When employees are first hired, it’s important to embrace them with open arms and make them feel comfortable — meeting new people and embarking on new experiences can be overwhelming and intimidating for many people.
Unfortunately, the onboarding process has become clinical for most companies. It’s all about checking off a to-do list:
Complete lengthy paperwork
Go to a quick introduction meeting
Take a tour of the office (if in-person)
Hear a rundown of company values
Watch an outdated introduction video
The reality is that these cold and tired introductions don’t make the best first impression.
Too often, companies neglect the most crucial part of the onboarding process — making the employee feel valued and like they’re a part of the team from the get-go.
This plays a role as to why almost 40% of employees leave within their first year. Businesses have to do a better job orienting their new employees, especially now that an increasing number of offices are working in digital or hybrid environments.
The Importance of a Warm Welcome
Onboarding a new team member sets the tone for the relationship between employee and employer going forward. If it’s a warm introduction, where the employee feels welcome to ask questions and engage, that will set a positive precedent for the future.
Alternatively, if the onboarding process is cold and disjointed, the new person will feel the company at large is unwelcoming. First impressions matter a lot with new employees, which is why the onboarding process is so crucial.
In fact, people who had a carefully created onboarding experience were 58% more likely to be with the same company three years later. Moreover, companies with standardized onboarding processes saw 50% higher productivity from their new team members.
However, it’s not all about productivity and longevity. The truth is that it’s stressful starting a new job with new co-workers. Creating a warm onboarding process helps alleviate that stress and those first-day jitters, positively contributing to the new employee’s well-being from the very first day.
It’s a way to ensure long-term happiness and security, and in many ways, it’s one of the most compassionate things a company can do.
5 Steps to Make a New Employee Feel Valued Right Away
1. Be Honest During the Interview Process
A company can ensure a successful new hire by being honest from the beginning. It can be tempting to exaggerate the positives of a workplace and downplay the negatives during the interview process. However, that only leads to a frustrated and disappointed employee down the road. Instead, companies should focus on being honest with applicants from the beginning.
While it might make the job seem less exciting, it will ultimately result in finding the best employee for the job. It also helps establish the company as trustworthy from the beginning. If a company is honest about its strengths and weaknesses, an employee will be more likely to trust the company moving forward. It’s terrific footing with which to start a new employment relationship.
2. Start Engaging Before the First Day
After an applicant accepts the job, the HR team or supervisors should consider sending a welcome email or making a welcome phone call to congratulate the new employee. This helps break the ice before the first day and gives the employee the chance to ask questions before starting.
Additionally, the HR team should consider digitally sending all necessary paperwork over before the first day. No one likes spending their first day at a new job stuck in the HR department filling out paperwork. Of course, companies need to make sure to compensate the employees for doing the paperwork ahead of time.
3. Provide a Clear and Consistent Orientation
The HR team and supervisors should spend time curating an onboarding process for all new hires. There should never be a moment where the new employee is wondering what they should be doing.
The onboarding process needs to include reviewing company values, culture and responsibilities. It needs to include consistent messaging from all people and materials, and it needs to be consistent from employee to employee. Streamlining the orientation process helps make it a uniform process for everyone.
The orientation process should have designated points that extend beyond the first day, such as check-ins every couple of weeks. Many companies also provide long-term mentors for new hires, which is an excellent way of helping new employees get adjusted. Employers need to be sure that the new mentors are enthusiastic and consistent with company messaging and expectations.
4. Allow for Introductions
Getting to know the team is one of the most critical aspects of successful new employee onboarding. Companies should consider ditching the impersonal (and often uncomfortable) all-employees meeting where everyone gathers at one time to meet the new hire(s). It can be overwhelming and doesn’t really allow the person to get to know their new teammates.
Instead, supervisors should consider allowing new employees to spend around fifteen minutes with each co-worker they’ll be working with. It shouldn’t be about shadowing the person, but instead a one-on-one “getting to know you” session. It’s also essential to ensure that all new employees meet with all their supervisors within the first week to talk about long-term goals, expectations, career development and more.
It can also be helpful to create a chart of every co-worker and supervisor, including their name and role for the new person to keep at their desk. This takes the burden of learning everyone’s name off the table.
5. Spend Time Going Over Benefits
Around 1⁄3 of all employees don’t understand their benefits packages. Today’s conscientious employers put a lot of thought into their benefits packages, but if the employees don’t know how to use them, they will not be beneficial.
Companies should spend time going over all benefits in the first week of orientation so that employees know exactly what benefits their employer provides. Too often, HR departments just hand out packets and hope the employees read them. Instead, organizations should sit down with new hires and go over the traditional benefits at length, so the employees never have to wonder.
Additionally, to really win over new hires and help contribute to their present and long-term well-being, companies should consider offering comprehensive lifestyle benefits in addition to traditional benefits.
The Fringe Benefits platform allows employees to choose the benefits that enhance their lives today. With over 100 different options, employees can use their points to customize their lifestyle benefits packages.