What the First Few Days of Employment Should Look Like
You wrote a good job description, posted ads, screened applicants, created awesome interview questions, checked references and finally hired someone you think will fit in well at your company. Now what?
The first few days of employment are really important in building an employment relationship that will last. After all the energy we put into finding the right person, sometimes we do little more than throw a new hire in the deep end and expect them to figure things out on their own. Unfortunately, this is not a good approach if you want a new employee to come back for a second day. Here are some tips to ensure you start off on the right foot with your new hires.
Make New Hires Feel Welcome
Greet new hires the moment they arrive. Show them to their workstation and give them a tour of the office or workspace. Include stops at the break area, bathrooms, supply room and any other important areas. Introduce them to people along the way. It is a nice touch to plan lunch with a new hire on their first day. Include others at the company to give the new hire a chance to get to know people beyond their jobs.
Provide new employees with an information sheet that explains some of the most common first day questions. Include things like parking, break area rules, important contact information and any other policies and rules important for new employees to understand.
Have a Formal Training Plan
A formal training plan includes new employee orientation and job training. Avoid an orientation that consists of little more than having an employee read the handbook on their own. Orientation should be interactive and allow plenty of opportunity for questions. New employee orientation includes a review of the employee handbook and company policies. Larger companies typically offer group orientation on a weekly or monthly basis. Even if a small business only hires a couple people per year, they should still do some kind of orientation. This may take the form of a one-on-one meeting to review policies with a new hire. Orientation should occur within the first month of employment.
In addition to orientation, develop a formal training plan for new employees. Know who will be training an employee and draft a checklist of all the tasks and skills an employee must learn. Be clear on what the employee’s goals are for the first week, first month and introductory period. Having a checklist and written expectations for training ensures that your trainer is teaching the new employee everything they need to know. The checklist also becomes a tool for you to review progress with a new hire.
Follow Up Regularly
Check in regularly with your new employee. Ask questions about how training is going and see what support they may need. If you notice that the new employee is struggling, figure out how to offer support. If something is becoming an issue early on, address it quickly to keep it from becoming a bigger problem later on.
Remember the value of feedback, and let new employees know when they are doing well and what they may need to improve on. This is something that should continue even after an employee is no longer new. Create an open door relationship from day one.
About the Author
Stephanie Hammerwold, PHR, is the owner of Hammerwold & Pershing Consulting and specializes in small business HR support. Stephanie is a regular contributor at Blogging4Jobs and The HR Gazette, and she gives presentations on a variety of job search and workplace topics. She specializes in training, employee relations, women’s issues and writing employment policy. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.