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Making Employee Onboarding Personal

Scott Tremper

Creative Director at Traitify | Lover of Film, Games, Music, and Wiener Dogs | Inventor/Planner in Work

Starting a new job can be incredibly stressful and nerve-racking. Like the first day of school when we were younger, a brand-new workplace presents a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety for many people. There's a desire to make a great first impression but also the fear that any mistake could lead you out the door just as quickly as you came in.

So what can you do, as a business, to alleviate this pressure? One simple method is to create personalized onboarding practices for different types of employees. Talmundo found that "an awesome onboarding experience" boosted employee performance by over 11 percent.

Hopefully, you've gathered your new employee's personality data during the hiring process, which will be helpful to consider as we explore some suggestions to create a great onboarding that will lead to long-term employee engagement.

Before Their First Day

The onboarding process should begin as soon as you've officially hired a candidate. The first day is typically soaked up with meeting the team and filling out paperwork, so preparing an agenda for the first week helps to enable newcomers to be mentally prepared for what they'll accomplish or learn as they begin to dive in deep. At Traitify, we're mostly a Mac-using team, but we make sure that new team members have whatever equipment they're comfortable with. If the employee will be working in-house (versus remote), having their workstation—with the first-day paperwork, orientation agenda, and technology—waiting for them will help them hit the ground running and show that you're excited for them to be a part of the team.

Of course, the sooner you can give any pertinent details to a new hire—such as the start date and time—the more they'll appreciate being able to schedule their lives around the position. Warby Parker delivers an electronic welcome packet filled with the company history and values to keep the engagement growing pre-start. If your company has the resources available, sending these details is a great time to include a personalized welcome gift.

The First Week

The interview is where both a candidate and organization make mutual strong impressions, but the first week is where the true relationship begins. Assuming the employee is doing their best to keep their job, an organization can do a lot to help ensure success from the get-go.

To begin, take the agenda you've outlined for them for the first week and stick to it. Keeping to a rigid schedule (at the beginning) will build confidence in the employee that your business knows what it's doing and make it "so they can dive in instead of twiddling their thumbs." It might seem basic to block off time for training and orientation, but it's equally important to block off some gaps between these to allow information to soak in—or even some time with their team or manager to give them a chance to clarify anything they've been briefed on thus far. This is also a key time to outline any thirty-day, ninety-day, or annual reviews that might be coming and what to expect from these reviews as a new employee.

For those using Traitify's personality tool, we offer a communication style guide, which can help you learn the best way a new employee will effectively receive information, whether it be via direct verbal instruction or written packets to go through at their own pace.

First Thirty and Beyond

While it might seem beneficial to get the orientation process out of the way as quickly as possible, statistics speak otherwise. Talmundo's study saw that a longer and more comprehensive onboarding program let to new hires gaining "full proficiency 34% faster." This isn't to say that onboarding should last forever, but scheduling checkups and meetings across the initial month of employment can be helpful to continue clarity and address anything that crops up post the bulk of their training.

A more in-depth review after thirty or ninety days can also show the organization's continued commitment to an employee's growth and well-being. This is also an opportune time to garner any feedback they might have, which is valuable. As an outsider, they'll likely have some helpful insight that the rest of the organization is blind to, simply because older employees have been operating internally for so long.

While hiring someone that fits your organization should hopefully deliver a quality, long-term employee, it's still entirely possible to frighten them off during their initial exposure to the company. By developing a smart—and executable—onboarding plan personalized to each hire, you'll likely see someone that develops quickly into a strong, capable team member.

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