Onboarding is essential for building strong teams and maintaining employee engagement. It’s one thing to hire new staff—but helping them feel welcomed and prepared to succeed is a whole other ball game. Rushing through onboarding and neglecting to provide adequate support could result in preventable errors, expensive mistakes, and in some cases, the departure of your new employee.
Here’s How to Master Onboarding, So New Employees Feel Like Part of the Team
Employee engagement is at its highest during the “honeymoon phase,” right after a new hire seals the deal and is eager to work. If you invest in your employees’ success during this critical stage, the rewards will return tenfold.
For over 20 years, Pinnacle has supported businesses across Manitoba in recruitment and onboarding—but we also put these practices into play within our own office. Here’s what we do when an employee joins our team, to ensure they have the knowledge, resources, and support network to grow in their new role.
Provide a Comprehensive Written Package of Onboarding Information
There is so much information to process when you begin a new job. There are names to remember, procedures to follow, logins and passwords, and much more. Expecting your new hire to follow verbal instructions isn’t realistic. With an onboarding package, if your new employee forgets anything, they can review the provided materials.
Here are some things that are worth including in an onboarding package:
- A list of company software and programs, what you use them for, and the login information to access them
- Step-by-step guidelines for routine tasks, like expense reporting and opening/closing procedures
- Company policies and contract terms
- An office map with parking instructions
- Employee benefits information
- Relevant team schedule information—particularly if you work within a hybrid model and employees aren’t always on site
Include any branded company merchandise, like coffee mugs, apparel, calendars, or stationery, along with your onboarding package. Everyone loves free gifts! And let’s face it: coffee just tastes sweeter when sipped from a cup emblazoned with the logo of your cool new company.
Get Acquainted! Kick Off Onboarding with a Team Lunch on Day One
High-performance teams are created by building solid relationships. Set the stage for your new employee to develop bonds with the rest of the team! Nothing brings people together quite like pizza, and having a relaxed conversation over lunch is a great way to get to know each other.
If you have a small team at work, invite everyone for lunch. If your team is larger, round up a group of employees who will work closely with your new team member. Check with your new employee if they have any dietary restrictions, so you can choose a restaurant they’ll enjoy!
Outline Employee Progress Benchmarks for the First Few Weeks of Onboarding
Progress is incremental. By outlining week-by-week expectations, proficiencies, and areas of focus, your employee will clearly know what they need to achieve. Start new employees with tasks that familiarize them with basic processes and departments. This will provide them with a solid foundation so they can continue to grow in their role.
With each passing week, introduce tasks that are increasingly challenging. When you properly pace out learning benchmarks, your new employee will have an easier time reaching them. Avoid dumping a lengthy list of projects on their desk without providing a schedule or framework to help them prioritize! That’s a recipe for anxiety and overwhelm.
Check In with New Team Members Throughout the Onboarding Stage
As an employer, maintaining open lines of communication with your team is critical for establishing a healthy work environment. Check in with new hires every few days to see how they’re feeling, answer any lingering questions, or offer support if needed. If there’s an area where they’re struggling, remain tactful and constructive—no one will have it all figured out by week one. Provide opportunities to learn from mistakes and develop new skills, with a heaping side order of positive reinforcement and encouragement!
Create an Onboarding Cheat Sheet Outlining Team Members and Their Responsibilities
Learning everyone’s names in a new workplace is difficult enough as is. Having to know everyone’s duties and responsibilities is doubly challenging! Who reports to whom? Who oversees X, Y, and Z?
Make a spreadsheet that includes the names of everyone on your team, their title, their contact information, and all other relevant information. Organize the names based on their department, then assign different colours to each department. Colour coding goes a long way in making a lengthy spreadsheet easier to navigate!
Looking for ways to prepare new employees for a successful start after onboarding?
Browse the Pinnacle blog for more industry insights and tutorials for building strong teams. As Winnipeg’s premier recruitment agency and a trusted resource for businesses big and small, we’re committed to helping our community work better together.
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