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5 Ways to Onboard New Hires to Your Workplace’s Culture

Being the new kid on the block, or the new hire in the office isn’t easy. Put yourself in their shoes and understand the anxiety of entering a new place where everyone knows one another and has a shared bond. Simple tasks, such as finding the restroom or the coffee maker, can become a source of discomfort. RisePath brings you 5 ways to onboard new hires to your workplace’s culture.

As HR experts, we are responsible for onboarding new employees so that they may grow into their roles within the company. We inform them about their job title, the people they’ll be working with, what we expect of them, and what they may expect from us. However, we often overlook how we intend to incorporate the new worker into our company’s social fabric and culture throughout the onboarding process.

According to RisePath, an effective onboarding experience has four elements: self-confidence, role clarity, social integration, and cultural knowledge. These four factors, when combined, result in ‘cultural’ onboarding that is 69 percent more likely to keep employees for three years or longer.

Today, we’ll focus on two aspects in particular that are frequently overlooked: social integration and cultural understanding. We’ll discuss why HR professionals should never assume new recruits will figure it out on their own—and why they should collaborate with managers to begin developing an effective onboarding strategy.

Onboard New Hires

Here are five recommended practices for onboarding that you can use right now to improve your experience.

1. Begin onboarding prior to the start date.

Start the onboarding process before your new workers even walk into the office to give them a flavour of your culture and alleviate their first-day-of-work nervousness.

First, figure out how to ingeniously include your own voice in the interview process, particularly in the job offer letter. Consider what would otherwise be a mundane letter as an opportunity to further promote your company’s culture. Customize it to feel genuine, using language that reflects your company’s beliefs and provides new employees with a taste of what’s to come.

Second, give them time to do paperwork ahead of time so they don’t have to worry about you gazing at them as they sign their I-9 form and forget their Social Security number. It’s less inconvenient for them and more productive for you.

The third step in the preparation process is to alleviate some of their worries by responding to any questions they may have, such as:

  • Is there a team lunch on the first day, or should I bring my own?
  • When should I expect to arrive at the office?
  • How can I find a parking spot?
  • Is the office on the first or second floor?
  • When I arrive, who should I approach?
  • What are the locations of the restrooms?
  • What am I going to do on the first day?
  • Is it necessary for me to bring my computer?
  • So, what should I put on?
  • Is there coffee in the office?
  • So, where am I going to sit?
  • If I have any questions, who should I contact?
  • Which door should I enter?

It’s tempting to think that new employees will figure out the answers on their own, but you want them to feel welcomed and confident on their first day, not socially weary, befuddled, or ashamed. Make it easy for them by removing the logistical questions they’re likely to have but are afraid to ask.

2. Ingeniously introduce new employees to the company.

It’s exciting and a little odd to add someone to your team, especially when you’re thinking about how to incorporate business culture into their experience. Consider asking a few interesting questions about who they are outside of the office prior to their start date to relieve tensions and break the ice. Then, with your new teammate’s permission, share the results on their first day with the firm, department, or team.

This works for a variety of reasons. For starters, it assists your staff in initiating interactions with the newcomer to the office. It also allows new workers to share their passions and interests in a social setting without feeling like they’re talking about themselves.

Another technique to help a new employee feel more at ease is to appoint someone to show them around the workplace and introduce them to people. A guided tour and some introductions to folks in different departments aren’t innovative, but they can help make unexpected break room encounters a lot less unpleasant.

3. Give the experience a name.

While most organisations communicate their key values and culture with new hires on their first day, few regard the entire onboarding process as part of their employer’s brand. It’s all about consistency when it comes to branding, and merely stating that you have values without following up is pointless. Incorporating your employer branding into everything from welcome letters to business merchandise may also assist new workers in better understanding the tone and voice of the culture, allowing them to connect more quickly.

Consider how you may make an onboarding package or a few welcome gifts resemble your brand. We recognise that not everyone can have a cool work environment, but even a few inside jokes in a welcome letter can assist new employees get a sense of the official language, humour, and culture. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; all it needs to be is thoughtful.

4. Distribute onboarding duties across the team.

It’s a prevalent misperception that simply attending orientation means an employee has been successfully onboarded. So, let’s get this straight.

Orientation provides all new workers with important information, such as corporate regulations, benefit options, and a tour of the office. It’s usually a one-time event that lasts anything from a few hours to a full day, during which new employees learn important information about your organisation.

On the other hand, onboarding begins when a job offer is issued and concludes when the new hire is determined to be a fully functional employee. Onboarding could take weeks or even months when everything is said and done. Onboarding isn’t a single event; it’s a set of actions that lead to a specific end, one of which is employee orientation.

Because onboarding is a series of activities, it’s critical that they’re properly spaced out and that some of them are targeted toward integrating new workers into your company’s social and cultural fabric. Consider creating a checklist for new workers that includes items such as “taking someone out to lunch on the company’s cost” one week and “arrange a time to chat with a neighbour” the next. You can also incorporate your core values into this process by assigning specific activities linked with learning your company’s beliefs.

The crucial thing to remember is that ramping someone up takes time. Do not assume that just because you spent a few days or a week on orientation and introductions, a new hire is fully integrated and operational. People take longer to adjust to a new working environment, in reality, therefore offering support along the way should be part of your ‘cultural’ onboarding process.

5. Allow new employees to ask questions.

Giving new workers permission, and even encouraging them to ask questions, is the final recommendation for helping them participate in your company’s culture. It’s one thing to lead someone in the direction of someone who can help them; it’s quite another to give them a devoted mentor who can answer issues before they arise. Although this may appear to be a bit stiff for some firms, what is important is the premise behind the concept.

You need to show your new hires that asking questions is encouraged in your corporate culture, whether that’s through a formal mentorship system or regular check-ins to see how they’re adjusting. If new hires feel comfortable asking questions in your company, they will find it much easier to get up to speed and integrate with their teams.

Don’t expect them to find it out on their own. Instead, assist them in becoming more engaged.

There are several onboarding strategies and tricks, but when it comes to the social component of a company, both HR and new hires become uneasy. To alleviate this unease, create your onboarding process to reflect your company’s culture and identity, and give new workers permission to reach out to others. After all, the more at ease your new workers are, the more likely they are to stick with you and contribute vital new ideas.

Christine Lee

Christine is a former HR manager from Fortune 500 tech companies and has managed hiring, compensation and benefits, and payroll responsibilities for multiple companies.

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