The period between when a candidate accepts your offer and their first day can be an emotional rollercoaster. They may have turned in their resignation to their previous company and are nervous about all of the changes that come along with a new role. They likely have all sorts of thoughts running through their head – from whether or not they made the right choice for their career to what they should wear on their first day.
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As a hiring manager or human resources professional, you shouldn’t let the excitement from the interview and offer stage disappear so quickly. In theory, onboarding starts on the first day, but in reality, it should start as soon as the candidate accepts the offer.
Using the five onboarding tips below, you can keep your new hire engaged, set them up for a successful employee onboarding experience, and simplify the process for your organization.
1. See your new hire at least once before their start date
If possible, consider inviting your new hire to come into the office if they have some time off between resigning from their previous role and starting their new one. Ask them to come for an informal office tour and show them their desk. This tip reduces nerves – knowing what your surroundings look like eases many first-day jitters.
Because many offices are business casual, it’s not always clear what the dress code is. This glimpse into a regular day at the office can give your new hire an idea of what to wear on their first day.
If your company has an upcoming social event (e.g., drinks after work, company barbeque, team lunch, etc.), ask your new hire to attend so they can meet everyone in a less formal atmosphere.
Did you get the sense that they are introverted and may not enjoy a group event? After the office tour, you can also take them for a one-on-one or small group lunch.
This is particularly important if the new employee is relocating for the position. They’ve left their friends and loved ones behind, so they will naturally be concerned about forming new connections. These new connections will allow your new hire to engage in their new role more quickly, ultimately saving HR and the hiring manager time on training.
2. Get the paperwork done before they start
Starting at a brand new company is already nerve-racking, but your new employee’s first day can go much smoother if everything is set up before their arrival. This includes sending them new hire and onboarding documents before their first day (e.g., payroll information, health benefits enrollments, non-disclosure agreements, etc.).
Think about it—how often is the excitement of the first morning in a new role wasted on signing paperwork? The reality is that your new hire will have a more enjoyable first day if you focus on company culture and helping them feel included. They want to spend this day learning about their new team, role, and company — not reading and understanding multiple policies.
An HR Management System like GoCo will allow your newest employee to digitally sign, complete and track all onboarding documents from the comfort of their own home. This elevates the employee experience and reduces the administrative burden on your HR team.
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3. Send them swag
Most people love the novelty of company swag, so try sending some to your new hire’s address. This simple onboarding tip ensures they feel special before their first day. It doesn’t need to be extravagant—items like t-shirts or coffee mugs will still make a big impact.
If you have any swag that is relevant to personal details that they mentioned in the interview, make sure to include it. For example, did they mention they play ultimate frisbee on the weekends, and your company has branded frisbees for giveaways? Include one! Did they mention a spouse, children, or even a roommate during the interview? Send some swag for them, too!
4. Assign an onboarding buddy and introduce them before the first day.
Choose someone on your team who is well-connected to assign as an onboarding buddy for your new employee. Introduce them via email before your new hire’s first day. You can also find out what they have in common and include this in your introduction email. This peer connection is important because it gives your new hire a chance to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking the hiring manager or HR contact.
Ask the buddy to invite the new hire to connect on the first day. You can opt to give a “buddy bonus,” such as a small gift card or an afternoon off for their investment into the employee onboarding experience.
5. Announce their arrival with a personal touch
Introductions may be the first item on your onboarding checklist, but when you send out an email to the department to announce your new hire’s arrival before their first day, you should make it more interesting than the standard welcome email. Get your new hire involved by asking them to fill out a fun questionnaire with prompts such as “What’s next on your travel bucket list?” or “What’s your favorite recipe?” and ask for some photos that you can share.
The introduction doesn't have to be an email, either. It can be a small announcement on your internal communication tool, such as Slack or Skype. In addition, having a short introduction during a team meeting can allow colleagues to put a name to a face and ask a few questions. Introductions will make it easier for your new hire to forge connections and remain engaged throughout the onboarding process.
Changing jobs is a big life decision for anyone, and by trying to keep your new hire engaged, you’ll show that you recognize the importance of their decision to join you.
By starting the onboarding process early for your new hires, you can keep up their excitement and ease their nerves. Once you find a process that works for you, create an onboarding checklist so that you can replicate this employee onboarding experience consistently for all new team members, saving time on administrative tasks and becoming more efficient. These gestures may feel minor, but they can reassure the new hire that they made the right decision and set both of you up for success.
If you'd like to learn more about streamlining the new hire experience and our onboarding features, you can schedule a time to chat with a GoCo expert here.
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