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Your new employee’s first week

In my first article on the importance of HR, I looked at recruitment. So what next for your new employee and their first week?

You have options here:

1 – just throw them into the job and hope they manage
2 – take time with them and support them in the new job

I am sure there are many other variants of this. The first option is likely to result in your new employee leaving pretty quickly. It doesn’t need to be death by PowerPoint as I’m sure many people have experienced!

I firmly believe that this stage starts as soon as your new employee returns the signed contract to you. The important next step is letting your accountant know that you need to add this person to the payroll. (The accountant will have set this up whilst we are recruiting.) If this is the first of several employees, I will set them up on your Breathe HR system and send them a welcome email. If you are only having one person join then we can wait a while before we put an HR system in for you.

The first week of new employment is usually a bit of a whirlwind so lets put some structure in. This can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. My suggestion would be:

First Day
* Where are the bathroom and kitchen?
* Meet the other employees
* What is the plan at lunchtime?
* Get any kit that is needed
* Health and safety basics – fire exits, accidents, incidents
* Work with you/another member of the team

Second Day
* Check-in with the new employee about the first day
* Policy documents -where they are and how to access them
* Breathe HR – how to use it, saving the link to their phone and/or computer
* How we do things

Third day
*Check-in with the new employee to see how they are
* Access to the online training platform to complete some learning over the next 10 days
* Discuss and agree any objectives for them and record in Breathe HR

Fourth day and beyond
* Daily Check-in to ensure that they are ok with the job and processes.

The better the experience that your new employee has in the first weeks the more likely they are to stay with you. This is why death by Powerpoint doesn’t work. People switch off and then just do things either how they’ve been shown or how they decide to do it.

Your new employee (especially the first) will be able to guide you in how the process is for the going through it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so ask them for feedback so you can improve it.

In one of my previous roles, I gave the entire onboarding/induction process to a team of people to use continuous improvement techniques on the process. We all knew it could work better. That team was made up of managers, recent new starters and the support functions like IT and HR. As the owner of the process, it was quite hard to give up that control but the end result was amazing and worked for everyone. If I had changed it on my own, it would have worked for HR but not the business as a whole.

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