Countless studies have shown that true employee engagement is the best way to retain your workers and make sure they are happy, but more times than not, engaging your new employees is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve put together a quick list of tips to help you and your people leaders engage new hires and start their tenure off strong!
1. Welcome them before their start date
The opportunity to engage new employees begins the moment they sign their offer letter. Send a welcome kit to their home with a few branded items that will come in handy. Have their direct manager handwrite a note expressing their excitement for the new employee to join the team. That excitement can be contagious with a small surprise like this!
In addition to a welcome kit, send an email outlining their first day. Brief them on the time they should arrive, appropriate attire to wear, etc. so they feel prepared.
2. Make the first day memorable
Set up a clean workspace and include another “welcome to the team” gift. Introduce the new employee to other team member’s one on one, especially the people they will work closely with. These intros can continue throughout the first week (after all, they probably won’t memorize all the names in a single day.) Plan a lunch, either as a team or just between direct manager and employee. Socialize, break the ice, and have fun!
3. Talk about purpose
Schedule time within the first week to discuss the company’s mission and values. The sooner the employee can understand the vision, the sooner they can feel connected to your organization. It’s especially important to talk about exactly how they will fit into the purpose. Seeing how they will be an integral member of the team will be motivating and spark passion.
4. Set expectations, set goals, set them up for success
Walk new employees through their specific responsibilities and daily expectations. Ease them into projects and work together to set goals early on. Having clear goals can help employees understand how their performance will be measured. They will also feel a sense of accomplishment as they progress toward their goals. Don’t forget to regularly provide feedback on their progress along the way!
To help employees reach their goals, equip them with all the information and training tools they will need. Occasionally remind them of the resources that are at their disposal (which includes managers and peers that have a large knowledge base). These steps are crucial since only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their role after onboarding. Keep onboarding best practices in mind, too!
5. Help them get involved
Diving right into the company culture is a great way to engage new employees from the start. Encourage them to participate in fun activities and events happening in the office (or virtually!) Invite them to sit in on meetings for committees or groups they might be interested in joining. Social connection with peers at work is key!
6. Recognize & celebrate early wins
Celebrate the little things like learning a new program and reaching 30 days of employment. Give the employee shout outs with internal social posts and eCards or highlight their great work in a meeting. No matter how you package it, early recognition can help new employees gain confidence and hit a productive stride. It also exposes them to a culture of recognition so they can start spotting moments to recognize others as well.
7. Don’t stop after onboarding
Engagement shouldn’t slow down or come to a halt when the official onboarding process is complete. Employees are still “new” after onboarding and will still be adjusting to the workplace. Check in with them frequently and schedule regular one-on-one meetings. Offer and ask for feedback, both sides are crucial for constant open communication and course correcting.
These tips should be a solid foundation for your comprehensive employee engagement strategy: Start off on a high note with a preboarding kit and stellar first day. Then continue to engage your new employees with goal setting, discussions about purpose, social involvement, recognition, and recurring check-ins. We believe these strategies will create an environment in which employees are more loyal, productive, and impactful, starting on Day 1!