A recent study conducted in the US by Bamboo HR evidenced that 31 % of employees quit within the first 6 months.
Most of them changed their mind about the job. But a significant proportion left because their team leader failed to make a good impression.
Did you think new employees were the only ones who need to make a good first impression?
With more millennials in our offices (who have high expectations, and can achieve your vision… but can jump ship quickly), team leaders and colleagues have to make a strong impact, too.
A successful on boarding process has the same effect as a strong customer experience: it gets people hooked from day 1.
A successful on boarding process should not be restricted to training. It’s a time to take new joiners through cultural values and establish the strong connections that bind a team together. It’s a way to plant the seed for motivation, performance, and build resilience in a team.
Be professional – prepare a solid plan
Can you imagine landing in a new job where no one really knows what you are here for?
Prepare the team. Make them aware of the role, how you expect interactions to start, when the new joiner will arrive. Support orientation within the company by preparing a few tours with well-connected colleagues.
Be friendly – build relationships
Work relationships are changing. With flatter organisations, people expect their team leader to develop a partnership as opposed to manage tasks. You should make yourself an example to follow to build positive relations and get a strong reputation.
Don’t wait until the first day to reach out. Drop your new talent a line before she joins. Give her info on what to expect on the first day. Organise a lunch with the team the week before D-day, so that you can start a connection on neutral ground.
All successful on boarding days start with a positive attitude. A personal welcome to the team works great. Try a short, stand-up meeting on the first morning, where you can personally introduce the new joiner(s).
During the first week, ask team members to plan a few lunches and coffees so that your new joiner truly feels welcome. You can even extend it to the main stakeholders the new joiner will regularly interact with.
Be transparent – honesty is fertiliser for trust
Some leaders think successful on boarding is to protect their new joiners at the beginning; before sharing anything that could be contentious, they need to make sure “the newbie can take it”.
I wish I’d had an open conversation about office politics, corporate culture and dos and don’ts when I started at some previous jobs. It would have helped with relationship building. It would have given me a better way to adapt my communication on some difficult topics.
You can’t expect the team to say it all. As a team leader, supporting your new joiners in navigating culture and politics is part of your job. Don’t be scared to be honest about what happens behind the scenes and inevitably impacts the show. For a new joiner, being “in the know” early on reinforces their feeling of inclusion.
The same goes for you, as a manager. Tell them about your management style and what your main values are. Create a relationship with your new joiner. Employees leave managers, not companies!
All you need to know to lead teams through TRUST: the ultimate guide. Discover 5 simple steps to build trust in teams and inspire them to achieve bigger things. FREE e-book here!
Set expectations – show your leadership style
It’s never too early to discuss the scope of the role; your expectations in terms of working style, how you’ll assess performance, and what are the upcoming tasks you want to see done. Another aspect of a successful on boarding is to get your new hire in action. It shows her she’s part of the big game. It’s a sign you trust her to start rockin’.
When people are not clear on what they need to do, they don’t feel a sense of belonging. This drives them away. Give the new joiner an opportunity to own her job early on; give clear indications of work parameters.
Develop early on – train and mentor
The starting point for successful on boarding should be a 90 day plan for each employee. Use job descriptions to support your team development strategy. Mix training sessions with real work and give them time to create relationships within the company.
Regular checkpoints to see how your new team buddy is getting on are a must. They create a 1:1 connection, open the feedback loop, and give a first indication of performance.
Another way to boost development is to offer an accountability buddy or mentorship for the length of the 90-day plan. Your new joiner will receive independent feedback and will be supported building the precious connections she’ll need later on. Check why you should consider having a mentor here.
Be fun – make a first good impression
It’s important to have awareness of what motivates millennials. They represent nearly 30% of the workforce, after all.
Millennial-centric companies (Apple, Google, Uber…) offer fun activities that hook their employees from day 1. They create engagement by showing them straight on how to find purpose and make an impact.
Have you tried personality tests? Fun for the joiner and useful to better understand their personality or communication preferences.
Other companies put the newbie under the spotlight and ask them to talk about their passion for 10 mins. Some go even further and organise full “fun afternoon” with tests, quizzes, games. (Personally, I played Pictionary via a conference call on one of my first days. Brilliant!)
Be different. Promote positivity in the workplace and show them what the team is made of. They’ll know soon enough what the job is about.
A successful on boarding experience is your first real opportunity to “wow” your new team members. With a growing tendency to job-hop, it’s now necessary for team leaders to use their boarding process as an incentive to show that “happy at work” is possible
With growing numbers of millennials, it becomes more and more important to consider their specific needs, and ensure the experience is fun, an opportunity for development, and more than anything, a way for them to share opinion and provide feedback.
What was your best 1st day in a job? Share you story below!