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Nurturing new recruits through a positive onboarding experience

Allen Associates, News & Blog

If you’re an HR professional or experienced people manager, you will be all too aware that welcoming a new recruit into your team is not just about filling a position, but about setting the stage for a successful, engaged, and motivated employee who will be happy in their role, invest in your business and add value to it over the longer term.

There is often a lot riding on new appointments and many of our clients say they feel under pressure to make sure that each and every hire is successful.

The weeks and months leading up to the start date is an important time, and we find that regular communication between successful candidates and their new employers, is really helpful.

This blog contains useful information for your line managers as well as a practical checklist.

Rapport and communication are key

Once your chosen candidate has accepted your job offer and they have got over their initial excitement, we occasionally find that nerves (and doubts) creep in, particularly if there is a long lead up to their first day in their new role.

The most sought-after candidates may also be tempted by counter offers from their existing employers who don’t want to lose them, and potentially by other opportunities as well, so the intervening period between accepting a new job and getting started, is not always plain sailing.

Encourage line managers to communicate and build rapport at the earliest opportunity. Regular, warm and engaging communication from their line manager or key point of contact can make a big difference!

Receiving emails, messages, a phone call and invitations to connect on LinkedIn, will help to reinforce a candidate’s positive perception, and reassure them that they have made the right decision. If there is an opportunity for them to attend a team or company event and meet new colleagues ahead of time, so much the better.

Candidates are often hungry for information and will be eager to know what to expect when they join. Any information that you or their line manager can provide in will help them to feel more prepared and confident on their first day and during those early, potentially nerve-wracking weeks, when they may find things a little overwhelming.

Onboarding checklist for line managers

We hope the following checklist will prove useful to line managers and anyone else who may be involved in the onboarding process and helping your new hire to settle in.

Start by providing an overview of the induction process. Remember to tailor any plan to suit your new recruit – for example, aligning it with their role and responsibilities,  the skills they have as well as those they will need to acquire, the team dynamics and culture. Be clear about who they will meet, what they will be shown, and how they will be brought up to speed with everything they need to know. This knowledge will be reassuring and help to set the scene.

Make them feel very welcome. The first day sets the tone. Make sure there is someone available to meet and greet them, in person if possible, or via email or Teams if they will be working remotely. Extend a warm welcome, introducing them to team members, colleagues from other departments, and senior leaders. A friendly environment eases nerves and fosters a sense of belonging from the start.

Appoint a mentor or buddy: Pair the new recruit with someone who is an ambassador for the team or the wider business, and who is well placed to offer guidance, answer questions, and provide insights into processes and protocols. This connection offers a safe space for open conversations, builds familiarity and helps with integration.

Set clear expectations: Communicate clear job expectations, responsibilities, and any performance metrics from the beginning. People are much happier and settle into a new role much more quickly when they know exactly what is expected of them.

Outline any training and development opportunities: Try to get your new recruit excited about any training on offer to help them improve their skills and knowledge and better meet the requirements of the role. Be sure to signpost resources, workshops, webinars and learning opportunities so they know they will be well supported.

Encourage open communication: Explain the different communication channels available and encourage your new hire to ask questions, and talk regularly and openly to their line manager and other colleagues.  Make sure that relevant managers and team members also check in with them to build rapport and  identify any challenges, address concerns, and ensure they're settling in well.

Celebrate early achievements: Recognise your new recruit's achievements, no matter how small, as this helps to reinforce their contribution, reassures them that they are doing what is expected of them, makes them feel supported, and motivates them as they grow into the role.

Bring your culture and values to life: Make time to discuss your company's culture and values. Help your new hire to understand the company’s mission, vision, and values, and explain how these integrate with the work that they do on a practical level – internally as well as externally.

Encourage networking and socialising: Facilitate opportunities for your new recruit to network with colleagues from their own team as well as other departments. Building connections will make them feel more at home, put things into context, join more of the dots and help them settle in more quickly. Make sure they are aware of any social events or networking activities taking place.

Provide autonomy: Where possible, encourage new hires to work autonomously as they become more comfortable in their role. Encourage them to take initiative and share ideas. This shows professional respect and a trust in their abilities, empowering them and making them more likely to invest in their new role for the long term.

Be accommodating and flexible: Everyone has their own approach and it’s important to try to be accommodating and flexible, provided of course that expectations on both sides are clear and goals are met.

Model a good work-life balance and show that you take wellbeing seriously: If, like most employers, this is an increasingly important part of your ethos, remember to let your new recruit know that you respect their personal time and expect them to practice self-care.  It’s widely understood that a well-balanced, happy employee is more likely to be engaged and productive and want to stay!

Signal a clear end point to their probationary period: Help your new recruit to understand the milestones and what will be required for them to successfully complete their probationary period. Get a date in their diary at the earliest opportunity and when the time comes, get together in person to evaluate their performance, celebrate their wins, address any learning points and establish clear goals for the next six to 12 months.

If your new hire has proven their worth, make sure they know how delighted you are to formally cement their place within your team and the wider business and consider whether a lunch, celebratory drink or token gift might be appropriate – and make their day!

Allen Associates is ideally placed to support you on your recruitment journey

Allen Associates is one of the longest-established, independent recruitment agencies in Oxford, working closely with employers of all sizes and across all sectors, on their staffing vacancies.

We recruit for temporary and permanent roles at all levels across the major business services and support functions, including PA and Administration, Marketing, HR and Finance.

Please contact us to discuss how we can add value to your recruitment processes and help you to attract and secure the best people for your business.