Part 1 of this series covered what you can do while hiring to help ensure that the successful candidate is a good cultural fit, and relationships have already been started. Now that you have hired the perfect person, there are a number of things you can do before their first day. Some of these will seem obvious, but each will make a significant difference, and in my experience are often missed.
A welcome letter or email should provide all the information they will need for their first day, and probably what to expect in the first week. The aim of this letter is to inform them of all the things that may seem ‘obvious’. Things I have seen covered that I found useful are:
- Reading or prep for first day
- Any required documentation P45 / Passport
- Parking arrangements
- Contact Details
- Who and where will someone meet you
- What the dress code is
- Where you can get lunch
- Let them know there is an induction process
There is nothing more unsettling then turning up for your first day in a suit and everyone is in jeans and t-shirt, or worse you turn up in shorts and everyone is in suits. These small pieces of information will help reduce uncertainty and give the new starter a level of control.
I have seen a number of induction plans within the teams I have worked. Some of these are followed for a couple of days and then discarded, others are generic and not appropriate. Within the good ones, I have seen the following characteristics:
- Shared and worked on by both new starter and manager.
- Split into time boxes i.e. aim to complete these within your first day, week, then month.
- Contain information as well as actions. Things such as IT support details.
- Are tailored to the persons role.
An induction plan ensures that the correct things are covered and knowledge required is shared. It also gives the new starter something to fall back on during quiet times, for example catching up on required reading or signing up for accounts.
Time with the Experts
As part of your induction plan it is likely that you will have one to one sessions with people across the company. I have noticed on occasion these can be done by a more junior member of the team because the most senior is too busy. This may well be true, but investing in someone when they first join won’t only make them feel valued, but also ensure they have the correct understanding from the start.
I believe an induction should be with the most senior person, not the most junior.
Desk / Equipment
I am sure many of us have experienced turning up on our first day and either having no equipment, or seated away from the team. This is so fundamentally important, even if you have remote workers the chances are they will work in the office for a couple of weeks. This is the time they must sit with the team and build relationships.
Being unprepared on such a fundamental need will make the new starter feel under valued, and it will take time to repair that. If there really are difficulties acquiring equipment or space then always make an existing member of the team give up space or equipment for a new starter. It is likely easier for them to make other arrangements, and the affect on them will be minimal in comparison.