We’ve all been new employees ourselves at one point. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably had the experience of showing up on your first day at a new job, excited to start, only to discover that your new office isn’t organized and prepared for you. Maybe you were even told to read company brochures for a few hours while your new boss figured out what to do with you.
Not only is this a waste of a new employee’s time, but it will make the staffer feel unwelcome and send a damaging message about your culture. Instead, the message you want to send from day one is that you're organized, efficient, and running a tight ship.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for a new staff member the right way.
Before the employee starts, create a training outline laying out what will be covered, in what order, during the first week. In addition to job-specific information for each component of the job, your training outline might include:
• An overview of the department and its team members, including any recent relevant history
• Goals for the first month and first quarter
• Tips for working with other departments
• How to handle particular personalities outside the office and things to be sensitive to
• Common problems they'll encounter and how to handle them
• What kind of communication you expect and how often
• Approval process for work
• How to locate important files and other sources of information
• Expenditure authority and approval
• Confidentiality policies
Plan to spread this out over several days, since most people can only retain so much their first day on a job, when everything is new.
And on the staff member’s first day, give her a copy of this training outline so that she knows what to expect.
Make sure the staff member’s computer, phone, and email accounts are set up and working before her first day. Have a list of passwords waiting for her so she can immediately log in, set up her voicemail, and so forth, and ensure that her workspace is clean and stocked with supplies.
Check in regularly, not only to provide more detailed feedback than you’d give someone who has worked with you longer, but also to see how she’s adjusting.
You might even conduct an “entry interview” after a month or two, to catch issues early and get the fresh perspective of someone who isn’t already steeped in “the way we do it.” Ask questions like:
• Did your job turn out to be as you expected it would be when you were being hired?
• What improvements could be made to the way you were oriented and trained for your role?
• What areas would you like additional training or help with?
• Do you have a good understanding of what all our departments do and who to go to for what?
• Are you getting enough feedback? Are you clear on what's expected of you and how you're doing against those expectations?
• How’s your workload?
• Are there any obstacles that make doing your job more difficult?
• Is there anything that would improve your quality of life at work?
Prepare this way, and you’ll maximize your chances of your new hire’s success.