Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
The last thing an employee wants to feel on their first day of work is lost and confused. Each company should have an organized, specific system in place to make the onboarding process go as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about how to make this possible, we polled nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) on unique ways they welcome and orient new hires. Their answers are below.
Have Them Spend Time In Customer Service
Each person in our company spends two to three weeks in customer service and support. We want everyone to be able to jump into this position if needed. This also helps every person in the company know our product and what our real customers are saying. It also helps the C-level executives get to know almost every person in the company and truly understand what they are going through.
In addition, we make every person spend 40 hours a quarter in customer services—even the CEO. This engrains in them that we’re all about our customers.
Hold Informal Second-Round Interviews
Typically when a company employs a multi-tiered interviewing process, they use the second-round to ramp up intensity. I take the opposite approach. During the first interview I ask the typical questions; and then, if I feel the candidate has potential, I invite them out to dinner or happy hour.
I do this for a number of reasons. First of all, my work environment is informal and seeing the person in that context gives me an idea of how they might fit in. Another reason is that a laid-back setting can help lower an applicants defenses and be more open and honest. I’m really not interested in hearing about your biggest weakness (which is inevitably somehow a strength in disguise). I want to hear about your hobbies and quirks and (most importantly) what makes me want to work with you every day?
Hold A Scavenger Hunt
To preserve that “everyone knows each other” vibe our company enjoyed back when we were a smaller team, we’ve developed an in-depth scavenger hunt for new employees that encourages them to meet and talk to other people at the company to find out their interests, hobbies, nicknames and professional functions. It’s helped preserve our company culture as we grow our numbers.
Make Sure There’s A Welcoming Environment
For new hires the most stressful part of a new job is the nerves around all of the unknown and all the “new”: new faces, new programs, new systems. We try to make each individual feel welcome by making their desk on their first day feel like home.
We ready the desk with fun office supplies, write a hand-written welcome note and, depending on the season, have fresh flowers waiting for them on their desk. Making a new hire feel welcomed and appreciated from the moment they arrive sets the tone with how your team will work together moving forward.
Start With The “Why”
We do our two day onboarding where we teach the strength finders, our core values, and our “why.” We watch TED talks, have a company-wide team-building event and weave in an interactive training. It is very well received.
Fly Everyone in for a Team Meeting
We spend a couple of days together so they can take part in critical team operations and we can have dinners and drinks together.
Hold A Company-Wide Lunch
Whenever we have a new hire, I always buy lunch for the whole team on their first day. Lunch together allows the new person to meet everyone in an informal manner and share a little bit about themselves.
It allows them an opportunity to identify people who they have common interests with and could converse with later. By the end of the day, the newly hired employee feels like they know everyone and the anxiety of meeting new co-workers is gone.
Connect Them to Our Core Mission
It’s easy for a new hire to get tunnel vision around learning the tasks of their job, and in doing so, lose sight of where they fit into the vision of the company. During their first week, every new hire—from analysts to customer service—spends an hour with our logistics team packing a product box for shipment.
We do this so they stay connected to our mission and experience what our customers receive after making the decision to use our products.
Onboarding a new employee can be a long and difficult process. The software LearnCore is great, especially for sales teams. Employees learn faster and can get feedback as well. It’s very efficient.
Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock