When new employees walk in the door, do they feel like you're expecting them?
It's surprising how many companies struggle with onboarding and new employee training. New employees walk in on their first day... excited and ready to go! They walk up to the receptionist, introduce themselves and get a look that says, "what's your name again, and who are you here to see?"
Two hours later, after a mad scramble behind the scenes, they get you into "new hire training," and it's... not good.
Calling All Hiring Managers
If your company doesn't have a formal onboarding process to welcome and train new employees, then it's up to you, the manager, to make sure everything is ready. A few days before the employee's start date...
- Prepare all new hire paperwork.
- Go into the supply closet, grab a couple of new note pads, sticky notes, pens, stapler, hanging folders, and a computer bag. Lay it out nicely on the employee's "dust free" desk. Make sure the phone receiver is clean.
- Let the receptionist know your expecting a new staff member. Share the employee's name along with your cell phone and have the receptionist call you as soon as the new employee arrives.
- The next day, greet the employee with a big welcome. Give them a tour, introduce them to the team, and when you walk them to their desk, watch their reaction when they see you've taken the time to organize all their supplies.
- Have a well thought out training schedule. Prepare it in advance, and make it your go to plan for every new person that joins your team.
It's Not Just a Work Thing
I learned this principle in college. When I went to grad school, I made an "unexpected" arrival. I drove 24 hours in two days, from Waco, Texas to Syracuse, New York. I packed everything I owned into my beat-up '89 Ford Probe and began the journey.
I was thrilled! I had been accepted into the Newhouse broadcasting program at Syracuse University. The program was ranked number one in the country, and I was ready to become the next Bob Costas or Mike Tirico... the list of Syracuse sports broadcasting talent is unmatched.
When I arrived, I walked into the first administration building I could find, and introduced myself, "Hi, I'm Doyle Slayton. I'm wondering where I need to go to check-in and register for classes." My excitement quickly turned to concern while I wandered from one building to the next, trying to find my way. I thought, "Are these people even expecting me?"
I decided to go straight to the Newhouse building and asked to speak with the chair of the department. I didn't have to wait. He brought me straight into his office. After a few minutes of getting to know each other, I said, "I don't mean to be any trouble, but I've gone from building to building and no one seems to be able to tell me where I need to go."
He picked up the phone, and I'll never forget what he said, "I will not have my people walking around this campus trying to figure out what it takes to be a part of us."
I didn't become a famous broadcaster, but looking back, my experience at Syracuse was incredible. It started with a leader who made me feel welcome. He set me up for success, and it left a lasting impression.