On-boarding new employees

Help new employees feel valuable by communicating your business's goals and providing training and development. Doug Campbell, Managing Director of The Success Coach, shares tips for bringing new team members on board.


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Published: November 06, 2008


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Whenever you hire new employees, whether they’re joining a team of four or 20, it’s important to take the time to develop and encourage them. Communicating your business’s overall goals and providing training and development will help a new employee feel engaged and be valuable to your business. Now, there are several steps you can take when on-boarding a recent hire to build a solid foundation for success. 

Hi, I’m Nelson Davis. Joining us today on the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series is Doug Campbell, Managing Director of The Success Coach, a company that helps businesses build strong management teams that foster growth. Doug, I’m delighted that you’re here with us today. 


Great to be here, Nelson. 


Let’s start by having you talk a bit about having a productive team and why that’s so pivotal to a business. 


Well, you need a strong and engaged team to build your business. And first I would think about who’s on your team. If you’re an independent business or independent professional or small business, you might have a virtual assistant, you might have a partner you work with, or if you’re a company you may have a number of employees, but think about it that way. You also need to have a vision and mission for that team that people unde rstand and respect and respond to. You need to have open communication and the right attitude in your employees, and you want a highly energized business environment. 


Nice start. Now, when a new employee starts at your business, what can you do to ensure that they’re brought into the business and trained effectively? 


Well, on-boarding is an important process to think through. How do you bring an employee on board? You’re competing for talent. You want to really build them up. So on-boarding is communicating with them before they get to the business, they understand it, communicating with letters, with emails, with phone calls, so when they get there for that first day they feel comfortable and excited. Having the work tools in place, the right work environment, that’s part of the on-boarding process. 


Now, let’s break this on-boarding process down a bit further. What does it look like totally? 


Well, the overall process is on-boarding first day in the work place and then mentoring, and then measuring the employees and how they do. 


I’m still on the first day. I like first days. You’ve mentioned the importance of making an employee feel valued and welcomed from the very start. 


It’s crucial. Think about it. If you walk into a retail store and y ou meet an employee and they come up to you, in that first 15 seconds you can get a very quick idea of how much energy they have, how excited they are to be there, how they feel about that business. That’s what you want to cr eate out in the work place with your employees, whether you’re there or not. It’s very important. So think about that first day. What can you do that first day to make it work? You want to have them meet everyone when they come in. You want to have them go around the office. You want to have them have a positive experience. This retail example I was giving, someone’s a first day employee, a very well known designer came in and gave a little workshop, so she went home and explained to her spouse and family that, you know, this was a great experience, I’m excited about this new opportunity. 


Mentoring is a subject that’s a favorite of mine, and maybe one of the important steps in all this. Why is this such a key part of bringing on a new employee? 


Well, mentoring’s a great question, a great topic, and it’s — any great business leader, I think, will point to mentors along the way that have helped them. So you need to have a mentoring or a buddy system for new employees coming in. It’s very important. There are a couple of important statistics here. Taleo, which is a recruiting and talent agency, says that it costs about twice as much to bring in a new employee as it does when you lose one. 




And 80 percent of Generation Y, which is ’81 to ’94, ball park birth years, 80 percent of them lose interest if they don’t have a mentor after three weeks. So it’s very important that you think through that process. Any new employee, I think, though, it’s an important process to think through. 


Great ideas. Discuss some ways a business owner can monitor and measure an employee’s productivity. 


Productivity is crucial, and that’s the bottom line. I think you can see it in the attitude of the employees. And I think, you know, in any business, attitude is crucial. If someone doesn’t have the right attitude, you need to work with them and address that very quickly. I also think that, you know, you can see that in the way they bring energy to the workplace—going from one activity to another, taking on responsibilities, helping out. 

And you can also measure it with more productive measures: What are the sales per employee? What are the customer satisfaction ratings for new employees, young and old, and, you know sales call s? There are a whole bunch of ways to be very specific about measuring it. 


You’ve given us a lot of information. What is the bottom line on it? 


Well, the bottom line, I think, is on-boarding is a very important process. You need to think through and be very systematic about it. 


That’s excellent information, Doug. You know, keeping employees engaged in your business by communicating your plan and expectations will boost productivity and your bottom line. And I appreciate Doug bringi ng us a load of advice today. And thank you for joining us on this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo can help you, visi t www.wellsfargo.com/biz. Of course in the meantime, we wish you continued success. 

[Music plays.


1) Making a new employee feel welcome from the first day is crucial.

2) Establish a mentor program to ease new employees into the company.

3) Measure employee productivity through energy and attitude, as well as sales and customer satisfaction. 

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