As you revisit your onboarding process during the year, one of the most important factors to consider is the cast of characters. Of course, new hires will immediately spend time with their supervisors and the HR team, but who else can help make those crucial first few days an unforgettable experience?
What if your new talent got a chance to spend time with the leadership team? Or what about a ‘New Hire Buddy’ to help them acclimate to their new employer? And how quickly would they feel a part of the organization if people across your company—from the CEO to their coworkers—were all involved in the onboarding process?
At Namely, we try to get as many employees involved in onboarding as possible—we believe it’s a team effort to make a new hire feel welcome and so we ensure everyone plays a role. Here are some examples of how you can get more people involved in making your onboarding process a success.
Any opportunity to expose new employees to the leaders of the organization can make them feel immediately informed about what is happening in the company. They’ll also feel valued knowing company leaders are taking time out of their busy day to get to know the newest employees.
Schedule some time during the onboarding process for department heads to stop in and speak about their own teams and current goals. New employees get the chance to learn about the organization from the people who know it best, and see what being a true leader at your organization means.
If you don’t have “new hire classes” for the leadership team to stop by in person, consider creating leadership videos new employees can watch. The clips can feature all of your higher-ups and are a fun way to showcase your culture again and again for new groups of employees.
Your leadership team can also be involved in social events during a new hire’s first week, such as welcome lunches or happy hours. Think about how a new hire would feel if, within their first week at a new company, they had a chance to speak directly with the C-suite during a social gathering setup as a meet and greet.
“Veteran” Employees Across Departments
Most companies make sure a new employee quickly gets to know the other people on their team, say at a team lunch or a day of shadowing. But how quickly are new hires introduced to other employees outside their own department? Who else plays a role in welcoming a new employee?
Even before a new hire’s first day, a great way to make him or her feel welcome is to connect the person with a new hire buddy. Once an employee accepts an offer, consider asking for some “fun facts” about them. Then, try to pair that person with a seasoned employee with similar interests, preferably someone who has been with the company for at least three months. Introduce the employee to the buddy via email before his or her start date, and the buddy can hop in and invite the new hire out to a fun welcome lunch.
New hire buddies put current employees front and center in the onboarding process, including tours of the office on the first day (navigating the kitchen or break room; finding office supplies and restrooms) and making introductions to other colleagues. Buddies are a great source for questions on company culture, too—dress code, working hours, or most anything else. New employees can feel more comfortable asking certain questions that they'd be more hesitant top ask a manager about.
Of course, the people a new hire works with daily are central to their time at your organization. Maybe a mentoring program would work best for your onboarding process. Peers or tenured employees in the new hire’s department could participate in—or lead—training and shadowing programs that aim to acclimate the new hire to his or her role more quickly and effectively.
Mentors not only give the new hire a chance to learn a new position from someone on the team, but they also give managers themselves a chance to both grow their own careers and take on leadership opportunities internally.
A “New Hire Ambassador” Program
Finally, consider putting together a little coalition of employees to partner with HR and weigh-in on fun onboarding events and activities for new employees. For example, what if you had a class of new hires participate in a community service project during their first week as an icebreaker and team-building event? Would current employees be interested in participating as well? Are there charities employees are passionate about supporting? Even if it’s only for a few hours, these types of events can have tremendous impact on a new hire’s perception about working for a company that supports causes like Meals on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity. It may also boost morale with existing employees.
70% of employees say friends at work are the most crucial element to a happy working life. Nothing can help you kick start those connections like a more formal onboarding process to bring all employees together—in departments, across departments, and in alignment with HR and the leadership team. No matter what initiatives you develop, build an onboarding process that brings the whole company together as a team for a warm welcome that goes for the gold.