Employee On-Boarding

We all know how challenging it is to find top talent in the flexible packaging industry. So, congratulations…you found the right candidate for the position and you just closed the deal. Your new hire starts in two weeks. I’ll bet you’re ready to relax and celebrate. However, keep it brief since this is the perfect time to develop an effective orientation plan and mainstreaming process better known these days as “employee on-boarding.”

The first 90 days are the most critical for a new hire. Odds are you will spend this time evaluating your decision to hire this person and your new employee will spend time evaluating the organization and deciding whether to stay. Why not make it a smooth and positive transition for all parties? This is where a well-designed on-boarding plan begins. Here are a few suggestions:

• Prior to the start date, maintain frequent contact and provide any company information that will help welcome your new hire. Establish a connection early on so that you can start building a relationship of trust. Let them know that you are excited and prepared for their arrival.

• On the very first day, lay the foundation for employee productivity and help new hires to develop their expectations for the company. Be ready to provide all tools and resources necessary to be successful on the job, i.e. laptop, cell phone, PDA, etc.

• Have a welcome team in place but make sure the right people are telling the company’s story. Involve your top performers in the orientation and training process. Encourage your new hire to get to know the people and company culture. Probably 95% of firings are the result of failing to “fit in”.

• Deliver what you promised during the recruitment phase. Nothing is worse than changing the rules of the game after it started. Within the first 45 days, take time to review the original job description. Determine whether it is still on track. If the position veered, it’s time to create a real-world job description that you both agree on or there’s a high risk that you will lose your new hire.

• Demonstrate your commitment to on-going training, team building and a positive work environment. This will send the message that your organization provides more than a place to work. It should touch the very heart of what motivates employees to continue to work.

• Giving and getting feedback is a continuous process. Therefore, schedule regular information sharing sessions and accept honest feedback without repercussions. Come across as an ally not an adversary. Your new hire may have some great ideas and insights but needs to feel comfortable when expressing them. This is also a good time to reiterate that your goal is to help them succeed. Remember a star performer makes you look good as well.

An effective on-boarding plan sends the right message and makes a great first impression. It defines your organization as one that provides a healthy environment with exceptional opportunities for employees. In turn, energized and enthusiastic employees are a great return on investment due to faster performance development, reduced turnover, greater job satisfaction and improved productivity.