Company culture starts from day 1. It’s true that most of us will never forget our first day at a new job. It can be nerve-racking walking into the office for the first time, thinking about where you’ll eat lunch and when you should make small talk with your coworkers. And while this feeling is the same for nearly everyone on their first day, it’s the team’s responsibility to make our new coworker feel at home.
Recently, KWSM President and CEO Katie Wagner was featured in All Businesses’ 15 Smart Ways to Test New Hires Before You Commit. In the article, Katie gives her suggestions on how to ensure a smooth hiring process. “The best way to ensure that a new hire performs well is to create a solid onboarding system,” Katie says. “This should include an orientation to company rules, expectations, and values, along with on-the-job training. We assign a “buddy” to all new team members that can answer questions and provide guidance. Setting 30-, 60- and 90-day expectations up front is crucial, along with check-ins at those intervals.” Starting on their first day, KWSM makes it a priority to welcome our new team members. It’s more than just the managers’ responsibility to make them feel at home, it takes a village and it’s something each of our team members proudly participates in.
Focusing on Training
As KWSM Training Manager, it is my responsibility to make sure that our new team members are given the tools they need to succeed. For the past few years, I’ve worked with each new hire one-on-one to train on our systems and processes. Recently, we’ve revamped our training program to include even more of our team members. We each bring unique skills and we wanted to share our specific passions with our new co-workers. Our new team members sit down with veteran employees to train on the various elements of their jobs. Each of us brings our own perspective and experiences to the table to ensure a robust and thorough training process.
Getting to Know the Work Family
With four different offices across the country, it’s important that we build relationships with each other, even when we don’t see everyone in person each day. It was because of this that we launched our weekly virtual coffee dates. During the onboarding process, we are paired with a few members of our team to better get to know the new employee on a personal level, and to start building bonds over our shared interests.
Ensuring the First Week Runs Smoothly
We strive to not only make a great first impression for our colleagues, but to ensure their first week runs smoothly and that they are excited about everything that is to come! Each day during their first week, our managers take new employees out to lunch to continue to get to know each other and see how their first week is going. It is during this time that our management team is able to connect with new hires outside the office and answer any questions they may have.
A proper onboarding process for new employees can shape their entire experience at the agency. Four years later, I still remember the outpouring of support I received on my first day at KWSM, and the people who made me fall in love with the job I still love today.