Question: I'm curious to know what your recommendations are related to onboarding. From the article I read, it sounds like you have a really solid process laid out, and you try to give really clear expectations for their first day. I wanted to hear a bit more.
OMG’s Onboarding Process
Templates are key when it comes to increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Every time we go through a new team member onboarding (employee or freelancer), we use our templates while also critically evaluating them for necessary updates and making those changes as we go. Each of these templates gets tweaked a bit for remote or freelance team members.
New Hire Email Templates
1. Subject Line: OMG - It’s almost time!
Sent to their personal email 4-5 days in advance of their first day, this email provides new team members with details such as:
- Detailed first-day schedule - Since they won’t have access to their calendar until after they arrive, we give them a breakdown of their first day so they know what meetings to expect and how their non-scheduled time will be used.
- First-month schedule/expectations - We have a unique culture of high standards and best practices that facilitates a very independent day-to-day experience for team members. Sometimes that flexibility causes anxiety when a previous experience was structured and rigid. Informing new team members that they will be expected to create their own schedule while also explaining that their first 90 days will be the easiest of their career with OMG helps set the tone of interdependent autonomy.
- Lunch and dress code expectations - These are (local) new employee’s front-of-mind, first-day questions. Having an answer reduces the stress and anxiety of the first-day “how do they do things” unknowns.
- Ask them a few get-to-know-you questions and request a photo that we can use for a Slack intro to the rest of the team.
Basically, this is a FAQ email to make them confident walking (or calling) into the first day. The feedback we received was that the addition of this email to our onboarding process was life-changing for new hires.
2. Remote Team Members Only: Your OMG Login Info
This email is sent early in the morning on the first day for remote team members. This provides them with their email and password so they can sign in and get started. For local team members, this information is provided in person when we hand them their laptop.
3. Subject Line: 🏁 🏁 Start Here 🏁 🏁
This email gets sent to their OMG email address for them to read on their first day. It gives them:
- Access to our team contact info sheet
- My cell phone number
- Introduces their training coordinator
- Provides links to our core platforms and tools with a brief description of the purpose/use of each (TPM, OMG Wiki, Drive, Calendar, Slack)
In order to provide a streamlined experience for new team members, it is important to develop a consistent process that allows new team members to get set up and connected with the various team members that will support their onboarding. This checklist should include tasks for everyone involved in onboarding, including Finance, HR, IT, Admin, and Leadership. The checklist should function in a way that prepares the team for a new member’s first day, giving them what they need, when they need it, without needing to ask. Our new employee onboarding task list includes over 65 tasks, which might seem excessive, BUT consider that those 65+ items need to be done for every single new hire, and several of them would easily be forgotten or delayed if there wasn’t a trigger. The creation of an onboarding process and checklist does take intention and time, but saves much more time than it takes, and makes the process seamless and stress-free for everyone involved. This process continues to evolve and requires updates as the company grows, but it is much easier to add or update a task as needed than to work through an outdated list.
Having a structured first day (week, month) is one of the best ways to help new team members feel established and productive. If you’re hiring the right people, they will be antsy to get in and start working, whatever that looks like. Without a plan, this is difficult to implement when every other member of the team already has a full-time job they’re focused on! Developing a first-day routine supports both the new team member and team members involved in onboarding with consistent expectations.
Sample schedule - We always start new team members on Mondays so that they can be a part of the weekly team meeting. The template may need to be customized based on role and schedule, whether remote or local, and italicized sections.
- 9am - Arrive at the office! Name, our Office Manager, will show you to your desk and where you can grab some coffee before our first meeting of the day.
- 9:30am - Whole-team meeting. No need to be nervous, this is a weekly meeting and a great way to launch this new chapter of your life with OMG. This is typically a 15-20 minute meeting.
- 10am - Office tour and HR paperwork and payroll platform training with Name, our HR Coordinator.
- 11am - Initial Check-In with your Director, Name.
- 12pm - First Day lunch - Our treat! We will be ordering lunch in and eating with our Department/Roles! If you have any diet restrictions or favorites, please let us know.
- 1pm - Flex time - Dig into your email, review your calendar events, and take some time to get to know the team!
- 4pm - Feel free to hang out a while longer or get home and take a brain break. It's a lot of info for the first day!
A hard day’s work...
A new team member’s first day is their first impression on your organization, priorities, and communication. Details matter, and the unspoken messages sent leading up to and during the first day informs new team members of your real expectations. Whether it’s using these steps or others, make sure you’re emphasizing expectations with your actions, not just your words.