So you’ve spent time and money, not to mention effort and precious resource to find the perfect candidate. It’s cost you a pretty penny to get this far, and you’re so eager to have them on-boarded, you’ve already started assigning tasks to them. Fast forward a few months, and the newbie you worked so hard to find walks out the door. What the heck happened? And now you have to start the search all over again… If this pattern sounds familiar, read on to learn about my four key factors that will help you win over your newbies, hook, line and sinker.
Welcome aboard!: On the newbies first day, how prepared are you for them? You might be ready to throw them in at the deep end, but if you didn’t get their laptop, desk, logon, and security access sorted, you’ll spend the first few days chasing about to get the basics sorted. And what kind of impression does that make on a newbie? Disorganised, or worse, disinterested! Then there is the usual game of hide & seek that most newbies are forced to play. You assume they know your inner workings, processes and who does what, but of course they can’t possibly. So the newbie searches around the business to try and piece together all the information they need to get started at their new job. I’m not suggesting that you should lay out everything on a plate for a newbie, but be cognisant of their needs, and help them to become the effective employee they want to be.
Transparency: Whenever a newbie walks through the door of a new company, they know that somebody was probably doing their job before they arrived. They know that there might be both positive and negative emotions, and they know that they need to make a good first impression on their colleagues. At the same time, any newbie is going to expect a fair dose of openness and clarity in their first weeks and months. They are going to expect that gossip and rumour are addressed, and that you will provide unfiltered feedback to them. Even if well intentioned, avoiding addressing uncomfortable scenarios (whether related to the newbie, or circumstances around them) will always lead to suspicions and mistrust. Transparency may not always be possible before someone joins your organisation, but once they are on board, respect them by being open and honest.
First moment of truth: Whether it’s a clash of personalities, late payment of salary, a disagreement on actions, or feedback from another colleague on your newbie, how you handle the first moment of truth is key to whether you build bridges or barriers with your newbie. Moments of truth matter because they are key to the employee experience, and coupled with the fact that you and the newbie don’t really know each other, there is potential for a sub-optimal outcome. You should be paying attention to your employees’ moments of truth at all times, but when it comes to the newbie, make that extra effort.
Connections : Being a newbie is fun – meeting new people, finding out new information, travelling to new places. But it’s also potentially lonely. The newbie has left behind familiar colleagues, friends and surrounding, and will at times feel a sense of loss at what they left behind. So it’s super important to help connect your newbie within the company. Buddying them up with a peer, varying the levels of who you connect them with, set up cross-functional relationships, and potentially most powerfully, leveraging your personal network to get them integrated. Don’t leave them to sink or swim, help them to be the successful part of the team that both you and they want to be!
We all know the power of Word of Mouth, and the horns or halo effect it can have. We all know that this impacts our business (most managers will keep a regular eye on Glassdoor scores.) And when we consider the investment we make in recruiting a new team member or colleague (time, cost, internal reputation and expectation), we owe it to the newbie, ourselves and to the company to facilitate the successful on-boarding of every newbie. Now that you are thinking about this, isn’t it time to expand your current on-boarding programme from the first few weeks of a newbie’s tenure to at least the end of their probationary period?