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On-boarding: No second chance to make a first impression

by Susanne Barth, on Nov 9, 2020 5:25:45 PM

By Susanne Barth, Publications Manager

When you ask new hires about their first day in a new office you may hear that it wasn’t that well-prepared.  Some even had to wait for a computer and others had not yet a work e-mail address. New recruits also mentioned that they didn’t like to spend most of the first day reading documents and that it made them feel uncomfortable to arrive overdressed or much earlier than their manager. Also an awkward situation for the team who doesn’t necessarily know how to introduce the newbie.

Warm welcome sends a great message  

A sound planning of the first day helps you to make a good impression (yes, it’s not any longer only the new employee who’s in charge of that) by showing that he’s not a burden but a much needed new colleague. Let the team welcome him on his first day in an open way and try to make sure that his manager is also present and welcoming. This is important as the relationship between employee and manager is one driver of employee engagement.   
But it’s not only the first day that counts. You need to cover the coming weeks and months if you’re heading for a fast and smooth integration. It’s already during this time that the employee’s gut feeling will tell him if he made the right choice (does he like the job, the leadership style and the working atmosphere?) with direct impact on his engagement.  

On-boarding programmes make new hires more satisfied 

A well-structured on-boarding programme pays off for both sides. It helps your newbie to be aware of his learning path but also of his targets and your expectations. In a transparent way you keep track of what has already been discussed, achieved and what is still missing. You don’t risk to have a patchy, unsystematic or even miscarried on-boarding and the road is paved for a productive collaboration. It’s a fact that new hires who’ve gone through an on-boarding programme are more likely to be satisfied during the first months than those who hadn’t access to such a programme. Great on-boarding programmes actually even start before the first day, with a welcome message from the manager and his team, details about the on-boarding plans and other important information.

As take-away here our Krauthammer best on-boarding practices in a nutshell:

• Good internal preparation before the new employee starts (workstation, telephone, e-mail address, key, initials, user guides, etc.)

• Warm welcome on the first day (flowers and welcome sign, lunch together with manager and team members present. If the manager can’t be present he should
   give his new team member at least a welcome call.

• Inform the employee of his or her schedule for the first few weeks (ideally a mix of training and practical work)

• Sharing of on-boarding-plan plan with key topics (understandable, comprehensible and verifiable).

• Fixed contact person who supports the new employee during the trial period.

• Clear work objectives.

• Regular feedback sessions, to see where both sides stand.

• Openness to the employee’s previous experiences.

• Assignment of a coach/mentor following successful initial on-boarding

• Flowers and congratulations after a successful trial period

And what about you? What are your experiences with on-boarding programmes? What is important to make them successful? Or would you like to recommend any welcome rituals you have installed at your company? Please share your comments with us!