Optimum Onboarding: How to Make Sure Your New Employees Shine in Their First 90 Days

January 5, 2015

8:00 pm

As a serial entrepreneur of nearly 20 years, I’ve become increasingly convinced that the single greatest asset any company has is its people. Not only is culture the cornerstone of building a successful company, it gives company leaders a competitive advantage to create an environment where innovation is nurtured.

Build Culture from Day One

  • Building a successful, supportive culture starts on day one. In fact, we believe that the first 90 days are an absolutely critical part of the employee journey. It’s during this time that you can either develop a proactive culture to help employees shine in their new positions or risk losing your new talent to poor onboarding procedures. At UrbanBound, we’re constantly working to refine our own onboarding practices to retain our new hires. Here are a few of our favorite tips:
  • Make day one memorable – No paperwork! Too many new hires spend their first days completing mundane tasks – sitting in long orientation sessions, reviewing and signing documents, and formatting email signatures. Boooooring! Give them an experience worth sharing with the friends and family who will inevitably ask about their first day.

At UrbanBound, our new hires are met with a card from our leadership team, a water bottle, a t-shirt, and box of chocolates. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but a small gift can go a long way toward helping new employees feel welcome. Consider taking your new hire out to lunch with the leadership team to foster and promote open communication. Again, nothing too fancy required; just get your new team member out of the office and talking with their new co-workers.

Plan Onboarding with Intention

  • No surprises. Avoid awkward exchanges and confusion by making sure everyone at your company knows a new employee is starting. At UrbanBound, we put a welcome sign on the front door. We also have new hires fill out a questionnaire and post their answers around the office. Not only does this let current employees learn about their new colleague, the questionnaire acts as a great conversation starter to help break the ice.
  • Answer questions up front. Ease your new hire into their position by answering their questions before they have a chance to ask. Consider tapping your current employee base to find out what they wish they had known prior to their start date – the answers may surprise you. Use this information to create an FAQ document to use as a resource in the onboarding process.
  • Don’t wing it. When it comes to onboarding, too many companies just figure it out as they go. Go beyond the typical day-one agenda of an office tour, quick intros and paperwork, and have a formalized plan. It can be tough to coordinate lunch with the leadership team and orientation or training, but create a structure to help every new employee start developing the skills they need right away.

Prepare a Launch Pad for Success

  • Set expectations. Work with your new employee to lay out exactly what success looks like within the first 90 days. Give attainable and measurable goals that new hires should be striving to achieve and ensure you’re providing them with the resources needed to succeed. If employees have something to work toward or new skills to acquire, it gives them a benchmark for how well they are performing. These 90-day action plans can also give you a better idea of your employee’s skill set and provide direction on what areas to focus on in the future.

By having a well-defined set of onboarding processes, you can help make those first 90 days a stairway to future success with your company.

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Michael is co-founder and CEO of UrbanBound, a Relocation Management Software provider reshaping the way employers offer and administer relocation benefits to their employees. As a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded five high-growth businesses, Michael has spent the past 15 years at the crossroads of technology and human resources. Michael is also a co-founder and board director of Hireology. He holds a degree in business administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and is past president of the Chicago chapter of the Entrepreneur's Organization.

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