? Grade applicants on a point system in terms of qualifications, education, relevant experience, and the factors most important to you and your business. Let technology help you uncover any inconsistencies (or flat out lies) by screening CVs with resume parsing software. There are countless apps and programs to store and analyze data, allowing you to find ideal candidates quickly, and weed out those that are a little less than honest. Pay special attention to red flags such as spelling errors, gaps in work history, short-term employment, and decreasing responsibilities while working for the same employer.

2) Narrow your list of candidates down through the use of phone interviews. This will often cut your list of potential hires in half. Ensure that you or your hiring manager are doing a lot more listening than talking. Get to know this person. Jot down a few key words to describe your first impressions. You only get one chance. Is this someone you want representing you and your company? Do they have quick, relevant answers to your questions, or do they attempt to steer the conversation elsewhere? Keep digging until you get the answers you need. Rephrase. Try another tack. Do not move on until you are satisfied with a candidate’s response. The questions they are evading are the ones you really need the answers to.

3) Conduct an in-depth phone or video interview with the top candidates and decide who you would like to meet in person. If you have strong contenders, 3 interviews will likely suffice. This is a great opportunity to gather candid information that isn’t on their CV, and unearth impromptu falsehoods. I was helping one of our large retail clients hire a new COO. One candidate they were particularly interested in had his PHD in business and a tremendous track record in a related industry. When I fact-checked him it all began to fall apart. The trick is to ask for specific examples tied to the applicants claims. For example, if a candidate says they helped close a $400,000 account, ask exactly what they did to bring in the account. What was their role in this process? Who else was on the team? And so forth. Details are easy to recount for someone who is telling the truth. They are remembering, rather than fabricating. Even the details they can’t quite recall are believable. If someone is lying, their story eventually breaks apart.

4)  When you believe that you have narrowed your search to two or three ideal candidates, let them know where they stand. Make sure that they are committed and available if they are awarded the position. There are a lot of people that are simply unprepared to leave a comfortable or lucrative situation, even at this late stage in the hiring process. When you have the responses you are looking for, interview your finalists at least three times, in three different locations, involving at least three team members. The 3x3 method removes personal bias, ensures a well-rounded view of each candidate, and encourages your top talent to participate in team-building strategies. Plan your questions in advance according to your hiring system and needs. Debrief with your HR team as soon as possible. You'll find it gets difficult to differentiate between candidates after the fact, so detailed notes are extremely important. Looking for a telemarketer? You will gain a lot of insight through a phone interview, while if you are looking for a baker, a practical skills test in the kitchen is where they’ll prove their worth. Your ideal candidate should shine at every step of the hiring process, whether it be a phone, skype, or live interview, or practical test or challenge. Once you have determined that a candidate merits closer inspection interviewing in various locations helps you see them in a different light. A formal interview in the boardroom could extend to a casual walking tour of the facility, or to the park outside for lunch. People often relax and open up in different settings.

5) Check references diligently. Ensure that the person you are speaking to was expecting your call, and is actually in a position to evaluate the candidate. Listen carefully, and read between the lines. Most references will not come right out and tell you that Karen was habitually late or Dale was fired for theft due to liability issues. Treat neutral references as though they were negative. Previous employers should have great things to say about past employees, and if they don’t, something is likely very wrong. It is important not to interrupt, coach, or lead the reference. The information you are gathering is crucial and should be as accurate as possible. Ask specific open-ended questions. “I understand that Charles spearheaded several community initiatives. Could you elaborate on that?” Hinting at your concerns can elicit honest, thoughtful responses. “I see that Jeff doesn’t have much managerial experience. Do you think he would be successful supervising a team of 12?”

Photo Credit Felix Mittermeier/Unsplash

Look to your extended network to gain any additional information. Ask around, and vet candidates on LinkedIn and social media platforms to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Instill adequate probationary periods, and set up a performance plan with measurable results for any mis-hires who manage to slip through the cracks.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that some people lie. Protect yourself, your employees, and your business, by implementing a sound hiring process with ample checks and balances. Spend the time to hire right the first time, and watch your business flourish.

Exit This Way Presentation March 7, 2019

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