The job market is certainly a competitive place today. But, here’s the real story: It’s not competitive for those with great talent and skills. It’s competitive for employers who are attempting to woo those talents and skills into their workplace.
And here’s the other wakeup call for employers: there is very little loyalty among employees today. Millennials and Gen Z’ers have their own priorities and are willing to job hop to get them. If your organization doesn’t meet those priorities, they will simply move on.
The satisfaction of an employee in today’s market place begins with the onboarding process. While there are a number of factors in that process, one of the first and most important is that a welcome letter or email that is sent once employment is finalized. Here is where a number of things can be accomplished:
• A level of trust between the new employee and his manager
• A more intimate understanding of the structure and culture of the organization
• An introduction to team members with whom the employee will be working
• The basics of HR requirements – tax forms, policy manuals, benefits, etc.
On-Site or Remote? It Matters During the Welcoming Process
Given that more and more organizations are hiring talent among remote workers, the entire concept of a welcoming letter or email has changed. And technology has also come into play as well. Welcoming letters do not have to follow the traditional textual letter or email. They can be combinations of text, visuals, video conferencing, and more.
If you are welcoming an on-site employee, then the more traditional text method may work just fine. After all, they will be coming on site and will have the chance to meet co-workers and team members face-to-face. They will meet with HR and complete those basic forms, receive policy manuals, and make on-site decisions about benefits.
If you are welcoming a remote employee, then an “only text” welcoming letter or email will not accomplish all that you want, especially in terms of developing relationships from the start. This is when technology can be your biggest friend.
Carole Castello, Employee Management Director for Trust My Paper writing service, puts it this way: “Except for our small administrative and customer support staff, all of our employees are remote. When I welcome them, through an email, I use a lot of supplemental technology to get those relationships going right away. We use a lot of video conferencing software so that a new employee has “face-to-face” encounters with the others in his department. And we set up a more lasting relationship with a “buddy” who can act as a mentor and sounding board. And I can video-conference with a new employee at any time to check in and make sure that he is comfortable and happy. I can tell so much just from facial expressions and other physical gestures.”
So, Just What Should Be Included in a Welcoming Letter, Email, or Video?
You want to begin with statements of your excitement about bringing this new person on board, and how he will fill a real need your organization has. It’s important, though, that you are authentic and genuine. Do not gush, or you will sound insincere. Here are other important tips as you craft your welcoming activity.
1. The letter, email, or digital visual contact must be made by the individual who will be the direct manager of the employee. Any welcoming communication from an HR person is too impersonal and leaves no “warm, fuzzy feeling” on the part of the new hire. When the direct manager initiates this activity, it begins a positive relationship that is important going forward.
2. The manager, even if already known to the employee through the hiring process, should let the employee know a bit more about him personally – how he came to work for the organization, how you came into your position, and maybe even sharing his experience when first joining the company. This helps to build a trustful relationship.
3. Outline the next steps in the onboarding journey. If the employee will be on-site, have a date set for meeting team members – and this should perhaps be a more social event – breakfast or lunch, perhaps. It’s important that a new employee get to know co-workers on a personal level, and this type of activity should help. During that activity, it will also be important for each team member to outline what his specific area(s) of responsibility are. If the employee is remote, this is the point at which a video-conferencing call should be set up. Be certain to provide instructions for access, as well as the date and time of the meeting. All of the other team members should be in that meeting, to introduce themselves, to speak to their areas of responsibility, and to provide some personal information too.
4. The letter or email should also establish an appointment time with HR to complete paperwork and to receive materials/information regarding employment, benefits, etc. Again, if you are working with a remote employee, you need to be certain that all of the materials, forms, etc. are accessible through links or direct communication with a specific individual in HR.
5. Finally, the new employee must feel a part of his team right away. This is the point at which you will assign that “buddy.” But you will also want the new hire to be incorporated into the work of his team immediately. At this point, you can assign some independent task responsibilities or partner the new employee up with another team member to work jointly on some of the current project tasks. This serves an important purpose. The new hire will experience the working relationships among team members and come to feel that he is immediately a part of the organization’s mission and goals.
Jim Jackson, Recruitment Manager for Best Essays Education writing service, talks about his company’s “buddy” system: “When we employ a new writer, there is just a huge amount of information that they need to learn and understand – policies, procedures, employment status, our IT system to name a few. If we attempted to get all of this across during an initial onboarding process, we would be “drowning” that new hire with information overload. What we do is focus on the basics during the initial communications and then assign a buddy within the same writing area. The new hire works with this buddy on several projects, and he can thus gain experiential learning rather than information just being fed to him to try to remember. It works really well.”
Let’s Recap a Bit…
The welcoming letter or email is the first critical piece of a good onboarding process. It will be the first impression that a new hire will have of an organization, his manager, the company culture, and the feeling that he will “belong” and thrive.
Now that there is an ever-increasing number of remote workers, the welcoming letter has had to adapt to new technologies that can foster relationships and personalize this first introduction. Remote employees still need a sense of belonging, and tools such as video conferencing can help to satisfy that need.
New employees should not be overwhelmed with a stack of information at the onset. The basic essentials should be covered, of course, but there should be a schedule that paces this out at a reasonable timeframe.
One of the most effective means of getting a new employee emotionally on board is to assign a buddy, to have the new hire work with that buddy, and to get experiential onboarding and training rather than being set out all on their own from the get-go.