4 min read | 8 August, 2019 By Sarah Benstead
Hiring the right staff can be a bit of headache, but once you get the perfect people on board it can be all too easy to sit back, put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
But really, it’s just the beginning of your journey with your new employees, and if you want it to be a positive one you'll need to start out on the right foot.
And a fantastic employee induction is a great way to start.
If you remember, in the old days the employee induction process was often confined to a dreary meeting room and consisted of a few handouts and some monotonous, sleep-inducing speeches. Or, it might have involved a quick chat with the boss, a tour of the building and a pointing out of where their new desk and the toilets were. In short – not very inspiring.
But, the process of onboarding a new staff member is vital as it helps to get them up to speed with the job, the practicalities of working for you, as well as company culture, your values and practices.
Thankfully, things have moved on since then and you can be as creative as you like when it comes to welcoming new employees.
It’s not just about making them feel comfortable, it’s about fostering a positive relationship from the get go that will encourage loyalty, retention and productivity in the long term.
Everyone loves presents, so what better way to welcome someone who is a little nervous than to give them a gift? You can be as generous or creative as you like: you could go for branded pens and a nice notebook (who doesn't love a bit of stationery?), sweets or or even go as far as arranging monthly goodie-subscriptions for them.
For example, at Breathe we welcome every new member of staff with a 'swag bag': a lovely Breathe-branded bag with pens, notebooks, a t-shirt, stickers and a water bottle inside. It's proved to be a lovely surprise on a newbie's first day.
Is there something you do regularly with your staff like Beer Friday or Dress Down Thursday? Or maybe you and your team pop to the pub for a few after work on Fridays?
If so, it's a great idea to get your new team-member involved.
For example, the managers at Perkbox encourage their new team-member push the beer trolley around the office on a Friday, handing out drinks to other employees. They believe it’s a great way for the new staff member to get to know the rest of the team and strike up a conversation or two.
We know what you're thinking. Why on earth would you give an employee a holiday before they've even had their first day?
Bear with us on this one.
This technique has already been adopted by several tech companies and is a great way of gaining the loyalty of the new staff-member right from the start. These companies give their new staff-members a set amount of cash to go and have a few days away so they're able to start their new job refreshed and relaxed.
If you don’t have the budget to do this, you could consider starting them mid-week to give them some time off between leaving their old role and starting a new one. Or consider making their start time a couple of hours after everyone else so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Perhaps even a day at a spa or a relaxing massage before they knuckle down at their desk or take them somewhere nice for lunch on their first day.
Putting your new employee on the spot can seem a bit unfair, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At Karmarama, newbies have to stand up and say a funny story in front of the staff. It breaks the ice, guarantees a few laughs and gets conversations going.
At Google, new staff are called 'Nooglers' – as well as having hats with 'Noogle' on, they undergo intensive in-person training so senior managers and new staffers all have the same shared values. The process is very much about making them part of the team by ensuring the new-comers don’t go unnoticed.
Mentoring is a great way to get a newbie settled at your company and up to speed with your culture and ethos. It's also great for building strong inter-office relationships.
You can be creative as you like about how you assign your new staff to their mentors. At Netflix, they give new employees bingo-style cards which get stamped each time they go for coffee or lunch with other employees. Once the card is filled, they get a prize.
We've trialled the buddy system ourselves and have found it's a very effective way of getting our new team members settled quickly and happily.
Okay - so this one may sound a bit bonkers and totally counter-productive, but it can actually make huge financial sense to your business in the long term.
According to data from the Wynhurst Group, 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment but new employees who go through a structured induction programme are 58% more likely to be with the firm three years later.
It’s why Zappos offers all their new staff $4,000 to leave after their training period. It’s designed to weed out those who aren’t a good culture fit and traditionally less than 1% of employees take up the offer. Amazon decided this approach was so effective they’ve also adopted it, offering employees up to $5,000.