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Hire someone new? Don’t forget to do these four things when onboarding a new employee

The importance of onboarding a new employee well cannot be overstated. Here’s how to do it well.

Welcome new employees!

Do you remember the last time you started a new job?

I do. I was intimidated. Everyone in the company already knew each other and “how things work around here”… except me.

I was reminded of this when I spoke on a webinar for New Hire recently. A new employee’s anxiety around joining a company can get in the way of that person doing a good job. So as the CEO, you want to do everything you can to make your new hire feel as welcome as possible when they arrive.

If you don’t onboard a new hire well (or forget to do it all together), it can be a costly mistake. According to a recent infographic in Fast Company, 31% of people have quit a job within the first six months. The cost of losing an employee in the first year is estimated to be at least three times the salary of that employee.

The good news is that onboarding a new hire well can be simple to do.

It comes down to two things: help a new hire overcome the anxiety of joining a new company, and ask questions to ensure the new hire feels connected to the company.

Do these two things well, and you’ll increase the likelihood that your new hire will feel welcomed in your company sooner, and will stay committed to your company longer.

Here are some specific ways for how to do this…

(1) Make the new employee’s introduction to the company a two-way street.

Oftentimes, when new employees are introduced to the rest of the company, they are brought up in front of everyone at an all-company meeting, and asked to share a bit about themselves. For a new employee, this can feel overwhelming. It’s as though a blinding spotlight is being cast on them.

Instead, when the new hire is introduced to the company, make sure everyone else in the company introduces themselves to this new person too. You want to avoid putting this new hire “on the spot” as much as possible. (With our product Know Your Team, we purposefully do this with our Icebreakers feature).

(2) As the CEO, schedule a one-on-one with the new hire that first week.

According to Fast Company, more than 33% of new hires want management to show them the ropes — not HR or other coworkers. This isn’t because a new hire doesn’t value having HR or other coworkers’ perspectives as they learn about the company. They absolutely do. But it’s because connecting with you, as the leader, helps them feel invested in the company’s vision and direction as a whole. They’ll feel more committed about the “why” behind what your company is doing.

If your company has been on a hiring spree lately, and you feel like it’s too challenging to meet with every new hire one-on-one, you can meet with your new hires in small groups. For example, one of our Know Your Company customers, Delta Defense, does this regularly. Their CEO Tim Schmidt will personally meet with every new hire in groups of three to five people, and walk them through their company’s values.

(3) Ask your new employees these four questions during their first week.

When you do sit down with a new hire for the first time, it’s a huge opportunity to get to know a new hire on a personal level, and learn about their expectations of the company. It’s also a great way to show them what you care about in the company by the types of questions you ask. It sets a tone that you’re open to feedback, and genuinely want to hear their insights. Here are four questions you could start with:

– What’s your favorite dessert? Favorite sports team? (or something fun and personal 🙂 )
– What’s one thing that annoyed you about your previous boss / manager at your last job?
– What’s one thing that attracted you to our company, above all else?
– What’s your biggest fear or worry coming into this job?

(4) Ask your new employees these four questions regularly throughout the year.

Employee onboarding goes beyond the first month they’re with you at the company. It takes time to fully integrate an employee into the company. So you want to ask questions regularly, throughout their time at your company, before something bubbles up into a major issue.

Here are four questions you should ask a new employee across the course of their career with you at your company. We’ve based this on the four most popular questions asked through Know Your Team:

– Do you think the company is the right size?
– Have you ever been afraid to suggest an idea at work because you thought someone might shoot it down?
– Do you feel like you’re spread too thin right now?
– If someone asked you to describe the vision of the company, would a clear answer immediately come to mind?

Onboarding a new employee is something that can easily be overlooked. Especially, if you’re hiring quickly, or if you’ve got someone else in your company dedicated to the training of your staff.

Don’t forget that the way a new employee feels as they join your company is crucial. They’ll remember that first impression — it’ll stick with them throughout their career at your company. You only get one chance to get it right.

So don’t mess it up. Get started off on the right foot, and do these four things when someone new joins your company.

You’ll give your new hire a reason to stay for the long haul.

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Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Canopy. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.