A new employee’s first week at your company can be crucial in setting the tone for the rest of their time working for you. With the highest percentage of employee turnover happening in the first few months, it’s more important than ever to actively make an effort to engage new team members right from the start.
Onboarding, the process of integrating a new employee into your organization, is a great way to ensure your new employees feel welcomed and are prepared to succeed right from the start.
Here’s how you can make the most of your employee’s first week— and how to make your onboarding process as successful as possible.
The First Day
The first day of your onboarding process is important, especially if you have a close-knit team of people who need to work together cohesively. You want your new employees to go home at the end of the day feeling welcomed and hopeful for the start of their new careers, but it’s just as easy for them to leave feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
On day one, you should focus on helping your new employees get familiar with their surroundings and their coworkers. This means not overlooking the things you might consider “obvious,” like how to work the coffee machine or where the washrooms are.
Even if you have a busy day ahead of you, you should make time in your onboarding schedule to organize a brief coffee break to introduce your new employees to others in the workplace. It can be especially helpful if you establish a “mentor”—someone who has been at the company for some time but is close to the new employees’ level in the organization. This way, if your new hires are nervous or shy, they have someone approachable to go to for help.
In terms of the new employees’ actual duties, the first day is also the time to review their schedules and your company policies. Sit them down to review their job descriptions and your expectations of their workdays, and provide them with any training materials they may need.
Days Two to Four
Days two through four of your onboarding process should be focused on employee training and getting new hires set up to work independently. For example, if they need to work with computers, this part of the first week should be spent familiarizing them with programs they need to use regularly. If they’re working with machinery, they should spend this time learning the ins and outs of operating these tools.
If you have any team meetings during these critical days, make sure to set aside some time during the meetings to allow your new employees to voice their opinions or introduce themselves. They may not have much to add at this time, but giving them the opportunity to speak to the team will show them you value their contributions and you consider them assets to the team.
The last day of the workweek should be spent both on reviewing new hires’ performance and looking towards the future. If they struggled with anything during their first week, now is the time to review what they could do better and how you can help them get there.
It’s also the time to look further into their careers by asking them about their goals and what they would like to contribute in a year’s time. By setting long-term goals, you not only get a better sense of what motivates your employee, but you also show them you’re actively investing in their futures and their value to the company.