Their Engagement Was Lost By Lunch

The first three years of a child’s life have a significant impact upon their development. This period in their life contributes to their future success. I think about this in relation to a new hire with an organization. I believe it’s comparable to the first three months of a new employee’s tenure and their ability to connect with the organization’s purpose, culture and people. This time will greatly affect the employee’s chances of being successful in their role and with the company.

Organizations can only confirm that they’ve made a good hire after the new employee has been with them for a certain period. An effective onboarding process is a key component to the employee’s success and that of the hiring manager’s, too. Here are some suggestions for creating a successful onboarding experience:

  • The first day matters most because it’s a first impression that has a powerful impact on their self-perception of the success they will have with your team.

  • The hiring manager should be there to greet them when they arrive at work their first day. It’s a simple gesture that demonstrates commitment.

  • Arrange to have them meet with their team as a group as early in the day as possible to welcome them. The focus is on people, not tasks.

  • Have their desk ready and welcoming. This includes having their business card printed.

  • Relationship building is a priority. Familiarity with their team and with their other teammates within the company must be rapidly created.

  • The meetings they have with others should be social in nature to begin, and then go on to the relevancy of their roles to one another. How will they be working together to further the purpose of the organization?

  • Also, when it’s understood how people’s roles relate to theirs, the employee will know who they can direct their questions towards. It fosters assimilation.

  • Checklists are a great way to ensure that responsibilities and tasks have been shared and that the employee is confident that they comprehend why and how each responsibility and task gets completed successfully. The employee themselves should be checking these off their list when accomplished, not the hiring manager or supervisor.

  • Weekly meetings between the employee and their supervisor should be a part of the 90 day onboarding schedule.

  • Feedback throughout the process and questioning the employee’s retention of the information they’ve been given is important. Asking the employee what improvements could be made to the onboarding program are desired so that the organization can create the best experience possible for people who are joining them in the future.

Unfortunately, bad onboarding experiences are often the best illustration of a company’s program effectiveness. I’ve heard many stories from people who have decided to look for a new job based on their earliest experiences with their new employer. One of the more memorable ones came from a top performer who told me, “I hated it the first day with how they brought me on. I stayed there for another year and a half until I could get a new job.” Their engagement was lost before lunch on their first day.