A new starter’s first few days and weeks with an organisation set the tone for their future there. How can we make it informative, memorable and engaging enough to stick in the mind and at the same time, remind them that they are working for a great employer? The ideas below apply to all sizes of organisation, though obviously the larger your intake (and budget!), the more you can go to town!
Step 1. The joining experience
There are all the official things to do like get the contract and job description out to them, provide the with pre-start information including when and where to go on day one. It’s probably best and most efficiently done by e-mail, though mobile applications can be useful here and I always think it nice to use the good old postal service to send a congratulations card at this point!
Step 2. First day
Plan it carefully and try to make it special with a personalised gift, a nice lunch, a welcome card and structured time with different colleagues. Have sessions where they learn aspects of their role and then have a go at them with support.
Step 3. Organisational induction
It is important to really help the new starter to understand the company culture, values, history and vision or key objectives. Ideally this can be done with small groups of new starters and definitely face-to-face. You can then provide an interactive and engaging team experience including games, exercises, presentation, quizzes, scavenger hunts, image-based exercises and assessment. For example, groups could create a picture collage to reflect the organisation’s values and then explain what sort of behaviours and examples they would expect to see if people are upholding those values. Experiential exercises can be used to remind them about values and behaviours; for example, they can give each other feedback according to the organisation’s behavioural framework. Another example is setting up a scavenger hunt where people have to bring back certain objects or take photos of certain things to help them learn their way around the building.
4. The legal stuff
There are lots of boring necessities to cover with new starters such as health and safety, loos, locations of fire exits, organisational policies. Some of this can be covered in a fun way as part of the organisational induction as Step 4. This area is also a great area to use technology especially if you are able to go the level of having virtual tours integrating mobile learning applications and potentially bring in gamification so that people gain badges for completing certain parts of the induction and can potentially compare scores with others. It’s also worth thinking about other digital learning formats, quizzes, assessments, slide decks, e-books, video etc. and having a phased content release so that people are not over faced with stuff to do!
5. Functional induction
In the last section I mentioned technology and this definitely comes with a health warning in that face-to-face learning is proven to be far more effective in terms of retention so that needs to be maximised. In learning about the actual function and role they will be working in, news starters benefit from lots of face-to-face contact with their line managers and other real people (stakeholders, customers, colleagues etc). The new starters will need a good clear introduction to their role, department, key contacts and stakeholders as well as a detailed one-to-one involving setting expectations, personal performance objectives and longer term career aspirations too.
6. After the first week
Involve the new starters in group activities wherever possible such as group lunches, outings, and away days etc. to help them get comfortable with their new organisation from a social and involvement point of view. Use milestones such as 30,60 and 90 days on the job to check progress against the initial objectives as well as finding out their suggestions for operational improvements. It is so important to remember that you can learn as much from them as they can from you!
If you need further advice or support in engaging new starts, do get in touch!