Experienced Hires

Lesson 2: Topic 9 of 21

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Keep the process flexible, too. Rather than making everyone follow a rigid checklist, take into consideration the new talent’s years of experience, the complexity of their assignment, and other variables. People who are ready to ‘hit the ground running’ may become bored and frustrated at having to be trained on things they already understand and are competent to do.  

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Borrowing a term from the airline industry, some companies have implemented a “preboarding” process whereby they begin orientation in the window between the job offer and start date. This is usually done by email, possibly phone calls, to bring the talent up to speed on mission, vision, and values, or critical policies, clarifying expectations, and so on. It can also be an opportunity to have the new hire sign necessary paperwork rather than waste several hours of their first day or two signing in the HR office. And since you’d be asking people to do that “off the clock,” a few companies will also send gift baskets or other kinds of welcome packages. If you don’t have the budget for that, a note card and some swag with the company logo is an inexpensive way to start off the new relationship on a warm footing. 

Think through the resources the new employees will need and put in place prior to their arrival. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen people who need computer access frustrated because they’ve been made to wait days after they start before they’re given login and password access. Or the new hires whose voicemail messages, weeks after they started, are still in the name (and sometimes the voice) of the previous person to hold that position. These aren’t just petty annoyances, they’re sending the message, “We’re too busy here to keep track of things.” What else would be needed? Office supplies? Uniforms? Name tags? Get them, if you can, before day one. 

Other things to do can be to:

  • Get them to see the big picture: not just what tasks they’re to do but why they need doing. 
  • Assign a mentor coworker, and make certain it’s someone with experience who “buys in” to the company vision.
  • Introduce new hires to department heads and other leaders.
  • Touch base daily with new team members.
  • Find ways to integrate work-from-home staff into the larger team who are onsite all the time, or risk them being alienated or detached from their colleagues. 
  • Recognize employees’ contributions publicly and frequently.

Do not underestimate that last point. According to a March 2022 survey, when asked when or how often their boss “truly appreciates” them, 59% of employees responded, “never.” Just over half said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation for their work, and close to a third reported they’d willingly give up a week’s worth of pay for more recognition from their employer. Appreciation, clearly, is a game changer.