When new employees start, it can be both an exciting and anxiety-filled time for everyone at the workplace, from existing employees to managers and, most especially, to the new hires themselves. You want to educate your starters with important information about the organization and their role.
But it’s also important to make them feel comfortable and confident, and to begin to fulfill the promises you’ve set out in your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
What you do and the tone you set during the first few weeks of a new employee’s experience will shape how engaged they are with your company for years to come. Countless sayings and quotes point out the need to make strong first impressions and start new relationships off on the right foot. But one really stands out:
Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make it a lasting one, too.
- Sonya Parker
The time when you’re making this critical first impression is known by many names: induction, onboarding, new hire orientation. Whatever you call it, it’s important to get it right and align it with your EVP.
Here are four ways to do that:
Make it values-driven.
Your core values are an integral part of every employee’s experience and set the tone for how employees engage with the organization. They make up part of your EVP, along with your brand, corporate culture, the innovative employee benefits and perks you provide, and many other aspects (including some of our office decorations, like these Legos!). So why not organize induction around your values?
In a previous blog post, our Group HR Director Robert Hicks wrote, “the more understanding your hires have of your culture and values, the more likely they’ll live them from Day One.” At Reward Gateway, we introduce our values to new hires by spotlighting a new value each day of the induction period. We do this in our internal communications system called boom! with a deep dive into the values and examples of how it plays out in our workplace.
Make it collaborative.
If part of your EVP is to create an environment in which employees speak up, engage with one another and pursue innovative ideas, then you need to foster a collaborative environment. You can lay the groundwork for that by making induction a group activity.
The best way to encourage collaboration during the induction period is to put new hires in teams or group them in pairs. They’ll share their experience with someone going through the same thing they are, and feel like part of a group right away. At Reward Gateway, we like to match new hires from different departments or locations so that they form lasting relationships with colleagues outside of their team and immediate job area.
Make it interactive.
Like all of your other training programs, induction should encourage interaction. Invite new hires to ask questions and start discussions during induction and they’ll become more accustomed to doing so during their employment. Another tip: Make sure you’re involving presenters from all different departments, and give them the opportunity to practice their presentations so you can refine and help them deliver the best information to your starters.
If big presentations are too formal, or too difficult to arrange, lunches and social events during induction are a great way to foster interaction between new hires and your existing workforce. Participants can widen their contacts and get to know one another’s personalities outside the work environment.
Make it fun.
Induction likely involves documents, presentations, org charts and other important materials to introduce new hires to the organization. But it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. If the EVP you pitch to prospective candidates is a workplace that employees will enjoy coming into every day, you need to make induction just as enjoyable.
Mix creative tools and items into the materials you present at induction, and use this opportunity to present your brand to new starters in a memorable, impactful way. Introducing things like your brand colors, tone of voice and your overall “look” will help employees communicate your brand and represent the organization in the days ahead. You could use jigsaw puzzles, cards, samples of your products to reinforce your EVP and help participants absorb the content they’re learning. Make those social events something that new hires will be delighted to find at work, such as ice skating or bowling nights.
Just like when you’re creating your EVP, your induction materials and content will be unique to your company, because you’re focusing on what makes you, as an organization, stand out. What creative ideas do you have that have inspired a better induction? I’d love to hear about it!