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Build Your Career Office Life

Welcome Aboard! How to Get New Hires Off to a Good Start

Welcome Aboard! How to Get New Hires Off to a Good Start
Credit: Vinnstock/Shutterstock

If you want your new employees to start off on the right foot, it's up to you to set them up to succeed, human resources experts say.

Although the vast majority of employers think they do an effective job of welcoming new employees, most workers say they often get off to a rough start when beginning a new job, according to a new study from the staffing firm OfficeTeam.

Overall, 54 percent of the workers surveyed said they have experienced at least one mishap when starting a new job. Specifically, one-third of those new employees said their computer, phone or security access wasn't properly set up when they arrived, while 22 percent said necessary supplies weren't provided at the outset. In addition, 16 percent didn't receive an overview of the company and its policies, 15 percent weren't introduced to co-workers and 14 percent didn't get a tour of the office.

"Many companies focus so much on information sharing during an onboarding process that they may overlook basic practical needs, such as making sure that a workstation is up and running for the employee," Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said in a statement. "Every touch point during those first days adds to the new staff member's perception of the organization, so the more you can do to ensure everything runs smoothly, the more positive that impression will be." [Starting Strong: How to Successfully Onboard a New Hire ]

OfficeTeam offered several suggestions for helping employees get off to a good start:

  • Provide the right tools. When new employees start, be sure to stock their desks with the supplies and equipment they'll need, such as pens, notebooks, a computer and a phone. In addition, make sure their network access, voicemail, email and building security are up and running.
  • Make proper introductions. Send out an email letting everyone in the office know not only that a new employee is starting, but a little bit about him or her. When the new worker arrives, take the time to do in-person introductions. In addition, consider scheduling a first-day lunch, so the new hire can get to know his or her colleagues a little better. You can also try assigning the employee a mentor to help ease the transition.
  • Go over the basics. On the first day, schedule some orientation time to review the employee handbook, explain the company history, give a tour of the office and complete any required human resources paperwork.
  • Discuss the job. Set expectations from the beginning by talking about the position's goals and responsibilities. To help ensure the new employee can get up to speed quickly, schedule training sessions on the office equipment, software and procedures necessary for the role.
  • Don't rush the process. Setting new employees up for success isn't just a one-day process. It can often take a few months to fully onboard a new employee. Over the first few weeks and months, check in with new employees regularly, to see if they need anything or if they have any questions, and to provide some added encouragement.

The study was based on surveys of more than 300 U.S. workers employed in office environments, and more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with at least 20 employees.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.