5 Onboarding Tips to Successfully Welcome New Hires
I recently sat down with our amazing fall internship participants—and current Search & Social Advertising Junior Analysts—Quinn and Christina to discuss their impressions of Perfect Search as an organization. Gleaning the perspectives of two of our newest teammates was a great way to gain a fresh and introspective look at how we’re performing. What struck me most from the feedback we received was the certainty that, from their very first day, Quinn and Christina felt like a part of the Perfect Search team.
As Manager of Employee Engagement, two things make me really happy: a strong company culture and really good soup. I want to share a few key guidelines that can help any organization implement an incredible onboarding process. By following these tips, you’ll help your newest hires have a warm and welcoming start that makes them excited to be a part of your team from day one.
1) Onboarding doesn’t start with your most recent hire
Step #1 to successful onboarding: have someone in charge of onboarding. This sounds obvious, but having a person or group with clear responsibilities on acclimating new hires to their roles is so important that it needs to be said. This role will be the difference between a new hire’s seamless transition and an uncomfortable first impression.
It’s also important to keep in mind when making any hiring decision that the person you’re interviewing can be a strong leader in the future. Consider how a new hire will not only affect your current team but your future team as well. After all, your newest team member may soon be in charge of onboarding future employees, so they must reflect your organization’s core values and strengths.
2) Be prepared
Have an outlined process that you follow each time a new person joins your team. This may include setting up the new hire’s technology and desk, prepping him or her for any orientation or introductory training sessions, and presenting branded goods to make his or her first day special.
For instance, new hires at Perfect Search receive a branded pen and notebook, personalized M&M’s, and a seating chart with everyone’s faces, names, and roles. That way, not only are our newest team members ready to take notes, but they can also start getting to know their peers (and they even have a mid-day snack ready to go). First impressions are meaningful; you want to make sure you are as prepared and excited for their first day as they are.
3) It takes a village
Acclimating new hires requires a team effort. To ensure new hires feel welcome, involve them in activities that promote interaction and bonding with the group at large. Send them to lunch on their first day with their immediate team; have their boss and/or manager take them out for coffee; involve multiple people in their training so they can interact with and learn from one another.
Here at Perfect Search, we include as many people as possible in new hire training. By having different people help out with teaching different topics, the new team member gets to know many more people on a more personal level early on. We also dedicate our weekly company meeting following a new team member’s first day to bonding, social interaction, and even icebreakers (see #5).
4) Try not to be awkward
This might be the hardest tip of them all—well, for me anyway. When a new hire arrives at the office on his or her first day, I recommend staying away from the entire group introduction. Prepare your team for a new arrival and strongly encourage them to go up and introduce themselves throughout the first day or two.
Organic interactions will allow for more personal connections to form. The always-daunting group introduction tends to put an uncomfortable spotlight on the new hire. Besides, who can remember that many names and faces at once?
5) Icebreakers are okay—trust me
Okay, so this tip might be at odds with tip #4. But life isn’t perfect—and not all icebreakers are awkward! Sometimes they’re a necessary tool that can help get people talking. When I was new to Perfect Search, our first team meeting featured simple icebreakers. Thanks to an icebreaker, I discovered that I went to the same high school as another coworker and we had many mutual friends.
If it hadn’t been for simple questions like “Where are you from?” and “What’s your birth order?” (Ajay’s favorite icebreaker question), this connection would’ve taken much longer to occur. My personal favorite icebreaker is “What’s in your name?”
This question asks people to describe how they got their name and any story behind it. Since it’s an unconventional question, you never know what interesting responses people might have and you’ll definitely learn something new about everyone. (For example, did you know that my family dog’s name is Baby Jessica?) As an added bonus, it can also help people better remember everyone’s name.
When preparing for a new team member’s first day, the preceding tips should be used as a guide for determining how your company should onboard new hires. Of course, they aren’t end-all, be-all guidelines.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and give your onboarding process a personalized touch! Not only will this create an even warmer welcome for your new hires, but your team will look forward to onboarding as well. Case in point: I’m always angling to get myself invited to a first-day lunch. Above all, be genuine, be warm, and be welcoming. That’s what matters most.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to evaluate your company culture, check out this post. Itching to join the Perfect Search team? Explore our career opportunities here.
Do you have any onboarding secrets? What’s your favorite icebreaker? Tweet us @Perfect_Search.
Jessica Barrett is a passionate soup enthusiast who loves reading about Chicago. In her spare time she enjoys biking around the city, and sincerely wishes that she and Leslie Knope could be friends.