Imagine showing up to your first day of work and you’re overdressed. You assumed the company was somewhat formal in their dress code but upon arrival, you realize that everyone wears jeans and t-shirts to work. It’s not the end of the world but it still makes you feel awkward. Your manager then shows you to your desk and it’s covered in a thick layer of dust and is missing a keyboard. Someone finds a keyboard for you and you try to log into your computer except it’s locked by a password. Your manager directs you to IT but you don’t know who that is or where they sit so you wander for a bit until someone finally helps you. You are then told to fill out an enormous stack of paperwork. You’re not sure what it’s all for but your manager says that it’s required, so you sign everything hoping to figure out their purpose later. You then sit at your desk for the next several hours because your manager doesn’t have time to really get into training just yet, before heading home for the day.

If that was your first day of work, how long would you stay with that organization? As a whole, this example is a bit extreme but if you take each individual example of something that went wrong, how many are you guilty of when onboarding a new hire? My hope is that is that you’ve done none of these things but realistically many businesses have committed at least a handful of these onboarding faux-pas.

With Millennials entering the workforce, we are discovering that they don’t stay at any one place of work as long as their baby-boomer parents did. According to SHRM, the average amount of time Millennials stay with a company is approximately six months This tenure increases dramatically with the simple practice of having good onboarding. This does not mean that, as a small business, you are required to create a complicated onboarding program. There are simpler and smaller steps that could be taken to improve onboarding.

Start by thinking about what your new hire needs to know before he or she comes in for the first day of work.

Is there a specific place to park? What is the dress code? Who should they ask for when they arrive?

Then make sure everything is prepared for their arrival.

Do you have the appropriate passwords ready for them to access the technology they’ll be using? Do they have a station/desk/place to sit? Is it clean? Do they have the basic office supplies or tools to do their job?

Finally, think about how you can make your place of work more welcoming to a new hire.

Plan to introduce the new hire to the people they’ll be working most directly with. Consider buying lunch and having a mixer. The new hire will have paperwork to fill out, perhaps go over the paperwork with him or her in case they have questions. This time is an excellent opportunity to go over important policies and expectations for the role. It’s a good idea to try and put together a training plan, or at least have an idea of what tasks you would like to introduce your new hire to.

To remain consistent, it’s a good idea to create a checklist. You may want to create more than one if you have employees performing very different jobs (i.e. mechanic vs. office worker) as they would likely have different onboarding experiences. You will be able to update the checklist as needed and you can even consider getting input from a recent hire to see how you can improve your process. Never underestimate the importance of good onboarding and remember that it does make a difference to your new team members.

Need help with your onboarding processes? Contact us; we can help.