Every month, I get to personally welcome a group of new employees and see their enthusiasm as they embark on their career here at Marco. Each time I am reminded of their expectations and our role as leaders to keep building on that momentum.
As we have grown at Marco and welcomed hundreds of new team members, I have gained a greater appreciation for the importance of onboarding. How we welcome and integrate employees into their role and our company have a clear impact on their satisfaction, productivity and ultimately retention.
All organizations by default have some version of onboarding. We’re very intentional about making ours personal and comprehensive. Ideally, it starts on day one and engagement should continue for months – not weeks. So, what does good look like? We keep asking ourselves that question.
Here is what works well for us:
- Prepare for their arrival.
When we invite guests over to our homes, we prepare for them. As employers, we need to do the same for our newest team members. We show that we value them and the work they will do by preparing the essentials ahead of time – their phone, email, workstations, business cards, etc.
- Make a positive first impression.
We only get one chance to make a first impression. I know if we do a good job on day one, we set the tone for the rest of their career at Marco. As CEO, I personally welcome every employee. Yes, every single one. I enjoy meeting each one and I know it matters to each of them, too. I start our new hire orientation by asking each person to share a little about themselves. It’s a fun icebreaker because we get to hear about their hobbies, their significant others, their families and usually a lot about their pets. We never force anyone to be personal, but they almost always are. I also share information about myself. They appreciate this time because of how it naturally builds connections and belonging.
- Engage executives.
When employees have the opportunity to meet the leader or leaders at the top, they feel valued and more connected to the organization. We introduce our executive team at each orientation and many present on various topics throughout the day. I deliver our corporate presentation to share a little bit about our history and how we differentiate ourselves from the competition. We also give them a tour of our corporate headquarters to meet people from other departments and begin to feel our corporate culture.
- Personally reach out.
We establish checkpoints over the first 30 days to reach out to new employees to see how they’re doing. We also conduct a six-month follow-up call to have a similar dialogue. This provides an opportunity to evaluate how things are progressing and shows that our organization cares. Sometimes all they need is a conversation to confirm things are on track. Some of the simplest things we do can be the most impactful.
- Enlist ambassadors.
When I was in the Air Force, I had a sponsor who helped me navigate the day-to-day activities of my first assignment. We implemented something similar at Marco. We call them ambassadors. This initially started with our newly acquired employees to help welcome them to the Marco family. We plan on expanding this to intentionally match all new employees with an ambassador. While this can happen naturally in organizations, we have found the best results come when we proactively assign ambassadors and provide them with a clear roadmap for how they can assist.
Consistency and structure are key to achieving effective onboarding of employees. It is also important to make a human connection so that each employee feels valued. Intentionally making a good first impression will hopefully be a lasting impression. Make a commitment to play a key role in finding, welcoming and keeping good people.