Onboarding New Staff
No it’s not a pirate training thing. It’s how you welcome new people into your organization. There’s tons written about this that addresses the details, Inc. magazine has several including this one. The best way to understand why onboarding is important is to put yourself in the shoes of the new employee. I don’t care who you are, starting work at a new place is stressful and anxiety producing along with (hopefully) being exciting and offering the promise of a bright future.
So, if it is your first day, which scenario would you care for:
Scenario A – You are show up on the first day, but your direct supervisor is in meetings off-site until nearly the end of the day. He does give you a call and directs you to HR which has expected you, but doesn’t really have a lot time for you. You’re directed to your desk, which is a bit dusty and has a broken monitor on it along with your new computer!
Which is still in the box.
You are given a raft of forms to fill out and a pen with the company logo. Various other staff say hello, but aren’t exactly sure who you are. You diligently fill out all the forms, return them to HR and ask what’s next. They tell you to go ahead and contact IT and get them to help you set up your computer. You do that and after waiting for an hour for them to help you, you are guided through a tedious and frustrating computer setup. Near the end of the day, your supervisor shows up and asks how you’re doing. You tell him, but while you’re doing so, he checks his Blackberry for the first (but not the last) time.
IT says they’ll have your email address up sometime tomorrow and will work on getting you access to the sections of the server that you’ll need over the course of the week, but hey, you know how things go!
You trudge out to your car and notice that you have a parking ticket. You thought you were in a good spot, but as you stand there in a bit of a daze, one of your new officemates walks by and says, “Oh. Yeah, that’s a tricky spot, it looks good, but this half of the block is a sure place to get a ticket! Bummer. See you tomorrow”.
Scenario B – You show up for the first day having already filled out most of your paperwork electronically and via the company’s Learning Management System. You’ve already watched a number of orientation clips and have a pretty good feel for things at the company. Your supervisor asked that you call him when you hit the parking lot and had sent you a map of where to park and where not to park. He meets you at the entrance and introduces you to folks on the way to your desk. Your desk is totally outfitted; business cards, cell phone, and computer, a welcome message in your email inbox from management and from IT and HR, each letting you know how welcome you are to contact them for help and how pleased they are that you’ve joined the team. There’s a small welcome basket of snacks (no peanuts because they already know that you have an allergy). You set down your bag and your boss takes you around to the rest of the team. You meet your “buddy”, a team member specifically assigned to be your Go To for any question, especially the “stupid” ones. Then you visit with HR to take care of a few outstanding items.
There is a welcome on the company intranet website which means that everyone in the company knows you’ve started and who you are. Several staff have added comments welcoming you to the company.
You end the day with a small welcome gathering at the pub around the corner that your immediate team members put together to end the day. You head home feeling a sense of inclusion and welcome. The future looks bright.
Now, how much effort would it really take to turn Scenario A into Scenario B? You probably put Scenario B levels of effort into the impression you work to make on clients. Isn’t a new staff member in many ways going to be as important to your organization as a new client? Can’t they have a huge positive or negative impact on your business?
Onboarding. It’s not just for pirates anymore.