The results are in. We asked you to tell us how you welcome new starters to ensure they have an amazing first day at your company and boy did you tell us. The team had a lot of fun reading through the submissions and picked up some great ideas. Of all the entries however, our five winners really stood out.
Onboarding processes can be overwhelming and lead to information overload. It’s therefore up to a company to ensure their new starters feel properly welcomed, are comfortable in their new surroundings and understand where they fit in the larger scheme of things. Most importantly, new starters should have fun during their first few weeks of work and feel invigorated by what’s to come. We felt our winners really hit the nail on the head when it came to onboarding and are excited to share their responses with you all.
All the winning responses mentioned key practices: easy onboarding, ensuring technology was set up prior to a new starters arrival (there’s nothing worse than spending half of your first day waiting to log in to a computer) and ensuring the new starter was well acquainted with the workings of the company either through meetings, one-on-one presentations or e-books. We recently discussed processes like this and more in our webinar: How To Create An Awesome First Day.
Congratulations to the following HR superstars, you’ve won a $100 voucher from JB HIFI and the satisfaction of knowing your companies are killing it when it comes to creating an awesome first day. Here are the winning responses listed in no particular order.
1. Paperless onboarding and balloons
Shelly from Consolid8 and Acceler8 ensures new starters complete onboarding online before their first day and welcomes them with balloons and a fully set up desk space when they arrive.
“We have new starters complete most of their onboarding via Employment Hero prior to their first day to allow them to hit the ground running instead of sitting around filling in forms. They are welcomed with a bunch of helium balloons on their desk, a “Welcome to our Team” screen saver and a PC all set up with logins, email signatures and software installed. They also have a drawer stocked with stationery and a calendar full of bookings to meet with each manager in our organisation over their first couple of days to get a good feel for what we do! What an amazing start to a new career and a way to make new team members feel straight at home.”
We love that Shelly and her team make it a priority to get paperwork out of the way before a new employee starts (we also love that they use Employment Hero to do it). We also think that welcoming employees with helium balloons and a custom screensaver show an employee how excited their company is to have them on board and generally displays great attention to detail.
2. Starting on a Thursday
Lily from Peoplogica has new employees start on a Thursday. The shorter working week allows new starters to digest new information over the weekend and has them raring to go the following Monday.
“We start new employees on a Thursday it gives them 2 days to learn a vast amount about the role and then the weekend to digest all the information. We let the receptionist know there will be a new employee starting and fast track them to their desk and manager. We make a copy of the employee handbook available and ensure their first week is planned out and all meetings are set up in their calendar. We also assign one of our existing staff to assist the new employee for their first 2 weeks, giving them a point of contact with any questions or issues they may have in regard to their job. After the first 2 weeks we arrange lunch for the whole team to officially welcome the new member”.
Starting work on a Thursday is an interesting approach with sound logic. New starters can be overloaded with information and so scheduling their first day closer to the weekend takes a lot of stress out of the equation. We also think it’s great Lily and her team assign a team member to help new employees settle in. It can be a lot easier asking a peer, and not a manager, for advice.
To read more about Peoplogica’s onboarding see their helpful Hiring Manager Guide.
3. One-on-one meetings
Karen from AR Developments schedules one on one meetings with new employees and representatives of each team within the company. This helps them meet new people, understand how the company works and feel instantly embedded in the company culture.
“ Our onboarding process is an initiative developed from the need for a new employee to feel welcomed,engaged and set up to succeed in our company. We schedule 10 mins with a representative from each team to sit down with them one on one and provide a short welcome presentation on what they do and where they fit into the new employees position. Most of our team members want to be able to do the presentations as this provides comfort for a new employee. It lets them know we are all here together to make our company a great place to work.
We find the employees feel relaxed, informed and embedded in the company culture from this key introduction to their new balanced working environment. We want to provide a clear message to employees that we wish to enable them to better manage people, learn and develop, and steer their own careers. We want our employees to feel happy to come back to work day after day after day.”
As mentioned, one on one meetings with a representative of each team is a great way to help a new starter understand how they fit into the larger structure of an organisation. It is much more interactive than a organisational chart. Understanding context is so important and helps new employees settle in much faster.
4. Sharing a super folder and prioritising wellness initiatives
Ros from Nudgee College shares a Google folder with new starters that provides a comprehensive introduction to their company including photos and introductions to staff. This can be a really helpful reference point for new starters who cannot possibly remember the names of everyone they meet on their first day.
“A Human Resources Google folder is shared with new starters. It includes everything a new starter could want to know about the College. From photos of who is who in the zoo to staff ebooks to information on how to get around-it covers a lot!
Our wellbeing program is well established and offers many workplace incentives, discounts and rewards. We know starting in a new workplace can be stressful so we strive to make sure newbies are comfortable in their department and are reassured there’s never a dumb question asked! The HR office strives to make sure the onboarding experience is as stress free as possible and we try to ensure employment paperwork is completed prior to the first day – we know just how overwhelming and time consuming those forms can be. We often have new staff letting us know just what an awesome first day they’ve had.”
A shared folder for constant reference is a genius idea as is having an established wellness program that new starters are introduced to on their first day. Workplace wellness is a topic that is more important than ever. People who are happier and healthier at work are more productive, tend to stay at a company longer and contribute to an amazing company culture. Wellness and benefits are considerations we are seeing candidates prioritise more and more, it’s a key aspect of work life all companies should be considering.
5. Providing coffee and champagne
Bonita from Human Outsource does a lot more than welcome new starters with coffee and champagne but we couldn’t help but highlight this point. Welcoming new employees with a delicious beverage is always a nice touch and it adds a more relaxed vibe to onboarding.
“New starters start at 9am, I start earlier than this and so this gives me time to deal with any urgent queries the morning might bring, allowing me to give my full attention to the new starter when they arrive. Their desk is already set up with a new laptop, a mobile phone that is ready to use and stationary.
We kick off the day with a coffee meeting to welcome the new starter and chat about the company. We explain where we are as a company so that there is context for the employee in their new role. Importantly this initial chat will provide many opportunities for the employee to ask questions and feel comfortable.
Our business is small so getting to know how each us operates and how best to work together is the key to success. Listening to the new employee and building trust from the start will go far in keeping an employee engaged. We ensure we do not overload the new starter with information but do provide some key learning opportunities to ease them into the groove. We celebrate with a glass of champagne at the end of the first week”.
Kicking off a first day with a coffee meeting is a great way to make a new starter feel welcome. As Bonita mentions, it also creates the perfect opportunity for a new starter to comfortably ask any questions they may have. Celebrating the end of a new starters first week is also a wonderful way to let a new employee know they are valued. It also gives us a new way to look at things. Champagne-like celebrations need not be relegated to the end of an employee’s tenure but can and should be applied to the beginning as well!