How Onboarding Technology Impacts First Impressions

March 21st, 2017 Comments off
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We’ve heard it said many times—you only have one chance to make a first impression.

We typically think of first impressions in relation to people. But, first impressions of places and experiences can leave lasting impressions as well. You can probably still remember the impact of your first day at a new school. Or, maybe you remember the last time you walked into a restaurant and were treated rudely by the host. First impressions can be powerful, and they often set the tone for an experience, either positively or negatively.

This is true at work, too. If your goal is to create an engaging, positive work experience for your employees, it’s critical that it starts with a positive first impression.

An effective new hire onboarding process includes a lot of moving parts, including:

  • Welcoming and socialization
  • New hire forms
  • New hire orientation
  • Workstation and resources
  • Expectation setting


These tasks are too often accomplished in a haphazard fashion with some combination of boring presentations, stacks of paperwork and a dash of wishful thinking. This just isn’t cutting it. To make a positive first impression in today’s workplace, there’s one ingredient that has become vital: technology.

Even for smaller organizations, using onboarding software solutions to automate is critical. Here’s why:

  • New hires expect the experience to be automated. We shop, play and connect online. We’ve come to expect that everything that can be automated, should be. When it’s not, it creates a lesser experience. Consider how you would perceive a restaurant or retail store that does not accept credit cards as a form of payment. At the very least, the experience is less convenient. At worst, it makes you want to avoid that establishment. You can’t afford to have your new, excited employee feel this way about your onboarding experience.
  • Millennials demand technology. As of 2015, Millennials are the largest generation in our workforce—making up more than 35 percent of employees. They are also the future, so we have to design our experiences to satisfy their expectations – or face the consequences. According to a recent Forbes piece, “Millennials demand self-service, algorithmically, and crowdsourced customer service options.” They want the technology to enable and assist them as they work through the process on their own terms. The piece also noted that “Millennial customers expect your company’s technology to simply work—so you’d better make sure that it does.” Not only do they expect technology, but they expect advanced technology that works for them.
  • Consistency of experience is key. The process of finding a job has migrated almost entirely to technology. Job seekers experience an array of technology tools as they navigate their way to a new position. They experience company websites, social media pages, job boards, applicant tracking systems, assessments and forms to complete online. The experience, even at small organizations, is technology enabled from beginning to end. So, imagine how odd and disconcerting it would be to step into a non-technology enabled experience upon making the transition from “recruit” to “employee.” It would probably feel a bit like a bait and switch. Not a great first impression.
  • We don’t have the time. Our plates are already full, whether we work as managers or in HR (or both). Even when we recognize the importance of the onboarding experience, it’s easy to drop the ball on new hire onboarding simply due to competing priorities. This is too important not to use the available onboarding software solutions to ensure our new employees get started on the right foot. A bad first impression may dampen the excitement of the new hire or even send them running for the hills with buyer’s remorse. Technology is not only a more efficient way to approach onboarding, it’s also more reliable.


Creating a great onboarding first impression is about exceeding your new hire’s expectations. This requires that you create an experience with all of the necessary human touches built upon a solid foundation of technology tools and resources.

The days of paperwork and boring, new-hire presentations are gone. It’s time to catch up.

See a tool that can create an efficient and effective onboarding process.

9 Steps to Creating an Amazing First Week for Your New Hire

February 20th, 2017 Comments off
create a great first week for your new hire

You’ve found someone with the talent and passion to truly make an impact on your small business. Now, do everything you can to help your new hire feel welcome and important. Use these nine tips to create an effective, unforgettable first week that will set the tone for a prosperous tenure at your small business.

No. 1: Get bureaucracy out of the way. The most memorable thing about the first day shouldn’t be an endless stream of forms. Send whatever paperwork you can ahead of time to fill out at home. (Your new hire will appreciate not being put on the spot for an emergency contact.) Include an employee handbook, too.

No. 2: Send welcome emails. Provide your small business team with background on their newest colleague and the person’s start date. Then, encourage them to send individual introductory messages. Knowing something about others before stepping foot in the office will up the newbie’s comfort level and provide icebreaking material.

No. 3: Check in. Call the day or so before the start date to express excitement and answer any last-minute questions. Providing info on parking, building security, ID to bring and exactly where to go can ease those first-morning jitters. And let your new hires know they needn’t brown bag that first day; you’ll be providing lunch for the office in celebration of their arrival.

No. 4: Prepare a space. Don’t leave your enthusiastic new team members feeling like an uninvited guest. A ready-to-go station with working tech, passwords set up, and ample supplies shows you’re anticipating all the contributions they will make to your small business. For a nice touch, add company swag and a gift card to the neighboring coffee shop.

No. 5: Give the grand tour. Besides learning practical things like the location of the copier, walking around the facilities provides a taste of all the activities going on at your busy small business. To build a sense of purpose, emphasize how your new hire’s role fits into this larger picture.

No. 6: Assign a mentor. Joining a close-knit staff can be a bit intimidating at first. Appointing a friendly team member to act as a “buddy” may ease some of those feelings of being the outsider. This person also serves as a resource to answer those “dumb” (but oftentimes important) questions news hires hesitate to ask the boss.

No. 7: Start training. Don’t let willing hands sit idle when your small business has so many things to do. Patient, detailed instruction and manageable assignments from the get-go allow new hires to get their feet wet and build confidence.

