Remember those first day nerves? You’re not alone! Starting a new job is a pretty overwhelming experience for most of us. But, if that experience is positive, any new starter will quickly settle into the team.
And I should know. On my first day at Home three months ago, I felt a combination of excitement, nerves and anticipation. I had so many questions! But the nerves melted when I realised that I already knew what the culture would be like, what my role would be and even who I’d sit next to. I quickly felt right at Home (pun intended!).
That’s because we start building a connection with an organisation from the moment we apply for a job. The stronger that connection, the easier it is for new starters to slot right in. ‘Onboarding’ is the term used to describe what employees feel, see and hear immediately after they’ve been hired — when it’s right, new starters are happier, more productive and stick around for much, much longer.
So how do employers get it right? Well, there’s no magic checklist. Ultimately it’s different for every business, but as a newbie here at Home and a sucker for all things employee engagement, I thought I’d pull together a few pointers:
Know your employee brand
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” That counts for employees too. Every business has an employee brand and by understanding what it’s really like to work in your company, you’ll attract people that’ll fit right in.
Once you’ve articulated your culture – show it off! Don’t be afraid to let the outside world see what it’s like behind the scenes of your organisation. Give your team members the freedom to share their experiences. Here at Home, we take it in turns to cook lunch for the whole office on a Wednesday and have great fun posting our culinary creations on Instagram (even if it’s just beans on toast). It meant I could see what a social and welcoming bunch everyone was before I started.
Let people see the real you
Don’t forget that when you interview someone, they’re also interviewing you. Be honest about the role and give people a chance to experience your company outside the meeting room. A friendly chat with the person on reception or a tour of the office can make a world of difference.
Don’t be a stranger
The limbo period between starting a new job and finishing another can be a lonely place. Check in with your new starter in the weeks leading up to the first day to see that they have everything they need. I was delighted to be told there would be a welcome breakfast waiting for me on the day I joined. The welcome cake however, was a complete surprise!
Plan an amazing first week
A little structure goes a long way and some pre-planned colleague introductions, meeting invites, and team lunches will help your new starter to settle in. Food is a great way to bring everyone together.
Give it time
There’s so much to take in, that two weeks just isn’t going to cut it. The longer someone has to get up to speed, the faster they will reach full productivity. Clear goals and regular catch-ups will mean any issues get smoothed out quickly.
As someone who has just gone through an excellent onboarding process and come out the other side as a fully-fledged Homie, I can vouch that these small differences add up to a big impact. If you’re all about the stats though, I’ve got some of those for you too:
- 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their company for 3 years if they experienced great onboarding
- 20% of employees are more satisfied with their managers when they have formal onboarding
- Up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days
So, its official – first impressions really do count. Let’s make it a good one. And don’t forget the cake!