How To Ignite New Employee Enthusiasm

The on-boarding process has proved to be a critical step when it comes to retaining staff beyond the recruitment process, according to Penny O’Reilly, General Manager, Kelly Services Australia. After the selection process, on-boarding is arguably the single most critical step to ensuring the success of new employees. “Even the most successful on-boarding programs will not eliminate unwanted turnover but an outstanding on-boarding program can help reduce the volume of new hire turnover, which is costly and time consuming,” said O’Reilly. 

By failing to build an effective on-boarding program into the standard business process, companies lose the ideal opportunity to instil their values and corporate culture. O’Reilly said, “Unfortunately many companies view the on-boarding process as a necessary evil, an uncomfortable afterthought to the hiring process. Employers need to remember that other than the recruiting period, orientation is the first image an employee has of the company – a picture that will likely stay with the employee throughout his or her tenure. A thoughtfully planned and executed on-boarding program helps ease the transition to the workplace. Companies that keep orientation intentional, and even lively, go a long way to tapping the full skill set of the new hire as well as igniting his or her excitement and enthusiasm. It’s well worth the investment of time and resources to get the new employee to be a fully engaged member of the team as soon as possible.” 

O’Reilly suggests the following steps for implementing a successful on-boarding program:

Coming attractions. Before the new employee reports on the first day, send them a package that provides an overall picture of the organisation and conveys your excitement about them coming on-board. Focus on what each area does and how all the employees are connected, but keep it light.
Make it hands-on and face-to-face. If you want to make a good impression on your newly hired employee, start by replacing the company orientation manual with human interaction, On-boarding processes that incorporate human interaction enhance effectiveness, satisfaction and retention.
Start the program with the most important issues. Everyone is more alert at the beginning of the day or program. Aim to cover the important issues and considerations first.
Promote communication. Generation X and Y workers, in particular, seek one-on-one communication with a supervisor who is approachable and appreciative. A hands-on manager or supervisor will help new employees understand what’s expected of them, and where/how they fit into the big picture.
Position managers in key on-boarding roles. Managers should play a key role in the new employee’s on-boarding experience. By setting understandable expectations on both sides, employees know what they need to accomplish and, equally important, they also know what to expect from their managers.
Don’t overwhelm new employees with too many details or introductions at once. Even the brightest new employee can be overwhelmed with data, information, a new people. Space out your p[program to keep it interesting and digestible.
Use a buddy/mentor system. Having an experienced employee serve as an orientation mentor for the new staff member accomplishes a number of positive goals. This action can relieve new employee anxiety, provide a primary source of information after orientation, and offer a ‘buddy’ to help the new employee start their tenure in the right direction.
Make it last. Most employees need to know they’re doing a good job, so keep the feedback flowing after the first few weeks on the job.
Establish reachable goals. New employees want to contribute to their new workplace as quickly as possible. Give them real work that can be completed within the first few weeks. Getting these employees up and running as soon as possible gives a new employee a sense of being a valuable and necessary member of the team. 

[Source: Recruitment Extra, November 2011]