Onboarding a New Employee
How to make new staff members feel part of the organization
How newcomers progress depends on many variables, but research shows that the help they receive in the early days from management and colleagues makes all the difference.
Here are a few tips on how to make new staff members feel part of the organization:
Begin the familiarisation process immediately:
Instigate procedures which will enable new staff members to become familiar with important features of the organization and its administration. For example: undertake a guided tour of the company, meet formally and socially with staff/colleagues, read relevant documents, be briefed on procedures. Such activity best takes place before the newcomer officially takes up duty in the organization.
Create a supportive atmosphere:
What is needed are managers and experienced staff members with a commitment to being available to help newcomers as needed. Those who unite to meet the needs of beginners develop in that process structures of collegiality and collaboration that will also serve the organization in other ways. Foster a warm climate of support.
Explain the job:
Outline the exact work to be done and how the work fits into the overall activities of the workplace. Do not make it sound too difficult at first and don’t overburden the new arrival with information and rules. Provide tasks that at first are readily accomplished to ease the recent arrival into the new job.
Appoint a mentor:
An experienced employee who is asked to serve as a mentor or ‘buddy’ for the new arrival provides the newcomer with friendship and open access to a colleague’s expertise. Consider the support the mentor can provide: teaching the newcomer about the job through coaching, guiding the newcomer through the unwritten rules of the organisation, advising about the quality of expected work, counselling the newcomer if stressed, role modeling by providing an image of the effective professional or worker to which the newcomer can aspire, motivating and open communication.
Schedule visits to other areas of the workplace:
Once the employee has established reference points as to what it is like to be a worker in your organization, then structured visits to other departments can be scheduled to enable the newcomer to observe how experienced employees handle specific issues and tasks.
Visit the newcomer’s workplace regularly:
Practical advice from experienced colleagues during the early days is est based on the newcomer’s own experience. Therefore, arrange for regular visits with the aim of helping and working alongside – rather than judging or inspecting – the new employee. Give genuine feedback.
Provide assistance in identified areas of need:
Research reveals that beginning employees commonly face similar problems in a new work environment. Work with your newcomers to pinpoint and remediate their specific areas of need, whether they be personal or professional.
Make them feel important:
Most newcomers feel uneasy, nervous and out-of-place at first. Take time to greet them personally on their first day. Show an interest in them. Make them feel the company genuinely needs them. Ask questions and invite questions. Be sincere.
Provide opportunities for review and discussion:
Show interest in the employee’s progress through, firstly, formal sessions to review progress and to address concerns and, secondly, through informal discussions in a relaxed setting. Be generous with your comments, supportive, honest and sensitive, and let newcomers know their efforts are appreciated.
For new employees, those early days in your organisation can be more of a test of survival than a time of growth and development. Often new staff members are thrown into the workplace and expected to succeed with little support, it’s your job as a manager to help make new staff members feel part of the organisation.
Get the onboarding process right and you create a positive working environment from the start. Word spreads and before you know it you are an employer of choice.
Keeping you informed
Your trusted HR & Talent partner,
Asenath van den Berg
Director – ASIE Personnel
Source/Extracts from Just about everything a manager needs to know in SA
Authors: Neil Flanagan & Jarvis Finger