Tips to Engage Your New Employees

Employee engagement begins during the process of hiring and acclimating a new employee in your company. As you develop your onboarding program for employee engagement, it helps to consider things from a new hire's point of view. You can assume that most new employees will have several questions. Some questions will pertain to their first day at work:

  • Where and what time should I report?

  • What should I wear?

  • Whom should I ask for?

  • Where should I park?

To aid in onboarding, these questions should be addressed in the employee's offer letter, but it never hurts to reiterate them in a phone call with the new hire prior to his start date.

Then there are the questions about matters that affect the new employee personally:

  • What are my work hours?

  • Do I need to report to work at a specific time?

  • Will I be expected to work overtime, evenings, or weekends?

  • Will I need to travel? If so, how often?

  • How flexible are my work hours if I need to take time off to attend a child's school event or handle some other personal issue?

Addressing these questions early — either before the employee starts or early in her tenure — in an open, honest manner will help your employee to feel at ease and move on to more critical areas.

Consider assigning a buddy to your new hire to help answer some of these more basic questions.

Other questions new hires may have include the following:

  • Who will I be working with?

  • Who do I need to get to know in my department and in other departments?

  • How will my work be evaluated?

  • How does my work relate to the goals of the department and the goals of the organization?

  • What channels exist to share ideas, suggestions, or concerns?

  • How do people prefer to communicate within the organization (face-to-face, e-mail, phone, texting)?

  • Do I get a laptop? A smartphone? Internet access? (Don't laugh. Incredibly, many companies still restrict Internet access.)

Not all these questions need to be answered before the employee joins, but helping the new employee to feel like he's an important part of your department (and ultimately the organization) is a key step in helping him feel at home, which is important with respect to engagement.

Finally, new employees may have questions about the organization itself:

  • What are the firm's mission, vision, and values? How does my department fit into these?

  • What is the culture like?

  • Do we have a strategic plan? What does it entail?

Depending upon the new hire's role, some of this information may be less relevant. However, the firm's mission, vision, and values should be discussed as part of the new hire's orientation, if not before.

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