How to Nail Onboarding

As we've recently expanded here at Craft, it seems an appropriate time to talk about onboarding. The recruitment process doesn’t stop when a job offer is accepted, it continues as you introduce your new staff into your business. We know first impressions are important, but the first few days, weeks, even months in a new environment inevitably shape a new employee's attitude towards a new company, so you need to get it right.

Investing in your employees is the best way of keeping your staff turnover low, so make sure you set aside some time for each new starter to keep them engaged and involved. A successful onboarding process is one which warmly welcomes somebody to the business, begins to equip them with everything they need to do their job and helps them feel comfortable in their new role.

I've had some pretty bad onboarding experiences myself, and they stay with you. I appreciate it's a two-way street and your new member of staff needs to show you the commitment you have shown them in offering them a job, but especially when working in agencies (where social cohesion is so important), you need to get it right.

Get the basics right...

Before somebody begins work, make sure you have all the basics in place to prevent wasting time; buy new technology, set up email addresses, logins, systems and clear a desk. There's nothing worse than turning up on day one with nowhere to sit wondering, "have they forgotten about me?" This will help your latest recruit feel valued and it's a clear sign that somebody has taken time to prepare for their start.

As a business owner or a senior manager, it can be difficult to imagine somebody else’s first impressions of your business. Maybe try speaking to people who've recently joined the business - ask them about their first impressions and see how they could have been improved. Not only will that help you hone your onboarding for new recruits, it will engage your current team members, showing them that their opinions are valued. 

If you can, get personal and make the process your own, maybe with a beautifully designed starter pack! (Take a look at the lovely promo pack below from Studio Garbeo). There's no need for gimmicks here, maybe a company hoodie or t-shirt isn't right for your agency, but a personalised mug or some weighty business cards from day one can go a surprisingly long way. If you're a start-up or a burgeoning SME, this could be seen as time that's better spent elsewhere, but it sends out a clear message, "we take ourselves seriously, and look after our staff."

The devil's in the detail...

If your new employee is working a lengthy notice period, look for opportunities to connect with them in the meantime to keep them engaged. A 3 month notice can seem like an age and you want them to be just as excited to join the business on their first day as they were after their final interview. Have them come and meet more of the team part way through the notice, or if you have a social event planned, be sure to invite them!

A new job means plenty of paperwork, but make sure this is done early on; on the first day or beforehand. People get uneasy if they get to week two and they still haven't been issued with a contract or company handbook.

Aside from the piles of paperwork and formalities of the first week, it’s important that a social and cultural introduction takes place, so perhaps arrange a casual team night out or a trip to the pub one lunch time. 

Face-to-face time with senior members of the company is valuable and appreciated by new staff. Arranging a 15-minute weekly catch up between a new starter and a business stakeholder will instill confidence in both parties, and you can catch up on their professional development as well as answering any queries they may have. It might be that this is phased out after the initial period, or that it forms part of their long term development. 

It's important that new members of staff integrate with all areas of the company, not just their department. Maybe someone from each department could run through a short presentation outlining what they do, or if you're small enough, your new starter could go round the agency getting to know everyone and what they do. If your new designer better understands the trials and tribulations your account management team go through day-to-day - and know where strengths and gaps in their knowledge lie - they should have a better working relationship. 

It’s all too easy to overwhelm or go overboard in the first week. Try to keep the more intense induction sessions for the following weeks, when people tend to feel more settled and can take in information a little better.

If you're recruiting for design and digital jobs and are looking to connect with the best talent Yorkshire has to offer, be sure to get in touch and find out what we can do for you.