On-Boarding – Make It Special

onboarding processBy on-boarding I mean what you do to determine the experience your new hires will have their first day on the job. Jack Daly, a Vistage Speaker, talks about how we commemorate a person’s retirement, but not when they start. But isn’t it just as important to celebrate an employee’s introduction to your company? Don’t you want them to know that you are truly excited about having them join your group? One of the companies I work with brings balloons, flowers, champagne, and a coffee mug for all employees on their first day. Each new person’s cubicle or office is decorated with a big welcome sign and their computer, phone, business cards, and desk are all in order before they start. (I know I’ve started several jobs where I didn’t even have a place to sit, and I ended up waiting in the conference room most of the day. Boy did I feel special.) One company I know of even sends flowers or a gift basket home to the spouse of the new employee. How would you feel about your spouse working a few extra hours if you had received this? Probably pretty good.

On the first day, introduce new employees at least to the team they’ll be working with, and to as many others in the company as is practical. Take them out to lunch and make the first day really about getting to know them and them getting to know your values and your culture. Those core concepts better be showing on the first day or your new employee will never buy in! Assigning a mentor to help that person navigate through the first day is always a good idea too. This is someone to go to with questions about the company for the first week or so (questions about their specific job would be more appropriate for a manager or a direct coworker).

Whatever you do on the first day, don’t make your new employees spend it filling out W-4s and insurance forms. Nothing takes the special out of an experience like bureaucracy. Let your new employees take those forms home to fill out. Spend the first day making sure they feel like they belong.

Excerpted from my book, “Putting Together the Entrepreneurial Puzzle: The Ten Pieces Every Business Needs to Succeed.” Available here on Amazon.