Onboarding Best Practices

By Suetta Miller, HR Generalist

They’ve proven themselves to you during the interview, now it’s your turn to prove you are worthy of their talent by onboarding them correctly.

Remember how middle school dances were? Your parents dropped you off. You stood in a corner praying that no one would ask you to dance, but secretly hoping someone would. And in the end, nothing happened. Onboarding shouldn’t be like a middle school dance.

Having worked at a company, which shall remain nameless, where I was unceremoniously dumped in an empty cubicle with a laptop unconnected to anything, no access card to come and go or operate the copier, and no phone number, I know how onboarding should not go.

Many companies go out of their way to welcome new employees with welcome banners and coffee and donuts or company gear. While you don’t have to get crazy, there are a few key things every company can do to help make the transition a little easier on the new employee.

1. Be ready for her. Have her workspace set up in advanced with computer equipment hooked up and functioning. Have all passwords and network addresses ready and written down.
2. Show her where to obtain the office supplies she will need.
3. Give her a tour of the facilities. Many employees wander down dark hallways looking for the break room only to walk in on a meeting in progress. Ouch!
4. Introduce her to her teammates and the people she will need to know in order to conduct her work. This includes the receptionist, HR, Benefits, and if you have one – the mailroom clerk.
5. Take her to lunch. There is nothing worse than sitting at your desk day after day and not having anyone to lunch with. Especially on your first day. If the company expense policy does not allow expensing business lunches, split the cost between the team members. Make her feel welcome.
6. Have a list of projects ready for her to begin working on. Make sure the supervisor takes the time to go over these projects with her and give her the expected outcomes. Have someone available to show her how to navigate special websites, networks and equipment,
7. Electronic onboarding – have user IDs and passwords ready for her so she can easily complete her part of the paperwork required for employment, including benefits elections and direct deposit.
8. Explain any collaborative processes, such as shared calendars, conference room reservations or screen sharing meetings.
9. Finally, check in with her at the end of the day to see how her first day was. Notate any issues that arose and make a point of resolving those issues the next business day.

Onboarding shouldn’t be a difficult task, nor does it have to be time consuming. A good plan is all that’s needed to ensure each new employee’s first day is a step toward retaining that hard-won talent, rather than losing it. Remember, treat them as you would want to be treated.