by Eve Jones
Tagged as "Onboarding"
Does your company hire technical staff? If so, do you ever struggle when it comes to not only finding great candidates, but also having them accept your job offers and then stick around to become loyal employees? Finding top talent who really know their stuff and who could be a real asset to your business is harder than it looks. Especially when technical skills are thrown into the mix.
So what can you do, as someone working in HR, to alleviate the pressure of finding and keeping good people? For a start, you need to make sure you’re impressing candidates from the get-go. And that means making sure that the image you present of your company and your (or your managers’) interview techniques are second to none.
But it doesn’t end there. Research has shown that just because a candidate has accepted your job offer, it doesn’t mean that it’s a given that they’re going to stay with your company - or worse, even show up for their first day of work! And when employees are highly sought after - such as those with technical skills - they can afford to be even more picky and may have few qualms about jumping ship if you’re not engaging with them from the start.
We’re not suggesting you pander to your applicants and new hires, but doesn’t it make sense to create a welcoming atmosphere and a great company culture - for employees both current and future?
And that’s where your onboarding process and new hire checklist come into the picture.
We’ve talked before about the importance of having a new hire checklist, covering what it is and why you should create one. And hopefully you’re (ahem) onboard with the idea. And while your onboarding process will roughly be the same for all new employees, you may want, or indeed need, to tweak it slightly depending on the type of hire. For example, if you have an internship programme at work, your intern first day checklist will look a little different to your new hire checklist for remote workers. And your onboarding checklist for your sales team might need a few adjustments so it’s not the same as your onboarding process for your technical people.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at what you might want to include in your onboarding new hire checklist for your techies.
Any new employee, regardless of what job you hire them to do, will appreciate a company and HR department that is organised and gives them as much information as they need up front. And if you’ve just hired someone that pretty much has their pick of the job market, presenting a professional image from the start is crucial.
Send your new hire paperwork and their contract to your employee before their start date. Not only will this make you look efficient, but it will also help cement the relationship and make it official.
Plus it gives them time to go through the documents and get back to you with any questions or issues before they arrive in person, meaning that their all-important first day gets off to a good start and isn’t spent filling in forms and signing on dotted lines.
Making sure that a new employee can get stuck in straight away is vital. We’ve all been there, done that when it comes to an awkward first day spent sitting at an empty desk while our new manager desperately hunts for the IT guy because - lo and behold - a computer hasn’t been set up for us. It’s not an ideal situation and it’s one that certainly won’t impress employees of a technical nature.
So, along with making sure your new hire actually has the equipment they require, and the accounts and passwords they need to log in, why not go a step further and ask them what they need. For example, are they a Mac or PC user? How would they like their IT configured? It shows attention to detail and it’s something that will resonate with someone technical.
As with any other new hire, you’ll need to give your techie the lowdown on all of your policies and practices. Show them where they’ll be working, give them a tour of your workplace and introduce them to their new colleagues. This is the point where you might also like to introduce your new employee to their ‘buddy’. Buddy programmes are great for helping to acclimatize new staff and are well worth introducing into your onboarding process.
They help anyone new feel more at home and welcomed, and they also help take the pressure off a busy manager who may not have time to answer questions about Casual Friday dress standards, after work drinks, or where the nearest coffee shop to the office is.
And buddy programmes can work particularly well in the case of technical hires who may well be confident in their skills, but perhaps a little shy or reticent to ask questions or socialise with their new colleagues.
There’s little to no point in hiring top talent and not getting them started working as soon as possible. In your technical newbie’s first week, as well as getting them trained up on various aspects of their job it is also a good idea to make sure they actually have some work to do.
Technically minded employees should appreciate a challenge and will not want to be sitting around kicking their heels while their new colleagues busy themselves around them. Present your new hire with a project for them to get their teeth into straight away.
Ensure that it is possible to manage and succeed at, even for a new starter, as this will help to build their confidence in their new place of work and help them to settle in while also bringing them a sense of achievement.
Your new hire checklist shouldn’t just cover the first few days of a new starter’s employment, it should also incorporate their first month too. You will want to check in with them and see how they’re progressing and see if there is anything you can do to make their work life easier or more productive. Speak to them about training going forward too.
It can be easy to forget that the first couple of months are the most critical when it comes to securing the loyalty of a new employee and making sure that they are happy, have the technical tools to perform their job to the best of their ability and are beginning to feel like a valuable member of the team is crucial.
People with a technical bent are usually inquisitive and keen to explore new innovations in their area of expertise. Encourage that enthusiasm and make it work in your favour. For example, ask them to think of ways to streamline or simplify processes or systems within your organisation using their skills and tech knowledge. This can work well with new employees as they will have a fresh perspective of your company and may see things that are glaringly obvious to an ‘outsider’ but not to someone who’s been with the business for years.
Communication is everything, regardless of an employee’s department or particular skill set, but you may find that technical staff are more comfortable with digital communication rather than face to face, so that may be something to bear in mind.
The importance of how you interact with your new hire and how welcome you make them feel cannot be stressed enough. If you’re hiring top technical talent, you want to make sure that they stick around and become a long term employee.
And you can help to make that happen by creating a great first impression by making sure that your onboarding process is top notch and that you have all the steps checked off on your new hire checklist.
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