How to Prepare for a New Employee’s Arrival

You can take several steps to prepare for a new employee's arrival, and thus prepare for an engaged employee from the start. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to onboarding new employees.

The day before a new employee starts

You don't need to wait for the employee's start date to begin the onboarding process. In fact, you shouldn't. Here are just a few things you can do to help engage new hires:

  • Send a “Welcome to the Company” e-mail. This e-mail should include contact information for all key people and other important information, such as links to benefits information, company policies, and more.

  • Have a key executive — maybe even the CEO, if it's a smaller company — give the new hire a call to welcome her to the firm.

  • Send a company coffee mug, sweatshirt, or other branded welcome gift. Apple sends all new employees a welcome box stuffed with swag and an inspiring note. (If you think this sounds like orientation for college freshmen, you get the picture.)

  • Direct new hires to your company's Yammer, Facebook, or LinkedIn page for new hires, where new hires can post their experiences, “meet” other new hires, and share survival tips. If you don't already have such a page, create one!

  • Send the new hire any paperwork you need him to fill out — tax forms, the company code of conduct, and so on. Completing this paperwork in advance is less painful than doing it during his first day or week on the job.

  • Tell the new hire what day and time she should arrive for her first day at work and who to ask for.

The day a new employee starts

It's the big day! Your new hire is thrilled to be here and is primed and ready to work. Your mission is to ensure she stays that way. At the day's end, your new hire should feel energized, excited, hopeful, and positive.

As with most critical missions, you need a plan. Smart organizations have a checklist prepared in advance to ensure that all the steps of the plan are followed. Otherwise, you may leave your new hire with the impression that you're part of a slipshod organization.

Make it a point to put together a day-one agenda or schedule. In addition to the various onboarding activities, this agenda should include who's taking the new hire to lunch. Be sure everyone who has a role in the new hire's first day is aware of it.

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