How to Get Your New Employees Acclimated Effectively & Efficiently

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Jul 21, 2023
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Transitioning someone from a new hire to a capable and efficient partner in your business can be tough work. Unlike orientation, the comprehensive process of employee onboarding takes time, patience, and sometimes, trial and error.

As challenging as it can be for all involved, a strong onboarding process can’t be faked and shouldn’t be skipped. According to a recent Gallup poll, new hires who report having a great onboarding experience with their employer are 2.6 times more likely to be happy with their jobs (and to stay with the business). 

The link between successful onboarding, high retention and strong employee engagement is clear. In this post, I’ll share four of my top tips for getting your new employees acclimated effectively, so they can start adding value to your company even sooner. 

onboarding vs orientation

Set Clear Expectations for New Employees at the Outset 

Outside of the information they receive during their interviews, new employees often have little idea of what’s expected of them or even what their day-to-day should look like. When a new hire walks into a new role at a new company, they can feel like a fish out of water and will want to have some concrete expectations to help them find their footing. 

After the initial introductions have taken place, it’s almost never too early to define the job for the employee. As their manager, level-set with them about the types of projects they’ll be working through early on, what kinds of qualities will help them achieve success and what the goals of the department or the broader company are.

It may be helpful for the new hire and their supervisor to conduct an “intake review” of the employee’s existing skills, tasks to focus on in their first few days on the job and when the employee can expect check-ins on their progress. 

RELATED: The Employee Learning Curve - Achieving Employee Development Success >> 

Introduce New Employees to Your Company’s Culture

Despite the fact that you likely touched on company culture in the interview stage, onboarding is a time when new employees are really just beginning to get a feel for the company’s values and mission. How you’ll introduce new hires to your company’s culture during their onboarding will be different based on your unique cultural landscape.

If, for example, your organization is relentlessly client-focused, you might schedule some on-one-on time between the new hire(s) and a tenured employee who shines in the customer service arena. If creativity and innovation are your core values, let new hires know up front that these things are encouraged and rewarded (with tangible examples).

how to create a positive culture that drives performance

Let New Employees Know Who They Can Turn to for Help

No matter how strategic and well-planned your onboarding program is, your new employees will have lots of questions. All employees, but especially those just getting started with an organization, may be reluctant to ask repeated questions of the same individual out of fear that they’re bothering someone or taking up too much time. 

You can ease this feeling and encourage new hires to ask questions by creating a simple resource letting them know where they can direct their inquiries and ask for help. This resource can take the form of a simple list in a welcome email, a PDF for new hires to keep handy on their desktop, or even a print-out included as part of a welcome basket.

Create a miniature “directory” for your new hires, letting them know which specific resources (with names and contact information) they can direct different categories of questions to. For example, you can specify different contacts for questions regarding employee benefits, paychecks, IT and equipment, building specifics and parking, and more. 

RELATED: Six Leadership Skills No Good Manager Can Be Without >>

Help New Hires Meet Team Members Who They Might Collaborate With 

When an employee first starts a job and needs to work with someone they haven’t yet been introduced to, it can be awkward and lead to inefficiencies, especially if the new hire isn’t familiar with the synergy amongst departments or teams. As a manager, you can lessen interdepartmental confusion by introducing your new hire to the folks that they might not be working with on a day-to-day basis but will need to be familiar with when the time comes. 

This practice can also help cut down on the all too common experience new employees encounter where they simply don’t know how another department operates—and maybe are embarrassed to ask.

For example, the accounting world can be a maze for salespeople, but they’ll need to have functional knowledge of how the department operates so that they can answer questions about customers’ accounts and understand their own commissions.

Introducing your new hire to someone who they might see as a resource and, later on, a friend, will help build community, efficiency, and above all, workplace happiness. 

RELATED: Want Great Employees to Stay? It Starts with Your Onboarding Program >>

Axcet HR Solutions: Your Partner in Recruitment, Retention & Employee Relations 

At Axcet HR Solutions, we serve small businesses and lean organizations that are focused on growing and scaling their core business. Axcet is a full-service Professional Employer Organization that can develop a comprehensive onboarding process unique to your business. 

For all things employee relations, recruitment, retention, compliance, and more, contact the experts at Axcet HR Solutions, an HR company. Onboarding and orientation are just the beginning of what we can help with at Axcet. To find out how we can help your small business, reach out to our experts today.

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