I put a question out into the universe a couple months ago asking HR pros what they would like to read more about. One of the responses I got was how to best support new hires and I love this topic! Even though I work in HR, I’ve been through very different ends of the spectrum.
Feeling “Thrown In” to a Role
At a prior company where I worked, there was absolutely no plan for a new employee’s first week of employment. I used my own knowledge of how the new hire process should work to guide my actions. In this role, I was a department of one, so I think that was part of it. My fellow managers thought I’d just figure it out. Which I did. But I think even if the HR role is going to be a department of one, there still has to be someone who’s showing them the ropes and checking in, like sort of a buddy system.
When I arrived at the company on day one, I was shown to my office which did have a laptop, monitor, dock, etc. Luckily, I had remembered from my interview where the bathroom was! I wasn’t really introduced to anyone, but people started popping their heads in and introducing themselves which was nice. I decided to power up the computer and see if I had email, find the number to the IT service desk, start looking through the file cabinets, etc. to start getting a baseline. I got an email that night inviting me to a training at a different office on Tuesday, with two other new hires. I felt kind of “thrown in” to the group at the last minute. I also wasn’t added to the email list for company events in a timely manner.
Experiencing a Thoughtful Onboarding Process
At my current company, I had a completely different experience on my first day. I received the most detailed onboarding plan I’d ever been given in my career and I was so impressed. The first five days were planned in an Excel sheet and also printed out for me. Every hour between 8 and 5 was accounted for. I met with all the key players, was taken out to lunch with different teams, did online trainings, and had time to set up my computer, settings, email, voicemail, etc. I felt so good knowing I had ample time to get everything done that I needed to to feel settled, because they had thought of everything!
My Tips for Supporting New Hires
- Have a plan. Create something, even if it’s very basic, and at least have orientation on that plan. Make them feel like you’ve prepared for their arrival and have been excitedly anticipating it!
- Check in. I had my boss and other senior leadership texting or emailing me multiple times a day during my first week to check in and I LOVED it! They genuinely cared about how things were going and just wanted to make sure I had my questions answered.
- Provide org charts or just have a conversation on the lay of the land. Better yet, set up meet-and-greets. Remember new hires can start making an impact sooner if they know how decisions get made and who the key players are. Otherwise, they’ll be stalled trying to figure out who they need to go to for what.
- Get to know them! All interactions with a new hire shouldn’t be just in relation to their job. Taking them to lunch or coffee is a great way to talk about other things outside of their job. What are some things the company does for fun? How do they get involved in the community? What does the new hire like to do to get involved/give back? What other experiences and skills have brought them to their current role today? I like feeling understood and understanding my colleagues as well. Establishing these relationships earlier on has helped me be more confident and engaged.