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Turning New Hires into Engaged Employees

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Hiring managers put a lot into finding the right people. From going through hundreds of resumes to spending hours upon hours interviewing candidates, drilling down to the best applicant is far from easy. So why do so many managers drop the ball once they've made the hire? Too often, new hires are left floundering to find their own way around the company, their department, or even their job. More often than not, this results in dampening the fledgling employees' enthusiasm. When this happens, managers face the challenge of new hires who are disengaged, or worse, ready to be shown the door.

Designing an Effective Employee Orientation Program
A carefully thought out employee orientation program - or lack of one - can make or break the success of your new hire as an investment, and more importantly, as a new member of your team. The good news is, creating an effective orientation program - is a lot simpler and easier than many think, and the essential components are really just empathy and common sense. While there are many resources on the Web on how to design an effective program, the best answers are actually right there: simply ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  • What things do new hires need to know about our work environment that would make them more comfortable?
  • What key policies and procedures should new hires be aware of on day one so that they can avoid mistakes and feel confident by day two?
  • What tools and resources (work area, computer, supplies) can we provide to ensure that the new hires feel comfortable, welcome and secure?
  • What positive experience can we provide to make the new hires feel valued by the team and the company?

Making a Positive First Impression
Day one on the job should be as positive and exciting as possible for new hires. One of the best and nicest things a manager can do for them is to dispel the tension or fear that some new hires can understandably feel when entering uncharted territories. Since first impressions are crucial, here are some tips for putting you and your team's best feet forward.

  • Make sure the new hire's work area is ready for the first day of work.

  • Take care of the basics: New hires become productive sooner if they feel they are equipped with the basic knowledge they need to understand their job. Without overwhelming them with too much information, make sure they are clear on the whys, whens, wheres, and hows of their new position before giving them assignments or big projects.
  • Walk them through your company's intranet or provide them with samples about how to complete forms and the person's job description with the orientation packet.
  • Assign a mentor, or buddy who can show the new person around, make introductions.
  • Make sure key co-workers know the employee is starting and encourage them to visit with the new hire to say "hello" and introduce themselves.

Remember, the sooner new hires feel comfortable, the sooner they can deliver on the promise they exhibited during their interviews. And, the sooner they can contribute to your team's productivity and success.

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