I came across these commandments for on-boarding in some reading I did a while ago, but I think they are so critical to a successful start, and so appropriate, regardless of the discipline you are recruiting graduates into, that I’m keen to share my top five picks with you. So here’s my useful checklist of some ‘dos and don’ts’ to consider when putting together your onboarding process:
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy employee. One sure-fire way to disappoint your new employee is by not meeting the expectations you have set. It goes without saying that no-one wants to start a job which turns out to be sorely different from what was promised. If you would like the employee to experience different areas of the business as a ‘getting to know you’ activity, that’s fine. Just ensure absolute clarity around why you are asking them to do such a task and how you feel it will benefit them in the future.
Thou shalt clarify the company culture and values. Whilst details such as late policies, benefits and absence policies are detailed in the employment contract, it is important to reiterate these policies and processes in person. It avoids any confusion and gives the graduate an opportunity to ask questions. Likewise, set aside some time within the first week or two to ensure the new employee is fully aware of, and understands, your company values. The values of your company are what your employees should live and breathe by, so communicating them to new employees will help them fit right in and really get to grips with the beliefs that lie at the core of your business.
Thou shalt have relevant paperwork prepared. Getting all of the administrative forms completed and signed as soon as possible will save you time in the long run. It will show the new graduate that you are organised, prepared and keen to follow procedures and get all administrative duties up and running as soon as possible. Having been a student for the past few years, a delay with that first pay cheque would most certainly not be welcomed!
Thou shalt introduce thy employee to thy neighbours. Make sure you do a walk around with the new graduate and introduce people in the business and their roles. It sounds obvious, but so many people fail to do this, leaving the employee feeling nervous and isolated. Take the new employee for lunch during their first week and point out the best local lunch deals. Or perhaps organise a company/department drinks night to allow the new employee to get to know everyone in a more relaxed, social environment. Getting to know colleagues and the local area is a crucial part of onboarding.
Thou shalt think beyond the first few days. It’s very easy to plan out the first couple of weeks diligently and then hope the new employee just knows what to do on a daily basis from there on in. Try to think beyond this – what do you want them to have achieved in 90 days? Arrange regular review meetings to see their progress and ask them how they feel their getting on; what are they enjoying? What are their challenges? Don’t let that urgent email or telephone call let this regular contact slip. Changes to the plan are of course inevitable, but ensure things are rearranged and kept on track. This will help you build trust and a strong working relationship, which is imperative to retaining the best graduates.