I found the best candidate to join my team – now what?

You wrote the right job descriptions. You posted your job on all the right job boards. And you interviewed the most qualified panel of candidates. So after you select your new team member, what do you do next?

The terms orientation and on-boarding are sometimes used interchangeably but they are actually quite different. Orientation is a program for your business to acquire information from your new employee and give a general introduction. On-boarding is a longer introduction to your new team member to the company, colleagues, and performance requirements.

Orientation typically happens on the first day of your new team member’s time with your company. Do you remember your first day with your current employer? Did you sit in a room with an HR Representative going through a stack of papers? Did you fully read every policy document before you signed it? I doubt it. There probably wasn’t time to get through everything in detail. Some companies start orientation before the first day to try to give newly hired team members a chance to review documents, read and understand policies, and prepare questions ahead of their first day. This is a great idea and a best practice for orientation. You can load your employment documents on a secure site (or an extranet to your intranet page), you could bundle your orientation documents into an Adobe PDF Portfolio document, or at the very least mail the hard copy documents to the new team member as far in advance as possible. Be sure you clearly mark which documents are for review and which documents need to be signed or initialed by the new team member.

On-boarding usually follows the Day 1 orientation session, but it can be introduced to new team members before their start date. While orientation is usually an HR-driven event, on-boarding is a collaborative effort between the hiring manager, department team members, and the HR team. Following the candidate’s offer acceptance, it’s a great time for the hiring manager to consider, How can I make sure my new team member gets to a full contribution level as quickly as possible? On-boarding includes being introduced to team members, company culture, and performance objectives. On-boarding generally happens over a period of weeks or months (maybe the first year of employment) and has touch-points throughout where the new team member and hiring manager can be sure each is aware of how the team member is acclimating. On-boarding should have some employee-driven aspects where the new team member has an opportunity to engage with others to learn about their role, how does their role fit into the company, who will they interact with, and how can they contribute value to the business.

Do you feel like you know how to get your team members oriented and on-boarded properly? If you need some help, email me for a quick and easy on-boarding tool kit that will help get you started!