How To Handle New Hires
The relationship between employee and employer is typically spearheaded by Human Resources. Recruiters are tasked with developing a job description, sifting through resumes, conducting interviews and ultimately partnering with hiring managers to select the most qualified candidate for an open position. Once the candidate is hired, the next step is to provide tools and resources necessary to be productive. The immediate timeframe after a candidate is hired is considered the 'onboarding' period.
At a minimum, your onboarding process must include the collection of paperwork to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Typically, the Form I-9, State (as applicable) and Federal tax, direct deposit, and benefit enrollment forms should be provided and completed in their entirety within the first 2-3 days of employment. As a rule of thumb, stay up to date with new hire reporting responsibilities; it is not uncommon for mandates to change, which may require internal adjustments to administrative processes. Also, remain cognizant of the fact that new hire reporting standards vary from state to state.
It has been proven that a sense of belonging is a key driver of employee engagement. In other words, ensuring that individuals are loyal and identify with the organization's goals, vision, and objectives translates into higher performance. With this being said, it is crucial to assess the effectiveness of your company's onboarding process. Setting the tone from the first day of the employment relationship will help facilitate productivity, manage expectations, and drive engagement.
While there is a great deal of variety in the manner in which organizations onboard new hires, there are a handful of key components that should be included in every onboarding process.
Within most occupations, the ability to cultivate relationships is essential to success and goal attainment. A best practice is to introduce new employees to all members of the receiving team on the first day. Consider assigning the new employee with a colleague tasked with providing guidance, insight and support over the first few weeks. The role of this colleague will be to provide insight into cultural norms and unspoken rules, facilitate introductions, and assist the new comer as he or she navigates your company. The reality is that employees are more comfortable having candid discussions with their peers, and may not want to ask questions of their managers that aren’t directly related to core responsibilities.
When feasible, provide new comers with the opportunity to meet senior management. Most organizations provide an executive welcome during new hire orientation in the form of a meet & greet, brief introduction or information session. The reality is that employees want to feel as though their contributions are valued – the effort exerted by a senior leader to meet and converse with a new employee has significant residual effects on performance and engagement.
Review Organizational Culture
Throughout the recruitment process it is difficult to articulate the entire scope of the organization's culture within a few interviews. The purpose of interviews is to evaluate competencies and ensure alignment with organizational needs. While fitting in from a cultural perspective is also of high importance, many hiring managers place more emphasis on expertise and proficiencies when making their final decision. The onboarding process should be leveraged as a time during which new hires can gain insight into the culture and develop a firm understanding of the company's expectations.
Go beyond explaining the core values and organizational mission statement by demonstrating the ways in which the culture is alive and well within the context of daily operations. Consider citing examples that you are privy to, or invite existing employees into orientation to deliver that insight directly. Regularly articulate the fact that the sustainability of the organization is contingent upon a strong culture in which employees are integral to success.
As Human Resources professionals, we are aware of the fact that job descriptions are by no means exhaustive lists of responsibilities. Additionally, most managers are not directly involved with all of the daily tasks of their direct reports; therefore, they may inadvertently misinterpret areas of accountability. During the first week onboard be sure to check in with the new hire to confirm that trainings are taking place. For situations in which the appropriate subject matter expertise is not readily available within the receiving team, provide support by facilitating the necessary training or identifying outside resources to do so.
It's essential to thoroughly explain responsibilities early on in the employment relationship. Not only will this demonstrate the fact that your organization is committed to consistent progression, it also holds employees accountable. Advise managers to be concise, prescriptive and deliberate in explaining the full scope of responsibilities as well as the manner in which performance will be assessed. This gives the new employee ample time to ensure that goals are met.
Assess the Impact
As with all other HR activities, be diligent about measuring and reporting on the ROI or impact of the onboarding process on productivity. Consider the roles, responsibilities and projected impact of the employees that you are onboarding to shape decisions about how much of an investment is made in the process. Part time, unskilled, or seasonal positions may not warrant extensive onboarding processes based on the scope of responsibilities.
It is important to ensure that any improvements or modifications made to your current onboarding process align with the strategic direction of the company. Assess performance reviews, retention rates, and employee engagement data to identify correlations with the improved onboarding process. Be sure to leverage your findings to implement improvements as necessary, and justify more robust efforts.
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