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How to Implement a Killer Employee On Boarding Process

By February 19, 2013 12 Comments

Does Your Company Have a Formal Employee On Boarding Process?

Even in a sluggish economy with a high unemployment rate, employers have a hard time finding really great employees. You've heard the notorious breakup line, "It's not you, it's me!" but have you ever thought about how that statement might apply to your relationships with your employees? Now, I'm not trying to imply that there's something wrong with you or your business. I'm simply trying to point out that it might not be a matter of finding great employees, but building great employees. Today’s workforce does not want to be defined by their job; rather, they want to be identified with a company that has true purpose. Companies that focus on creating a workplace that engages employees will, in turn, create a business that engages its customers.

It is absolutely crucial that you start engaging your employees as soon as possible--as in, the day they agree to come work for you. Here are some steps you should follow to ensure an awesome on boarding experience for your next new hire.

Get the Details Down to a Science

No new hire likes the nitty gritty paperwork or endless form filling involved with joining a new company. But you know what they like even less? Having to come in three or four times to fill out paperwork, because various departments didn't coordinate their schedules. Or having their start dates delayed because someone forgot to send in a request for a background check. What's even worse for the employer, if any of these steps are overlooked, you could run the risk of hiring someone with a drug problem or criminal record. Make sure you document all of these must have steps and map out who is responsible for what. The more efficient this part of the process is, the faster it will go, which will leave more time for some of the fun stuff I outline below. Here are some basics to get you started.

The new hire will need to sign/fill out:

  • Drug Testing Consent and Release
  • State Withholding Allowance Certificate
  • Employee Posted Panel Notice- Panel of Physicians for Workers Comp
  • Company Safety Policy
  • Withholding Allowance Certificate Form W-4
  • I-9 Form Employee Eligibility Verification

You'll also need:

  • Confirmation of Passing Drug Test
  • Clearance on Criminal Background Check
  • Setup Employee File
  • Setup Employee Info in Your Payroll System

OK, enough of those gory details. Now onto the fun part!

Make Your New Hire Feel Like A Part of Your Team- Well Before The Start Date

You may have heard of “shock and awe” marketing campaigns. This is where you deliver a prospect an experience that is so compelling, they are almost powerless to say no. You can deliver the same kind of experience to your new employees by showing them a little TLC before their first day. Here are a couple of ideas.

  • Email the new employee a 90 day branded road map. Let them know what is going to happen, what you expect them to learn, and how it will be accomplished. This gives the employee both immediate goals and a direction for their career. The job then becomes more than just completing the task at hand but also a career to commence.
  • Send a welcome gift basket to the new hire's spouse/significant other (if applicable). While the package should contain information about your organization, more importantly it should be about generating excitement. Include a handwritten note from the hiring manager. Place a marketing item or two in the package, but don’t overload the box with literature. This is a gift package – not a source of reading material and homework. Have some fun with it by adding items like a coffee mug or a T-shirt.
  • Send the new hire your employee handbook before their first day. The first day will be hectic enough without piling on this extra information.

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Give your new hire a VIP experience on the first day.

  • Have their workstation setup and ready. We're talking PC/phone setup and ready to use, email account working, all software installed, and even business cards ready at their desk--the works. 
  • Plan celebratory lunch. Have as many of your employees attend as possible.
  • Conduct brand training. Brand training is an important step toward maintaining consistency across your organization. This empowers new employees to speak from the heart about the brand, an ability typically reserved for seasoned employees. Brand orientation learning topics would include:
    • Who you are (company heritage, history, today, and the future)
    • What you do (your offering)
    • The space that you’re in (your industry)
    • Where you are (markets you serve and communities your involved in)
  • Conduct department introductions. Each department representative should introduce new employees to the functions, purpose, and high-level overview of their specific departments.
  • At the end of the first week,  hold company Jeopardy for the new employee. A game or challenge is a fun way to quiz employees on brand values and departmental processes.

Follow Up Regularly

At the 30 and 60-day point, engage the new hire with the following talking points. Gather feedback and use these answers in helping you tweak your employee on boarding process moving forward:

  • Is the job what they expected?
  • Does the new hire feel they are achieving what is expected of them?
  • What roadblocks and/or challenges exist?
  • Are they getting all of the information, training, and support needed?
  • Does the new hire feel like a part of their immediate team?

The 90-day mark is typically when a new hire moves from the trainee/probationary period to become an official team member. They need to be officially welcomed to the company. This could be a special lunch, a presentation, or a ceremony that is officiated by your president. It is the recognition of joining the team and the excitement of their arrival. It’s a celebration.

A lot of the inspiration for this post came from two great blog posts about employee on boarding: How to Start an Employee Onboarding Program, from Inc., and Turn Your Onboarding Process into a Competitive Advantage, by Patrick Thean.

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