Setup for Success — Tips for Impactful New Hire Onboarding
By: Courtnie Nolan
Picture a sunny, crisp fall day in Washington, D.C. Brightly colored autumn leaves have decorated the ground and the temperature outside is Goldilocks temperature — it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s just right. That day, Oct. 29, 2018, was the first day that changed my life for the better.
The day before, I meticulously laid out my first-day-of-the-new-job outfit. That morning, I woke up bright and early with a mix of excitement and first-day jitters. It was the start of my new job in human resources at DCG, the start of a rewarding journey in my role to help DCG grow and our employees succeed. I arrived early and decided to take a detour and marvel at the iconic Washington Monument a few minutes before heading to the office, a short walk away.
Fast forward to 2022, new hire orientation looks a little different now that DCG is nearly fully remote, yet it allows DCG’s human resources team to be even more impactful, connected, and creative in our approach.
While I’m no longer the new employee and I’m now facilitating new hire orientation, I often reflect on those feelings when new employees join the team. Putting yourself into the shoes of a new employee is at the heart and soul of creating a successful new hire onboarding experience. Here are tips to set up new employees for success starting on day one.
1) Recipe for Success — When new employees receive their onboarding paperwork, they also receive a special link to DCG’s new hire microsite. The new hire microsite is a hidden website only available to new employees that contains everything from benefits FAQs and company culture information to how to dress for your first day. My favorite part is the Recipe for Success section, which contains advice and words of wisdom from employees who joined the team in recent years and tips for getting up to speed, building relationships, having the right mindset, and getting familiar with technology. DCG’s secret sauce to a successful new hire experience involves passing along wisdom from one generation of team members to another and helps alleviate the ambiguity of starting a new role.
2) Team values and norms — What makes your team’s culture unique? Several leaders at DCG developed culture decks for new employees that provide an overview of the team’s shared values and norms, team member names and photos, professional development opportunities, and useful tools to download. Culture decks are a valuable resource to give a new team member a glimpse into your team’s culture and can be developed through a simple PowerPoint. It’s valuable to share norms and expectations that may seem obvious to a seasoned team member but keeping in mind that team culture and norms differ between companies and teams.
3) Roll out the red carpet — New hire orientation is not only a great time to discuss benefits but an important opportunity to personalize the new hire’s experience. During new hire orientation, DCG’s human resources team begins the session with an icebreaker: Bring an object that makes you laugh or smile. Team members have brought pets, kiddos, artwork, photos, and collectables with them to orientation. At DCG, we value our employee’s unique lives inside and outside of work and place an emphasis on valuing the whole person. The best part of new hire orientation is the Buddy reveal! The Buddy serves as the new employee’s informal mentor, friend, resource, and support system to help the new employee get acclimated to DCG. Check out more information about DCG’s Buddy Program here.
4) Where it all began — New employees meet with DCG’s founders, Adam Clampitt and Caitlin Donovan, for a new hire meet ‘n greet in small groups. Every few months, new employees learn about DCG’s founding and history, as well as Adam and Caitlin’s passions inside and outside of work. New employees also have the chance to introduce themselves and are encouraged to share their interests. DCG’s Recruiting Specialist Suzette Osborne shared, “I enjoyed getting to know Adam and Caitlin on a deeper level during the new hire meet ‘n greet. The conversation was informal and personal, I learned more about the challenges and opportunities of starting a new business, DCG’s founding, and even fun topics that other new hires had shared interests in, like college football and travel.” The new hire meet ‘n greet provides valuable opportunities for new employees to feel connected to DCG and learn the history behind the company’s founding.
To sum it up, new hire orientation at DCG encourages knowledge sharing, embracing the new employee and team’s uniqueness, and relationship building that sets up new team members on a good path for rewarding careers ahead of them. While it’s incredibly rewarding to work with the new employee at the start of their journey at DCG, it’s equally rewarding to see new employees spread their wings, flourish in their new roles, and cheer them on with their future successes.
Setup for Success — Tips for Impactful New Hire Onboarding was originally published in DCG Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.