Performance management consultant Dick Grote once said: “If you want people to perform well, you have to get them off to a good start.”
When taking on a new member of staff, it’s just as important for you to make a good impression than it is for them to impress you; particularly when a third of new starters plan to leave their job less than a year after starting, according to the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM). Getting your new staff member off to a good start sets them up to settle in as soon as possible and starts bringing value to your team.
Many eager new starters find themselves waiting in the wings to be told what tasks they will be working on or which desk they will be sitting at, and a bad first experience can mean they take longer to settle in. Instead, there are quicker and more productive ways to get them up to speed with the rest of your staff:
Plan Before Their Arrival
According to Margaret Keane, managing director of Outsourcing HR: “A good induction process should be designed to help ensure new employees are welcomed to the company, shown the basics that current employees take for granted, and provide them with the support and resources they need to quickly become effective in their new role. It should be a two-way process, with input from both parties.”
Before welcoming the new employee, it’s a good idea to plan administrative tasks, such as ensuring their desk is clean and prepared upon their arrival, making sure they have all the systems they need, including computer programs, and provide basic details of where things are in the office. Starting a new job is daunting enough without having to worry about where you’re going to sit and if your computer is working or not. However, go above and beyond these simple steps and create an Onboarding plan to make employees familiar with the overall goals of the company.
Introduce Them To The Team
Ideally, you want your new starter to feel part of the team. Although this won’t happen straight away, investing the time to introduce them to the rest of the team can encourage this to happen quickly. Even if the new starter only remembers a few names initially, it can make a huge difference in giving them the confidence to ask for help when they are unsure of something. It’s likely the new recruit will only get a few greetings and short conversations in their first week, but arranging group activities to build the team allows them to have more detailed chats and spark a personal connection between them and your current team.
According to RecruitLoop, “The most important thing is to be as visible as possible for every new employee in the early days. They will likely have a lot of questions or reach points where they are stuck and not sure where to head with their next task.” To make them feel comfortable, let them know your door is always open if they have any problems. You may even want to partner the new starter with a ‘buddy’ or mentor who will be working closely with them and offer their support, whilst offering an insight into the existing culture within the company.
Make Your Expectations Clear
If you don’t set out your expectations from the beginning, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment if your new starter still isn’t performing well three months down the line. You want to respect the new starter and without micromanaging them, you should let them know what the expectations from the company are straight away, as they will know what is expected of them, how they can do their job well and what they are accountable for. You could even design an action plan of what they would like to achieve in their first, third and six months.
However, do bear in mind that new starters can take a while to feel worthy within a company. According to Michael Watkins, author of the bestselling book, The First 90 Days, “When you look at high-level employees transitioning within a company, research indicates they feel they add value by about six months. But if you’re coming into a challenging job from outside the company, it may take a year.”
The importance of setting your new employee up for a good start at your company is vital to how quickly they get settled in and up to speed. Making them feel included in your team and valued from day one will not only improve their productivity and performance, it will ensure they will want to work for the company for years to come.
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