It’s time someone finally said it: HR is tough. We may not be the ones building the product or out there closing deals, but we are the holders of culture, and that's just scratching the surface. HR Business Partners (HRBPs) are integral to the process of building sound internal infrastructure, achieving a balance between regulatory compliance and employee experience.
A lot of our work in this realm entails creating a shared understanding of the key cultural and procedural pieces we’ve put into place. And this is where things fall apart. So, what’s the solution? Tailored communication.
One of the most complex, but necessary, topics in HR is New Hire Onboarding. The onboarding process begins with a first-day orientation, which is considered a key facet of new hire onboarding. However, many new hires will be overwhelmed on their first day - especially if they’re thrown into sessions covering long lists of tasks, compliance items, and overviews about technical aspects of employment. It’s likely that they won’t understand or remember most of the information from orientation, especially if there isn’t follow up.
This is why first-day orientation, while important, isn’t onboarding. Onboarding is actually a larger process that ramps up before the start date and continues through a good part of the first year, making the new addition of new employees seamless, efficient and effective.
1. Start Before the Start
Think back to when you were hired at your current job. When did you sign your offer letter? When did you start? Was there radio silence between those dates? Was there an email from HR? What did this email say? Chances are you got a reminder that you need to bring valid identification as well as signed copies of employment documentation such as an offer letter, employee handbook acknowledgment, I9, and a W4.
Onboarding documents, such as a Welcome Packet, are sent as part of the series of communication before your employee’s start date. These documents provide an overview and help set expectations. They also give your new hire ample time to digest the information and arrive on their first day prepared to learn more.
Putting together a standardized new hire onboarding communication campaign takes the work and the effort out of creating this experience for each new hire. This will also help you build a consistently reinforced employer brand with each new employee.
While some things in this communication campaign can be conveyed via bullet points in an email, others need to be more thoroughly and (paradoxically) simply communicated. The Welcome Packet I’ve created with Beautiful.AI does just that.
2. Be Transparent & Give a Heads Up
If you started a new job, would you want the company to send you a basic list of what to bring for your first day? We didn’t think so. Instead of making them wish they’d pressed Snooze that morning, give your new hire a sense of transparency with the materials in their Welcome Packet. Include some insider information to get them excited about joining the team and to remove any ambiguity.
Providing succinct snapshots (like the slide below) can help your new hire feel more comfortable in their new position. This slide doesn’t need paragraphs describing each team member’s work, experience, or even their last name. It covers three things: first name, face, and function. All three will prove to be tremendously helpful when your new hire first meets the team in person. This information will also alleviate some of the anxiety about understanding the dynamics of their new team.
3. First Day, First Week, First Six Months
Every new hire expects to go through an HR orientation when they first arrive. Will the HR orientation take 90 minutes or a full nine hours? How much information will be covered? What questions will I need to ask? These are all unknowns new hires may have concerns about. Introductions, opening lines of communication, learning about different teams, clarifying the role and expectations of performance are all unknown to a new hire when they first walk through the door.
Covering this information efficiently in your Welcome Packet will provide answers and the opportunity to digest the information well before your new hire is thrown in the whirlwind of it all. This “arrow bar” slide is a great way to provide a visual of important topics to be covered and what the progression of “to do” items will look like:
The first day is an integral part of the onboarding process. This is when you’re making sure that everything gets off to a great start. Providing a detailed look at the agenda will keep both you and your new hire on track and help accomplish some key items on day one.
Beautiful.AI’s “agenda” slide is specifically designed to convey a list of itemized events. It works great for providing an overview of your new hire’s first day. You can add additional information to each of the items, such as: who the meetings will be with and where they will be held. However, since the presentation goes into further detail about these meetings later on, you can feel free avoid the nitty gritty stuff for now!
4. The Six months milestones
Onboarding is about the employee experience and setting them up to succeed. It doesn’t stop after the first day. In most cases, it takes someone a year to fully get up and running in all aspects of their role and function. This is why it’s so important to have a plan that extends at least six months. Once you have this plan, a best practice is to let your new hire know what’s coming down the pipeline - not just on their first day, but the next week and the next six months.
Here, again, there’s no need to get lost in the jungle of information. Instead, opt for an alternative that effectively covers the most important milestones. The objective here is just that: giving a heads-up and an overview of the important milestones coming up over Week 1 and the first six months. (You can leave the details for calendar invites and meeting agendas).
For this purpose, nothing summarizes a sequence of milestones like beautifully rendered timelines, like the ones below. While this example concludes the onboarding at Month 6, it is to be expected that this timeline would be different for each company. Editing the start and end points, as well as adding milestones, is as easy as clicking a button.
Once the onboarding is complete, it doesn’t hurt to check for understanding, measure the results, analyze the gaps, and incorporate feedback and improvements in your next Welcome Package. After all, edits to these Beautiful slides are incredibly easy to make!