Employee onboarding

Many companies make the mistake of spending months building a pipeline for recruiting the very best people, but then spend little time actually onboarding them to make sure they are successful.

Here are some simple ideas your office manager or head of people can try as you onboard new people.

Send out a welcome letter

Send a welcome letter to the new employee—and cc all the teams that person will be working with closely. The letter will explain the person, their role, who they will report to, what their goals are for the quarter, as well as potentially one interesting fact about them they are willing to share. The idea is to ensure each new person has a clear role and responsibilities, and that the rest of the organization is aware of these things. The interesting fact creates an ice breaker for their coworkers to be able to start a conversation with the new hire.

Welcome Package

Create a checklist of items that each new person receives as they show up for their first day at the company. This should extend beyond the utilitarian items of laptop and email address. Include a book on management the company aspires to emulate, a T-shirt or hoodie, and if they have a newborn leave them a onesie. You can also have a handwritten (or signed) note welcoming the individual to the company.

Buddy system

High-growth companies tend to have their own jargon, internal tools, and random processes that are unique to them. Pair a new hire with a “buddy”—someone who is not in the reporting chain of command with them who can take them to lunch, introduce them to people, and importantly answer any “stupid” questions they may have. Buddies tend be paired for one to three months.

Make sure they have real ownership

The biggest obstacles to happy employee onboarding tend to be (1) a bad manager/ employee relationship, and (2) a lack of feeling of ownership for the area they were hired to do. The prior owner of a project may linger longer then is needed in order to get credit for the prior work done. Acknowledge their work but ramp them down as quickly as is reasonable so the new employee can find their legs. If it is a short time window (two weeks to launch) you can have the original owner launch the product or do the work. If it is a longer timeframe (two months) you should transition the project.

Set goals

Each manager can set 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals for new employees. This gives a sense of direction, context, and structure for the new employee. It also emphasizes what is important to get done and that individual’s priorities.