Everyone is hiring and no-one can find people fast enough. However, in the extreme focus to find candidates, sometimes not enough attention is spent on onboarding a new hire. After all, if you are lucky enough to find that perfect candidate, you will want to get them up and productive as soon as possible. Especially, since the days of onboarding a new hire face-to-face are dwindling fast.
At Maark, we have created a continuously evolving templated approach to help consistently, quickly, and thoroughly onboard new employees so they can be productive fast without being overwhelmed on day one.
Congratulations to us! Our new hire has signed the contract and we have a start date that we can plan for. However, that doesn’t mean our job is done. There are many things we can do ahead of time to ensure a smooth start to our working relationship. To prepare, we ask ourselves these questions:
What prerequisites are there to setting up internal access (e.g., company email)?
Will the new hire be remote or require a physical desk and equipment in the office?
Will we provide hardware for the new hire to work on? What do we need to gather for day one?
What internal systems does the new hire need to be set up on to succeed and track progress (e.g., HR, timekeeping, resourcing, VPN, password management, etc.)?
A well-defined process with HR is key to having the right information available to open up the necessary internal requests and provides easier communication with and faster set up of new hires from day one.
Process is your friend! Having a check list of activities, no matter how small, for the team to complete ensures a consistent repeatable approach in the onboarding process. The smaller the activity the more risk it will be forgotten. The checklist is updated over time to ensure all our hard work to introduce or streamline new processes are available to all new hires. When identifying an internal checklist we ask ourselves these questions:
What internal systems should the new hire have access to?
What general communication or company communication should they be aware of?
Has anything changed that we need to add or update?
What has previously been missed for new hires?
Check out an example list you can use for your process here.
Every new employee needs a guide to the company systems, culture, and peer network. This lead does not necessarily have to have all the answers, they just need to know who to work with to get the answers. Taking the time to onboard a new hire properly requires patience and time but it is the most important step to prepare for a healthy and, hopefully, longterm working relationship. When identifying a lead we ask ourselves these questions:
Who can provide the guidance appropriate for the new hires' potential questions or issues?
Who can help make this person successful?
Who has the bandwidth?
Once a team or project has been identified for the new hire to join, give the team and project management an immediate heads up that they will have a new resource to work with! Giving this information to the team ahead of time allows them to:
Identify training and knowledge transfer needed.
Groom tasks that will be suitable for the new hire to start with.
Plan for time in the upcoming work for the team to support onboarding.
The team will need to plan for a little bit of a reduced velocity at first to ensure they support and guide the new hire successfully. But that time and effort spent up front will provide exponentially greater future benefit, including reducing the risk of diverging from team standards, structure, and process.
The calendars of seasoned employees can be pretty tight. The new hire's calendar, on the other hand, can be quite lonely to begin with! The lead/mentor should book meetings early for the team so that they have structured time for introductions and communication from day one! When identifying what meetings to set up we ask ourselves these questions:
Who should be introduced to the new hire early to ensure they set up a relationship and rapport?
What project meetings can you invite the new hire to so that they can become integrated with the company and team?
Regardless of experience, everyone needs to feel welcome on their first day and everyone is anxious about what to expect as they join a new company. Likewise, leads and project teams are in the full swing of day-to-day work and will be anxious about onboarding a new team member effectively while still producing. Preparing an introductory guide for a new hire for their first week has proven to ease the this anxiety for all involved. The new hire can partially self-guide on their first week, which alleviates some of the pressure on leads and provides early independence for the new team member.
A welcome email is sent on the first day to provide the new hire access to their company email. This is the key to accessing many internal systems. This email provides links and direction for set up of the most used applications and gives the new employee a list of applications to access and explore immediately with little need for guidance.
A welcome document is provided to the new hire during their first 1:1 meeting with their lead. This structured document provides a guide to the expectations for the first week at Maark. It introduces key team players; provides resources, standards, and processes; highlights introductory meetings; and sets up tasks for their assigned team/project and tips on what to do with ‘spare time’. It is a personal checklist for the new hire. Checking off a list can help that initial anxiety with a feeling of accomplishment and small wins!
In addition to previously identified information, we asked ourselves these questions to identify information to add to a welcome document:
What security measures must the new hire set up on their hardware to protect the company and client information?
What set up should the new hire work on to prepare for project work?
What resources can the new hire review?
What training should the new hire consider?
What documented processes can I share with a new hire to help them understand our process?
What company values can I share (e.g., blogs, videos, background, core values)?
Investing time in Initial set up of the templates and process will allow you to quickly get your team resourced and delivering on your clients needs. Feedback from new hires allows for continuous update to the onboarding process.
Check out an example welcome document you can use for your process here.
Once we have provided our new hire the access, the contacts, and the initial guidance, we set them free on delivering with their new team. The 1:1 meetings set up with their lead will allow for a continuous feedback loop on progress. Now on to the next new hire!