Give new staff the best possible start

We all know how hard it is to secure great talent in recruitment. With the sheer scale of competing opportunities and the lack of suitable candidates, it can feel like a real struggle.
So it’s no great surprise that onboarding sometimes suffers. Many employers think the real work is done once an offer is accepted — but that’s a short-sighted view and a mistake that recruitment firms simply cannot afford to make. It leads to failed hires, low expectations or demotivation — all issues that make the work of the management team so much harder in the long term and create a poor starter experience.
A little more effort at the start of the process leads to a much more positive experience for everyone.
Anyone who has managed new staff knows that the first few days involve a huge drain on time and it is this issue that usually leads to a poor induction process.
Here are my top tips for a successful induction that should minimise the impact on the manager while enhancing the experience for the incoming team member:

There is simply nothing worse for a new employee than to arrive on day one to find their desk is not set up. Create a simple tick sheet for the new starter set-up, and allocate this to someone in your support team or an up and- coming senior who wants to take taking on extra responsibility. Make sure the desk is clean and emptied, equipment is functioning, log-ins for all soft ware are requested in advance, the telephone is set up and business cards are ordered.

Monday mornings are usually hectic and, with the best plans in the world, there will be matters that have to be dealt with. Make sure you give yourself some breathing room and schedule a 10am start time on the first day.

Make sure all key team members are in on day one and have a team breakfast or a team lunch. New recruits will settle in sooner if they get to know everyone – plus it’s a nice touch that makes them feel special.

Don’t forget to delegate up. Book a time in advance for your new recruit to spend 20 minutes with a member of the leadership team – this meeting should cover a brief rundown on company history, the vision for the company’s future, how your new recruit will be a part of the journey and expectations in the medium to long term covering behaviour and performance.

Introduce your recruit to a peer who is not in their direct line management, or team if you can. Everyone needs someone to refer to and get advice from without feeling judged.

Handle this one yourself. Set out team/company procedures and expectations, and agree dates, for matters such as career reviews, month plans and events, early on.

If immediate training is needed, book this in advance and have any manuals or notes available from day one. Also, confirm future training dates so your new hire knows the schedule and can plan.

Whatever the seniority of your hire, there should be a phase-in period. It’s important they have work they can do under their own steam early on, so prepare this in advance. It might be updating candidates to find availability, updating old vacancies, contacting lapsed clients, refreshing job adverts, industry research or candidate mapping.

It is vital your new hire is given the opportunity to formally give their feedback and impressions of their first week. Book this meeting on their first day, ideally for Friday morning.

So, if you don’t feel you have a strong enough induction process, fix it today — I promise it will be worth it.

By Tara Lescott

Tara Lescott is managing director of rec-to-rec agency Recruiter Republic

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