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The experience new employees have during their first days and weeks on the job is essential to feeling confident in their new role. Traditional first-day orientations are no longer the standard - it’s important to curate a true onboarding experience. 

Unlike a first-day orientation, onboarding is not a singular event but instead a comprehensive process. It's an opportunity for businesses to ensure new employees can hit the ground running and, especially important for your retention efforts, become satisfied members of the team.

The onboarding process covers a range of topics, from the company’s strategic objectives and mentoring programs to the workplace culture. Here are some practical steps managers can take to improve a new employee's odds of success.

Easing first-day nerves 

Even though new employees have likely been on your company premises previously during the interview phase, their experiences on the first day of work leave a lasting impression. You need to offer a first-day welcome to begin the process of making them feel at home.

Alert the receptionist that a new employee will be there on a certain day and time and make sure this person greets the newcomer warmly and wastes no time informing you that they have arrived. Likewise, your new employee should be informed as to what their first day will look like. 

You should also arrange for someone to personally escort the new hire to his workstation or office and have them introduced to other members of the team.

Onboarding during the first week

Review your company’s basics including such as operations and upcoming initiatives. It’s fine if some of it was covered in the interview, just know the new employee will appreciate a review. You can also touch on:

  1. Your company's basic products or services

  2. Size and general organization of the company

  3. An overview of your industry and where your business fits into the overall picture (including your competition)

  4. Your company's mission statement and values

  5. Company goals and strategic objectives

  6. Names and phone numbers of people to contact in the event of questions or emergencies

  7. How your mentoring program works, if you have one

Taking the onboarding process through the second week and beyond

A key part of the employee onboarding process is an early follow-up.

Supervising managers and other stakeholders should meet with employees at predetermined points, such as two weeks after the first day on the job, a month after, two months after — or at intervals that work best for each job's specifics.

During the meeting, ask new team members how things are going for them. Try to gauge how well they’re grasping the business and their role. Aim for candid conversation and ask if they have any questions that have not been answered. 

This is also an excellent opportunity to receive feedback regarding your onboarding process and training programs. Are they helpful? Do they address the right topics? Are they worth the time spent? What future developmental experiences would employees like to see?

Remember, new employees form their opinions at the onset of their employment about whether a role is consistent with their career plans and day-to-day satisfaction. If your company can curate a successful onboarding program with intention, you can significantly reduce turnover in your organization.

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