Is this the future of onboarding?

Is this the future of onboarding?

Is this the future of onboarding? If new hires are showing up for their first day of work unsure of who to ask for or where to sit, they’re likely starting off on the wrong foot.

Starting onboarding process weeks earlier – as soon as the staff member signs on with your company – can save time and prevent office drama, says Heather McManus, human resources manager at TeraGo Networks.

“There’s no worse feeling than coming to a company and [hearing] ‘oh, I didn’t know you were starting today, I guess we have to find somewhere for you to sit, do you need a computer?’,” McManus says.

At TeraGo, as soon as a new hire signs their offer letter, the company reaches out with a personal touch to “set the tone” about what to expect at work.

“We [provide] a ton of information before the employee even starts – things like what you can expect on your first day, and we send them information on where they’re sitting, what to bring, who they’re going to be reaching out to, when they get paid, all of those questions,” McManus says.

“We ask all managers to reach out to that new hire before they start, after they sign the offer letter, just to say ‘hey, how’s it going, just want to let you know we’re super excited for you to start’. No matter how senior the person is, they really appreciate that, because it is a big decision and a scary decision to switch jobs.”

TeraGo also sends new hires a handwritten welcome card, signed by their peers, as well as the company’s executive and HR teams.

“It’s such a little thing, but the feedback we get on those welcome cards is [that] it’s phenomenal, especially because it’s hand-written, and it’s just such a personal touch. That sets the tone for the relationship that they’re going to have with us, which is just that it’s very personal, it’s very customized.”

TeraGo’s onboarding strategy is part of the reason why the cloud services company was a finalist for the Beyond Boardrooms Award for Best Employee Engagement Strategy at the 2016 HR Awards.

McManus suggests other companies should keep close in touch with their new hires, and even check in on how they’re doing through the period of resignation from their old role.

“Stay in touch with them. Don’t just disappear,” she advises other HR professionals.

“Quite often, people sign an offer letter, and then they don’t hear anything for three weeks, and that’s a really scary time, so we want to stay close to that person and let them know and be with them through that process.”

Related links:
How to find out what your culture really is
How technology is changing the onboarding experience