Top-Shelf Tip No. 202:

"If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don't have to manage them."

Jack Welch

Twelve Low-Cost Suggestions For On-Boarding, Part 1

I recently started a new job and knew within the first five minutes that I had made the right move. How? Because this company showed enthusiasm upon my arrival. My office was set up. My nameplate was by the door. A big "Welcome!" was written in dry-erase marker on the window. And even better, a 30-60-90 day on-boarding plan was sitting on the desk. It was proof that first impressions count. Statistics and practical experience show it costs time and money to replace an employee, so it pays get an employee off to a good start, as we explain in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

For very little money and effort, you can set the stage for a new hire's success by following these six tips:

1. Send new employees a note (handwritten if possible) before they start work. These aren't messages about policies or parking passes. Rather, you are writing to say "We are glad you are going to be working with us."

2. Tell new people exactly what to do when they arrive on their first day. Do they park in visitor parking? Should they report to Human Resources first? Eliminating uncertainty will show that you've got your act together.

3. Make sure the space a new hire is going to occupy is clean and free of the last person's personal effects and well stocked with supplies. Nothing says "We don't care" like dirt and clutter.

4. Does the new person get a computer, phone or other electronics? If so, be sure to have those items in place as soon as possible. Without the proper tools, it's hard to hit the ground running.

5. If your organization has coffee mugs, shirts or other promotional items emblazoned with the company name, gather these together and present them to the new hire. Most people like a present, and this small gesture is another signal that you are welcoming and excited to have a new team member.

6. Avoid doubt and confusion by providing the new person with a written schedule for the first day. The schedule should include lunch with the immediate supervisor and new colleagues or other people who will contribute to making the new hire's first days a success.

None of these suggestions is difficult to implement, but they all take planning. The good news is, it's usually worth it. The faster you can get new employees up to speed, the sooner they will produce the work you hired them to do.

For six more onboarding tips, turn to PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what's promised.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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