1. Put yourself in the new hire’s shoes. Sometimes we forget what it’s like to be new on the job. Anticipate what you’d expect or like to happen on your first day and create your plan accordingly.
2. Let your new employee know before the start date what’s going to happen next. Save time by explaining not only where to show up, but how to dress, whom he or she will be meeting with, work hours, pay dates, vacation and sick day policies, and other details that can be handled before Day 1.
3. Make sure immediate help is available to them. That first day can be as scary as starting at a new school. Ask the hiring manager if a staff member can shadow the new employee to answer questions that pop up.
4. Don’t give them writer’s cramp on their first day. The first day at every job is usually laden with paperwork. Provide payroll/bank deposit forms, Form I-9, and emergency notification info in advance, so the employee can complete them properly without any stress.
5. Create a checklist for internal processes that need to be done BEFORE the first day. Design a spreadsheet listing tasks like getting the new employee’s computer and software ready, and enabling access to shared drives, files, and other resources the new hire will need. If needed, a mobile business phone, email address, business cards, and VPN access should be ordered in advance.
6. Make their first day special. Offer a “Welcome!” greeting card signed by department staff. A 60-second “Welcome” video from the CEO or VP of HR can be reassuring. Have ID badge, keys, parking pass, notepad, pens, scissors, phone directory, and other office supplies all ready to go.
7. Explain your company’s computer network(s). Many large organizations forget to explain their unique systems and networks to new employees. Explain where on the network their materials may be found, where the closest printers are, how to fax/copy/print documents, and provide security codes that may be necessary. Explain your phone system.
8. Keep the process organized. Schedule training classes and reserve conference rooms as necessary. Keep the schedule organized and tight, but with room for flexibility if things change. Provide the schedule to the new hire and all involved staff.
9. Tell them about training they’ll be receiving. If your new hire will attend in-person or virtual training courses, explain the individual’s curriculum so he or she will know what’s expected from them. The more information the new team member has from the outset, the more prepared he or she will be.
10. Solicit feedback to further improve your program. The more information you can derive from a new employee about the onboarding experience, the better equipped you’ll be to improve it. Ask what went wrong, what went right, and what could have been done better.