The first week on the job is a pivotal moment for every new hire.
It’s when they find out if what they were promised during the recruitment process matches reality, if they mesh well with their new colleagues, and ultimately, whether or not they’ll stick around long term.
That’s why a well thought out orientation & induction process is such an important part of a good onboarding strategy.
But COVID has turned the traditional first week on its head and for most of us, an in-person orientation is out-of-the-question, at least for now. So how can you deliver the same culture-affirming experience that defines your organization and empowers your newest team member...remotely?
Read on for our take on effective digital new hire orientation and induction!
|Defining new hire orientation|
Orientation and induction encompass the first week (or weeks) of a new hires’ onboarding journey. Its purpose is two-fold: completing administrative processes that were started during the preboarding phase and welcoming your newest team member into the fold.
A standard orientation and induction process might include:
- Payroll and company policy administration.
- Tech set-up and training.
- Welcome drinks and/or morning tea.
- Office tour and team meet & greet.
- First-week ‘buddy’.
Much of a standard orientation is about finally having face-to-face contact with your new team members, which is difficult when you haven’t left the comfort of your living room...but we’ll get to that soon!
|The importance of orientation in a remote setting
The benefits of working remotely are numerous, from having more flexibility with your schedule to missing the morning commute.
But there are downsides:
The first week is a great time to put in place some systems that will help your new hires avoid the pitfalls.
It’s also important for retention, with around 33% of new hires making the decision to stay in a new position within the first week of employment.
|Future-proof new hire orientation|
OK, so now we know what an effective new hire orientation looks like, and why it’s important. Now let’s look at how you can craft a future-proof digital new orientation that doesn’t feel like an after-thought.
As we touched on earlier, so much of what makes orientation and induction exciting is being able to interact with your colleagues in a face-to-face setting - so our secret is all about recreating that feeling of connectivity with the Create | Prepare | Meet philosophy.
First, you create your deliverable content. Whether that’s a learning document, a ‘welcome onboard’ swag bag, or something else.
Next, you prepare your new hire or other onboarding stakeholders to get the most out of that content. That might be through a scheduled email, a quick ‘how-to’ guide, or even a short phone call.
Finally, you facilitate meetings with your new hire to round out the process.
We’ve taken three common orientation and induction challenges and created a solution using the Create | Prepare | Meet philosophy:
Compliance is an indispensable part of onboarding. It gives an organization the confidence that their newest staff member is legally ready to represent their company. And it’s just as important for a new hire, especially when job certainty and financial stability are so up-in-the-air.
|Try one we prepared earlier|
Even though it can be a little dull, having this process clearly laid out will put your new hire at ease and ensure HR doesn’t miss a beat.
|Role clarification and expectations|
Clarification is all about ensuring that your new hire understands their role and what is expected of them. When you’re on your own at home, it’s even more important that you have a clear understanding of your role or at least access to plenty of resources that you can turn to for guidance.
But we’ve all had that horror story role where you didn’t know what you were doing for at least the first 3 weeks of employment, and not only did your morale suffer, but productivity was at an all-time low.
Build out a role and competency framework that outlines the different roles you have within a department, where each role sits in your organization’s hierarchical structure, and how those roles interact. You’ll need help from your managers and heads of department for this!
Schedule an email on day 2 of your new hire’s first week with a link to this document so they can explore things in their down-time.
Have your new hires direct manager meet with them over video chat towards the end of week one and walk them through the document. It doesn’t need to be more than a half-hour, but be sure to leave room for questions.
Bi-weekly one-to-one meetings decrease the odds of employee burnout by 84%, so the more often your manager meets one-on-one with your new hire, the better!
|Company culture and team connection|
Feeling included is important. It’s usually the difference between being thrilled with your new position and turning to the nearest job board.
As a new joiner who doesn’t know their newest colleagues from a bar of soap, fostering team connection can be difficult, especially if your onboardee isn’t the most outgoing in social situations.
Put together a ‘first-week chat roulette’ calendar. Essentially this is a calendar that makes specific times during an onboardee’s first week where they will have a short 20min call with a random member of the company. You can either have your existing employees volunteer, or assign the slots yourself. 1-2 per day is a good way to go.
Ensure your existing employees have some guidance on the type of things to ask your new hire - some good icebreaker questions can help here.
Let your people dial-in! Sit back as your newest team member gets acquainted with people from all over the company. Try checking in with some of your existing employees after these talks to get a feel for how your onboardee is settling in.
These speed-dating style virtual meetings are less overwhelming than a 30 person zoom call where no one can get a word in edge-wise. They’re also fantastic for fostering inter-departmental connections.
Induction and orientation are a crucial part of the new hire puzzle, and COVID has placed additional strain on the process through the remote nature of our current activities.
Try putting Create | Prepare | Meet to use in your organization to help alleviate some of that new hire anxiety and ensure your onboardees feel cool, calm, and collected during their first week!
Want to learn how to build a great post-COVID orientation and induction strategy? Watch our free on-demand webinar and get to work!