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Onboarding: Make the Most of Their First 90 Days!

Gratitude with Attitude
If you're like most companies, you have a rigorous hiring process that ensures you select the best candidate to fill an open position. You've gone to great lengths to bring the right person through your door. Now what?

Your inclination may be to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that the hard part is over. And it is, kind of...but, if you want to set your newbie up for success, you still have a couple more Ts to cross.

Onboarding is a relatively new term in the business world, but the process, at least in an informal sense, has been around since the dawn of the 40-hour work week. Over time, businesses realized that giving a brief orientation on the first day is only one element of acclimating new hires to their new roles. These days, we know that thoughtful shepherding over the first 90 days is the key to a long-lasting, positive relationship. For successful new employee onboarding, you need to provide:

The Rules. If you have an employee handbook or other kind of guide, day one is the very latest you should get that in your new hires' hands. Many companies give them out when the offer is made, so new employees can familiarize themselves ahead of time. The last thing either of you wants on the first day is a misunderstanding of what is acceptable and not. Details like dress code, professional conduct, and working hours are just a few good-to-knows that are really good to know. And, while they're getting to know about you, don't forget to get to know them by having them fill out a "Tell Us About You Form."

A Warm Welcome. If you're filling an open position, it's quite likely that this new person is going to bring relief to the rest of your team. You are happy to have them, right? Be sure to show it! At Baudville, we sign a welcome card from everyone in the company and present a welcome gift on the first day. For starters, we make sure they have a journal and pen for taking lots of notes and tumbler or mug to stay refreshed while they're taking in all that new information. Oh, and that new workspace they're occupying? Nothing says welcome like a clean desk with clean, empty drawers (that is, no dusty leftovers from the last resident)!

A Peer to Shadow. Your handbook is great for detailing explicit company policies, but we all know that there are always those unspoken nuggets of wisdom. Your new hire needs an insider or mentor to help guide them through the ins and outs of your company culture. Select a person who is sociable, experienced in the company, and whose work relates as closely as possible to your newcomer. This person will introduce them to the building, the people, the office supply cabinet, the all-important coffee station, and any other resources they'll need to function.
•   Check in regularly. Set up a weekly one-on-one meeting with your new hire. Here you can talk about expectations, listen and learn about their challenges and successes, set priorities, and plan for the future.

•  Go to lunch. Within the first week, take your new hire to lunch either on your own or with your team. This casual, low-pressure time will help make your new team member feel more comfortable and more connected, plus it's a great time for everyone to get to know each other better.

•  Learn something new. The onboarding period is not only a time of great benefit to those new to your company, it's also an excellent time to review your practices and procedures. If your new hire asks, "Why?" it might be time for you to ask the same question. Being receptive to an outsider's perspective can help open up your department or business to improvements you might not have imagined on your own.
Communication and feedback are integral to the success of all employees, but especially new hires. Read about how consistent and informal recognition can help.

"Does Your Team Know What Will Make Them Successful?" Read on...
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