No. 8: Lay out an agenda. Keep your new hire from wondering when you’ll get to the “good” stuff discussed during the interviews by constructing a framework during the first week. Not only will this build anticipation for upcoming assignments and learning opportunities, it shows that you have long-term plans for this person to make a difference to the small business.

No. 9: Review the week. Finally, a one-on-one after a few days gives you and your new employee the opportunity to give timely feedback. Knowing his or her concerns and answering questions demonstrates that you care and want the individual to succeed. Likewise, praising great things you noticed encourages the behavior to continue, and identifying potential problems stops bad habits from forming. Considerate communication early on sets the tone that your small business is built on honesty and trust, not mindreading.

Ready to go further? Check out 5 Ways to Set Your Small Business Employees Up for Success

The Telltale Signs of a Great Hire

October 31st, 2016 Comments off
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Regardless of the position for which you are hiring, demonstration of certain characteristics can indicate that an applicant will make an excellent employee. Help your small business reach new heights by looking for candidates who exhibit the following qualities:

Want to hire someone you can trust to represent your company? A candidate who shows up on time, dresses appropriately, acts courteous, and clearly has done his homework knows the importance of a good first impression. But don’t stop your evaluation there. Listen to how the person talks about past employers, co-workers and experiences – both during an interview and on social media. Is he or she quick to claim credit for achievements but equally eager to blame others for problems? A true professional doesn’t jockey for sole command of the spotlight or air dirty laundry.

Problem-solving ability
Small business employees are often challenged to do more with less. They also get called upon to deal with unforeseen problems – sometimes outside of their comfort zones. Look for workers who attack challenges rather than try to avoid or run from them. A competent problem solver keeps the team level-headed and focused on solutions, not drama. Inquire about how the candidate solved a tricky situation at a previous job, or create a scenario based on the position at hand and ask the interviewee to discuss how he or she would approach it.

A love of learning
The skill sets your employees bring to the table when hired definitely affect your company’s capacity for success. But the best hires will not only be valuable today – they’ll be anxious to keep improving in order to grow along with your small business. Evaluate resumes for examples of being a lifelong learner, such as taking classes, attending conferences or gaining new certification. Ask about the role professional development opportunities play in career plans and the decision on whether or not to accept a position.

A sense of team
Small businesses thrive when staff members put the good of the company front and center. This often means assuming various roles and helping co-workers whenever a need arises. People who regularly assert that “that isn’t my job,” fail to pull their weight, or act inappropriately zap morale – especially when working in close quarters. Ask potential hires for their perspective on how to get along with fellow workers and resolve conflicts. Provide opportunities for them to interact both formally and informally with current staff (and seek feedback). And don’t neglect the “little things,” such as holding doors for others and treating the receptionist with respect.

Entrepreneurial spirit
Lastly, look for individuals who share your excitement for entrepreneurship. They need not run the company, but they’ll add to it with their genuine curiosity and ability to challenge the status quo in a positive manner. Take note of applicants who ask questions about why your small business does things certain ways or who want to hear about your five-year vision. A kindred trailblazer will keep you on your toes and likely be one of your brand’s strongest ambassadors.

Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.

The Importance of Creating a Good New Hire Experience

June 8th, 2016 Comments off
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When you’re a small business, you lose so much more than headcount when a new employee leaves. Time and money (two things most small businesses are already short on) invested in recruiting, hiring, and training the employee cannot be recaptured. The vacancy affects productivity, and the momentum of your whole operation may suffer. Not to mention the frustrating fact that you’re back at square one.

It makes sense, then, to do what you can to encourage new hires to stick around. Positive experiences during the first days on the job can impact the decision to stay, so onboarding needs to be more than filling out required forms. Show enthusiasm for your new hire and the contributions he will make with thoughtful actions that promote success.

Be around. Don’t “dump” a new employee on someone else the first day. Studies show that new hires generally prefer their direct manager to be the one to show them the ropes. Taking this time confirms your interest in the individual and his importance to the company.

Foster bonding. Joining what is likely a close-knit staff can be intimidating. Try going beyond cursory introductions in order to help the new member feel welcome at your small business. Some companies encourage co-workers to send the newcomer an email prior to start day to offer support and provide a bit of personal background. A group lunch on day one also can be a fun icebreaker.

Appoint a mentor. Having someone to turn to besides the boss can be reassuring in a new environment. In an onboarding survey by BambooHR, 56 percent of respondents thought assigning a buddy or mentor was one of the most important things a new employee needs to get up to speed and begin contributing quickly.

Secure necessary items. Providing people with the tools necessary to jump into their role keeps that eager-beaver mentality alive. A new hire’s desk, phone, computer, and password logins should be ready upon arrival (and by all means remember that bathroom key).

Limit boredom. Yes, many things need to be done during the initial days of employment, but too much too fast becomes overwhelming. Analyze what must be accomplished now and what can be done at a different time. Paperwork oftentimes can be completed at home prior to the start date, freeing up valuable time to delve into specific job-related training.

Ask questions. Want to know what will help your new employee stay with your small business? Just ask. Increase motivation by asking new hires to identify their key monetary and non-monetary motivators. Learn why the person quit his or her last job; you’ll gain insight on what to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Is the extra effort worth it? If eliminating the stress of going through the whole hiring process again isn’t enough to make that answer a resounding “yes,” consider this parting thought:  A study by the consulting firm BCG shows that firms with outstanding onboarding can expect to nearly double their corporate revenue growth and profit margins compared to counterparts with only average onboarding. Time well spent, huh?


Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.