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    The employee onboarding plan: 15 steps for an amazing first week

    New hire orientation week. For companies with a successful, structured employee onboarding plan, it tends to be the best of times—another opportunity to welcome new hires and send them down the path toward long-term success. For organizations that struggle to engage recent joiners, however, orientation week can be a drag.


    If your company falls into the latter category, the Talmundo team is here to give your new hire onboarding plan a free makeover.

    Simply follow our employee onboarding plan - 15 steps toward a world-class employee orientation program
    for more engaged, productive employees who stick around long-term!

    Editor notes: This blog article has been updated on February 15, 2023

    1. Crowdsource ideas for your onboarding plan from engaged team members

    Whether or not your company has a formal onboarding plan in place, you probably go through informal onboarding rituals. These organic habits can be as simple as going out to lunch together on your new hire’s first day. While it may not seem like a lot, these moments can actually be some of the most memorable and effective onboarding activities.

    To get a better idea of what informal activities are ALREADY happening, survey some of your most engaged team members. What made them feel at home within their first week? How did they know they wanted to stay with your organization?

    If you see a pattern among the answers, then you know that those little gems should make it into your formal onboarding process steps for future wins.

    2. Use your onboarding plan to create an agenda for the first week

    With these ideas in hand, put together a schedule for your new hire’s first week. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many companies forget this little detail.

    Creating an agenda ensures that your excited new employee doesn’t get lost in the shuffle - a surefire way to drain their initial enthusiasm.

    3. Let your new hire know what to expect

    After you’ve outlined an agenda, share your thoughts with your new recruit.

    Give them a heads-up about what to expect during their first few days, from anticipated departure times to any special accommodations that they should make (like what to wear and whether or not lunch is provided).

    You don’t have to tell them everything - feel free to keep a few fun icebreakers up your sleeve, but ensure enough information is provided to ensure they feel comfortable when they walk through the office door.

    4. Clue in your team (and anyone else who will listen)

    As you may have already guessed, employee onboarding shouldn’t be exclusively an HR or direct manager’s task. At the very least, your new hire’s team should know about a new hire’s first day in advance.

    Better yet, get everyone in on the fun with a company-wide email (containing the new hire’s photo if possible, so people can match the name to the face) or make an announcement at the weekly executive meeting.

    5. Be Real - keep your onboarding plan authentic

    Of course, you want employees to love your company but that’s no reason to put on a mask. It’s important to integrate your new joiners with the real company culture, not make them think that working at your company is something that it’s not.

    Ensure that your new hire orientation reflects the attitude and atmosphere that employees will experience in the months to follow so they don’t suffer from a case of bait-and-switch.

    6. Add a homey touch

    Nothing says “we don’t care about your start date” more than a dusty, lifeless desk.

    Don’t forget to design a comfortable, well-stocked workstation for new team members before they arrive. This includes setting up their computer, email, and other accounts they might need to access, as well as stashing stationery, office supplies, and maybe even a copy of the employee handbook in their desk drawers.

    Top tip_
    If your newest hire is starting their onboarding process remotely, organize a ‘care package’ for delivery on or before their first day with all the necessary equipment.


    7. Schedule real meetings

    Participating in team or project meetings may be asking a little much from recent joiners, but that doesn’t mean that they should be excluded. Let them sit in to get a feel for how teams actually run their projects as well as the different personalities they will be working with.

    Make it clear that they are welcome to provide a fresh perspective, contribute new ideas, and raise important questions if they have them.

    8. Pair them with a buddy or mentor

    No one likes to be the “new kid”, and with a buddy or mentor, your new hire won’t be the odd one out.

    Give them someone to turn to in times of need, someone who may also become a good friend and connection beyond their team.

    Resource alert_
    Your choice of buddies is important. Try our free webinar for building a mentorship program that pairs up the right people for the best chance of success.

    9. Drop the formalities

    We’re not saying you should be unprofessional. However, the first week is the perfect time to let your guard down a little and allow your new hire to get comfortable.

    Try going out for a team lunch or hosting a happy hour during employee orientation week. These are great moments to bond in a more relaxed environment!

    10. Set aside training time throughout your onboarding plan

    Nearly 50% of employers believe that in-demand skills are lacking among candidates, and more than half of workers think that inadequate on-the-job training is the culprit. Help your latest employees be the best they can be with consistent training starting in week one.

    Top tip_
    Drip feed long-form training as bite-sized sessions to avoid exhausting your new hire with information overload.

    11. Go over expectations and objectives

    Arrange a sit-down between the new hire and their manager to review expectations, ask and answer questions, and set objectives together for long-term success.

    This is a critical part of onboarding as it provides the new hire with much-needed guidance that will allow them to contribute meaningfully to the team more quickly. This will give them confidence and promote even more growth - it’s like the opposite of a shame spiral!

    12. Make it fun

    You snooze, you lose. And by that, we mean that if you make your new hire onboarding sleep-inducing, you’re more likely to lose employees. 

    So have fun with it! Include some interesting icebreakers, explore new ways of delivering information, make things interactive - whatever you can think of to spice things up.

    For best results, try getting all of the paperwork out of the way in the preboarding phase, BEFORE your new hire starts.

    13. Don’t leave new hires empty-handed

    Company swag has fallen out of favor a little in recent years as we become more aware of the impacts of wasteful consumption on the world around us.

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t put together a thoughtful, sustainable swag bag that gives your recruit a little bit of joy, and a sense of who you are as an organization.

    14. Check in often

    Most employees decide within 10 days whether they’ll stay with their new employer, and 33% of new employees quit within their first six months. This is often the result of poor communication or a disconnect between expectation and reality.

    The best way to combat this is by checking in with your newest hire early and often. Give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions and give feedback - this way you will be more aware of how they are feeling and can step in and help if you think things are going off the rails.

    15. Go beyond week 1 - create an onboarding plan for the months ahead

    If you implement all of the new hire orientation ideas above, rest assured that you’re already on your way towards a powerful employee onboarding experience.

    But you can go further and see even better results by extending it past week one. Research shows that new hires who undergo longer onboarding processes become productive 34% faster than those in the shortest programs.

    So you've planned out an amazing first week. But onboarding goes far beyond (and starts well before) week one...

    Learn to reinvent your new hire journey, automate your processes, and elevate your business with our onboarding whitepaper!

    Talmundo Onboarding Whitepaper 2023 CTA

    Topics: Onboarding
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