It’s time someone finally said it: HR is tough. We may not be the ones building the product or out there closing deals, but we are the holders of company culture, and that's just scratching the surface. Human Resource Business Partners (HRBPs) are integral to the process of building sound internal infrastructure, achieving a balance between regulatory compliance and employee experience.
The best human resource professionals are successful by creating a shared understanding of the key cultural and procedural pieces their company has put into place. But this is easier said than done. So, what’s the secret? Communication. Constant, tailored, personal communication.
One of the first opportunities that HR professionals have to communicate is during New Hire Onboarding. It's every company's first impression with their new employee, and an opportunity to leave a lasting, positive impression (or fall on their face). The onboarding process begins with a first-day new employee orientation, which is considered a key facet of new hire onboarding.
Many new hires will be overwhelmed on their first day—especially if they’re thrown into an intense orientation program covering long lists of tasks, company policies, introductions to new co-workers, compliance items, and overviews about technical aspects of employment. It’s likely that they won’t understand or remember most of the information from orientation, especially if there isn’t follow up.
This is why first-day orientation, while important, isn’t onboarding. Onboarding is actually a larger process that ramps up before the start date and continues through a good part of the first year, making the addition of new employees seamless, efficient and effective.
Which is why our New Hire Onboarding presentation covers more than just Day One. It also offers a 1-week, 1-month and 6-month roadmap both for the new hire and their team. As an added bonus, this will force function from the new hire's manager and colleagues to prepare for a new team member and have clear OKRs outlined before their start—aka "setting them up for success." You can even send it a few days in advance, so they can be mentally prepared for their first day on the job. Customize this free New Hire Onboarding template here.
Start before the start
Think back to when you were hired at your current job. When did you sign your offer letter? When did you start? Was there radio silence between those dates? Was there an email from HR? What did this email say? Chances are you got a reminder that you need to bring valid identification as well as signed copies of employment documentation such as an offer letter, employee handbook acknowledgment, I9, and a W4.
Onboarding documents, such as a Welcome Packet, are sent as part of the series of communication before your employee’s start date. These documents provide an overview and help set expectations. They also give your new hire ample time to digest the information and arrive on their first day prepared to learn more.
Putting together a standardized new hire onboarding communication campaign takes the work and the effort out of creating this experience for each new hire. This will also help you build a consistently reinforced employer brand with each new employee.
While some items in the onboarding process can be conveyed via bullet points in an email (direct deposit setup, background check, dress code, etc) others need to be more thoroughly and clearly communicated. The Welcome Packet we've created in Beautiful.ai does just that.
Be transparent and give a heads up
We like the Golden Rule when it comes to a new employee orientation checklist: If you started a new job, would you want the company to send you a generic welcome email before your first day, or more personalized details and specific information to get you super stoked to start your new gig?
Instead of making your new employee wish they’d pressed Snooze that morning, give them a sense of transparency with the materials in their Welcome Packet. Include some insider information to give them a jumpstart and to remove any ambiguity. Examples could include a description of their team's work environment ("it can be chilly in that corner, so bring a sweater"), an email intro to team members ("team, meet the new role recruit!"), or a request for a short personal bio for a welcome announcement to the company.
Providing succinct snapshots (like the slide below) can help your new hire feel more comfortable in their new position. This slide doesn’t need paragraphs describing each team member’s work, experience, or even their last name. It covers three things: first name, face, and function. All three will prove to be tremendously helpful when your new hire first meets the team in person. This information will also alleviate some of the anxiety about understanding the dynamics of their new team.
First day, first week, first six months
Every new hire expects to go through an HR orientation when they first arrive. Will the HR orientation take 90 minutes or a full nine hours? How much information will be covered? What questions will I need to ask? These are all unknowns new hires may have concerns about. Introductions, new hire paperwork, opening lines of communication, learning about different teams, clarifying the new role and expectations of performance are all unknown to a new hire when they first walk through the door.
Start with sending this Welcome Packet a week or so before the new employees' start date. It streamlines all necessary information and provides answers to the most important questions. Sending it in advance will give the new hire as an opportunity to digest the information well before he or she is thrown into battle. This “arrow bar” slide is a great way to provide a visual of important topics to be covered and what the progression of “to do” items will look like:
The first day is an integral part of the onboarding process. This is when you’re making sure that everything gets off to a great start. Providing a detailed look at the agenda will keep both you and your new hire on track and help ease the stresses of day one for both you (HR) and the employee.
Beautiful.ai’s “agenda” slide is specifically designed to convey a list of itemized events. It works great for providing an overview of your new hire’s first day. You can add additional information to each of the items, such as: who the meetings will be with and where they will be held. However, since the presentation goes into further detail about these meetings later on, you can feel free avoid the nitty gritty stuff for now!
The six months milestones
Onboarding is about the employee experience and setting them up to succeed. It doesn’t stop after the first day. In most cases, it takes someone a year to fully get up and running in all aspects of their role and function. This is why it’s so important to have a plan that extends at least six months. Once you have this plan, a best practice is to let your new hire know what’s coming down the pipeline - not just on their first day, but the next week and the next six months.
Here, again, there’s no need to get lost in the jungle of information. Instead, opt for an alternative that effectively covers the most important milestones. The objective here is just that: giving a heads-up and an overview of the important milestones coming up over Week 1 and the first six months. (You can leave the details for calendar invites and meeting agendas).
For this purpose, nothing summarizes a sequence of milestones like beautifully rendered timelines, like the ones below. While this example concludes the onboarding at Month 6, it is to be expected that this timeline would be different for each company. Editing the start and end points, as well as adding milestones, is as easy as clicking a button.
Once the onboarding is complete, it doesn’t hurt to check for understanding, measure the results, analyze the gaps, and incorporate feedback and improvements in your next Welcome Package. After all, edits to these Beautiful slides are incredibly easy to make!