Onboarding is not a one-day or one-week process.
It takes time for a new employee to become comfortable on a new job. And even longer for them to fit into your company’s culture.
The first six months are critical. Given the time and expense of hiring and recruiting, there’s simply too much at stake to throw a new employee into the pool to see if he or she will sink or swim.
This onboarding timeline can help increase your chances of success.
An Onboarding Timeline
Here’s a quick overview with a progressive timeline of an ideal onboarding process:
- New employee spends time with HR to complete the process to get on the payroll (he or she should have been told to bring a blank check to be voided to set up direct deposit)
- Is told what the pay frequency is (amazing that many companies forget this!)
- Gets copies of company policies, signs for receipt if needed, and company directory
- Gets building access keys or cards, gets briefed on security/phone systems
- Is assigned a greeter buddy who takes new employee around the workplace and makes introductions, shows locations of bathrooms, lunch room, lockers if any, etc.
- Some companies organize a welcome lunch with a small group of employees
- Is shown a key part of the job the new employee will be doing
- Direct supervisor has one-on-one sit-down with new employee to check how things are going.
- Any needs? What’s going well? What’s not going so well? How can anyone help?
- Time to introduce new employee to mentor/buddy.
- More senior employees are often asked to start producing weekly written reports (first impressions are often valuable and may lead to changes in procedures; it takes a fresh pair of eyes to question why things are done a certain way).
- Direct supervisor conducts interim one-month performance evaluation.
- Outlines strengths shown initially and prioritizes next steps, points out where help is available for any problem areas.
- Supervisor checks in with new employee’s mentor to see if any issues have arisen through the mentoring channel that need to be addressed for successful completion of onboarding.
- Does new employee appear to be happy to have chosen new job?
- Does new employee feel challenged enough?
- If all’s going well, new employee is told about – and invited to participate in – extracurricular activities like company-sponsored volunteer initiatives, company sports teams, bridge clubs, etc.
- Participation in extracurricular activities increase sense of belonging and job satisfaction.
- If all is still going well, new employee is introduced to concept of “job enlargement.”
- Everyone in the department takes on some additional task, an administrative task for the department, a cross-training assignment, or other additional duty.
- People who put more of themselves into a job believe they get more out if it, too.
- Interim six-month performance evaluation listing achievements and next steps to be reached at one-year mark.