How to onboard a new hire into your collaborative team

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic maker and design platform. She enjoys writing about content marketing, productivity, design, the digital world, as well as pop culture, and diversity. Twitter: @Venngage

The onboarding experience for a new hire should be smooth and well-managed. But this isn’t always what happens.

Companies tend to make the process complicated and stringent, often overwhelming the very employees they are trying to bring into the fold. But there are simple ways to make employees’ onboarding experiences comfortable.

Following these steps, you will easily be able to onboard a new hire into your collaborative team.

Create a welcome packet

New hires have a number of questions—because everything about their new job and new company is still a mystery. This can often cause a great deal of anxiety for new hires, but that is something you can alleviate by creating a welcome packet.

To make things easy—and save on printing costs, keep it digital. Send the welcome packet to the new hire a week or two before they join, so they can review it ahead of time.

The welcome packet should include information about your company and the industry, an organization chart, and a fun questionnaire.

Not sure where to get started? Creating the welcome packet doesn’t have to be too difficult. You can use an ebook template as a jumping off point.

Make a welcoming cover

How do you make the welcome package even more welcoming for your new hire? By choosing the right kind of imagery.

This can be a bit of a challenge. It’s tempting to use stock images that you can easily find while googling ‘welcome emails’, but that isn’t going to do much to help your new hire feel at home.

You need to make your new hire feel like they’re getting to know the company and that means using a cover that accurately conveys your company culture and ethos. If you can take a high quality photograph of your employees at work, or one that shows the office environment, that will go a long way towards easing your new hire’s anxiety.

Personalize the welcome letter

Personalization

One way to make the onboarding experience for a new hire more comfortable is to treat them like a customer. And, just as a brand would try to personalize the experience of the customer, you should aim to personalize the onboarding experience for your new hire.

Even if your onboarding pack includes a template on a business letterhead, customize it for each new hire. This means including a salutation with the hire’s first name, changing the job title, writing about the specific job role, and adding a personal message welcoming them to the company.

Values, mission and culture

While the welcome pack is designed to prepare the new hire for their first day at work, once the big day comes, the HR team needs to change tack slightly.

It is imperative that the entire onboarding process, from the welcome pack to in-office introductions, should focus on instilling in the new hire the company’s values, mission, and culture.

Ensure that the new hire understands your plans to grow your business, and how they fit into that plan. Let them know about the company’s mission statement to—this helps the employees understand what drives the company—not just revenue goals, but its ethos and philosophy. New employees shouldn’t feel like insignificant cogs in a wheel, but more like a small part of a bigger whole.

And finally, what is the company culture? This would have been alluded to in the welcome pack, but the company culture should be reiterated in the office environment, as well.

Outline payroll and benefits

Most job postings tend to outline salaries, benefits, and job perks, but it is important to take time to reiterate these to a new hire on their first day of onboarding.

Discuss the payscale in detail—including probation periods, promotion options, when and how benefits kick in, and what kind of other perks they can enjoy. Remember to emphasize the traditional benefits that the company is offering—such as pension plans, vacation days, and medical insurance.

According to a recent study on company culture myths, employees much prefer having traditional benefits than fun perks such as standing desks, office lunches, and pets. If your organization does provide these perks, let the new hire know about them, but emphasize that these do not come at the expense of the traditional benefits.

Office quirks and rules

Personal development

We’ve mentioned how discussing the benefits, perks, and company culture is imperative in the onboarding process, but you should also let new hires know about any office quirks or rules.

Does your company have a no-jeans rule? Do employees need to log into collaboration tools first thing in the morning? Do all employees bring snacks on Fridays for a potluck? Is there an office meal every month? Are there e-learning opportunities for employee education?

New hires need to know all this and more so they can prepare themselves. But try not to overwhelm them with information—and don’t just list out the rules and quirks in a meeting. Share these rules in an employee handbook or email so they have a guide to refer back to later on.

Add the team events schedule

As we have mentioned, rules and quirks need to be shared with employees during the onboarding period. But you should also let new hires know about team events—weekly team meetings, departmental meetings, project sprints, deadlines, office meals, and team building activities.

Share a clear and concise calendar with the new hire so they know exactly what they can expect and plan for.
Also let them know which events are mandatory, and which aren’t—some meetings may be more relevant to certain people in the department working on a project, after all. An office events calendar is a great way to show the dynamic activities the company takes part in.

Assign an onboarding buddy

Assign a buddy

Make the onboarding experience for your new hire easier by assigning them an onboarding buddy. This person can be a member of the new employee’s team and can take over the role of mentoring the employee and showing them the ropes, along with introducing them to others.

The onboarding buddy is someone that the new hire can turn to for questions and clarifications. The right buddy can make the process of joining a new and unfamiliar environment much easier and more comfortable for new hires.

Just ensure that you choose someone who has the time and the skills for the job—not everyone wants to become someone’s mentor and friend.

Conclusion

While many companies make the onboarding experience for new hires a complex process, keeping it simple is really where the benefit lies.

The most important thing to remember is that your new employee is very much like a new customer—except they are within your office’s four walls and thus, much closer.

Make them feel comfortable, let them learn their way around, and go out of your way to ensure they understand how and why things work the way they do in your company. That will make the onboarding process a success and help your new hire become part of the crew in no time.

Work better, together.

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