Expanding your team is an exciting but daunting prospect, and the idea of onboarding a whole new team all at once might leave you worried about the level of admin and organisation, but also how to provide your new employees with the best experience.
In this article, we take a look at how to successfully onboard a new team as your business expands.
The onboarding experience you provide to new employees is key to creating a happy, valuable team that’s going to be excited to work for your business. By setting up a clear, engaging, and thorough onboarding process your team is going to be motivated and ready to jump into work.
You need to outline everything from how your business works, internal operations and communications, to exactly what their job entails, expectations and how it fits in with the rest of the team.
Covering all the important aspects will help your new team feel confident more quickly, and stop them from worrying about what they’re supposed to be doing or how to set things up, so they can focus on being productive.
Make it clear from the very beginning exactly how the onboarding process is going to work, what you expect from the team and a timeline for getting started. Provide a checklist that covers all the equipment, software, and accounts that they need to set up, a list of everyone they need to meet, any paperwork or forms they need to fill in, and tasks that need to be completed.
You should also provide everything they need access to in one easy to find location. For example, one of the first things you could do is set them up on your intranet or file storage with a folder that has their onboarding checklist, your company handbook, contact details, and company policy documents so that there’s one place to look for any information.
One of the most important things to discuss at the start of your onboarding process is the expectations you have for the new team.
Specifically, you need to have a conversation about working hours. If you offer flexible hours then what are the core hours you expect people to be there? Do you need the whole team to start and finish at the same time? Can you accommodate any of your new teams’ personal schedule needs like childcare or regular appointments?
Another important thing to go over is how you expect the team to communicate. Whether you're using email, Slack, or rely on face-to-face conversations, you need to outline how you want the team to communicate, how quickly they should respond and how to handle urgent issues.
Being upfront about these key things will save you and your team from having any problems further down the line.
Set up a support network for your new team — don’t let them worry about who they should be reporting to or who to go to with questions. Outline how the team structure works, who their line manager is, and any other key people in the business that they might need to interact within their first few weeks.
Make it clear that they can ask for help or support at any time. Assign one person, maybe from your HR department, their manager, or someone else on the team, to check in with them regularly throughout the onboarding process.
Try to minimise the headache of IT and equipment set up by getting it sorted as much as possible before they start. If your new team is starting remotely then make sure all the equipment they need is going to arrive in plenty of time and book in a phone or video call to talk them through setting up everything in the right way.
Set them up with all the equipment they might need from their own desk space to a suitable computer or laptop. With a whole team starting at once you might want to look at comparing used MacBook pros, for instance, so you can give them all a high spec, reliable computer that’s straightforward to set up. Providing the best equipment is going to make the onboarding process that much easier and reduce some of the stress of starting a new job.
Create an internal checklist of everything that your new team needs to be set up with so that you can work through it and nothing gets overlooked. This might include building or office access, computer logins, an email account, intranet and internal system access.
Either set them up or provide clear instructions for any software or apps they’re going to need to use. You should create a list of the systems and file access that each role in your team is going to need, and aim for a setup deadline that’s at least a week before they start to allow for any issues.
You might want to run your new team past everyone else in the business on their first day, but they’re unlikely to take in all the new names and faces or make any real connections. Arrange smaller meetings with everyone over their first couple of weeks such as managers, directors, and different teams. And provide an organizational structure so that they can understand who everyone is, what they do, and where they fit into the company.
Space the meetings out and provide existing employees with a bit of information about the new team beforehand. This saves them having to go over the same things about their background and previous roles every time. Instead suggest a few different casual topics of conversation to make the meetings feel less intense.
You could also arrange a social event outside of working hours in the first few weeks so that your team can start to get to know people in a less formal setting.
Don’t hand your new team a huge pile of paperwork to read through, or sit them down in for hours to watch endless training videos. Make the onboarding and training process interactive and engaging. Use a mix of videos, presentations, quizzes and exercises, and most importantly include activities that help your new team get used to working together and collaborating. You could consider using a cloud-based learning platform such as SAP Litmos, to support your onboarding process and provide ongoing training for employees.
Your onboarding process should keep your new team motivated and help them to integrate into the business quickly. Set them up with team-based tasks and get some of your current employees involved as well so that they can get to know people. You could also do group training sessions run by a variety of people within the company.
While your team obviously needs some time to get set up and settled in, don't make them wait too long to actually start working. Instead of waiting a few weeks and endless training sessions and introductions, set up some projects that they can get started on right away. A lot of people will learn better by trying to do something themselves instead of just being shown how to do it.
And after all, you've hired your team because you think they're going to be good at the job — so don't waste those abilities just because they're new. The best onboarding processes involve setting up new starters with a real work project as soon as possible. They'll feel part of the team, settle in quicker, and be able to see the contribution they're making.
Onboarding staff involves a lot of admin and takes up a lot of time, so if you've got a whole new team starting then it's really important that you're using the right tools to streamline the process for your HR team.
Look at using HR software like Workable that allows employees to enter in all their important details and information themselves. This cuts down on a whole lot of repetitive admin, once you've got that information into your HR system it can be easily transferred over to all the other systems. You'll give your new employees a better experience and save the HR team a lot of admin.
You can also use online payroll software to quickly manage your new team's pay — it often comes as part of an accounting package so it'll make it easier to coordinate expenses, bills, invoices, and taxes. But importantly for your new team, it's going to make sure there aren't any hold-ups or mistakes with getting them set up on your payroll and paid the right amount.
Overall, onboarding is all about getting your team up to speed as fast as possible, setting up with everything they might need, but also integrating them into your business and ensuring that they can work productively together. By following these tips and creating a comprehensive onboarding process you'll be able to get your team set up and ready to work in no time.
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