First day. Nerves and a lot of expectations. Presentations, small talks, chatting, walking around the office, greetings to colleagues, a glimpse of the workplace, tools and processes…
Yes, of course, all of that, but none of this makes a perfect integration: what we really want is a functional, committed and motivated employee! Getting the best out of new hires, and avoiding unnecessary staff turnover, involves applying a series of principles and practices.
This is what this article is about: what, why and how. We will see that flexibility is also essential for this process to be really effective.
Employees onboarding and integration
We could define the integration as the process by which the new employees are welcomed, their tasks and objectives set, they become familiar with the work environment, basic tools and, of course, colleagues. It is, so to speak, the meeting between the employees and their new job.
This definition overlaps, to some extent, with’ onboarding’; is it the same? It depends. If we understand integration as a process of several weeks of acclimatization to the company, until we are no longer ‘the new’, then yes.
The twofold objective of carefully managing this process is, on the one hand, to shorten the learning curves of the newcomer so that he or she is fully operational as soon as possible; and on the other, to lay the foundations of their commitment to the organization so that they bring their full talent to it.
The principles of staff integration
The staff integration process seeks to generate a feeling of belonging from the first minute and consolidate it over time. The secret is to do it smoothly, building trust and keeping a good communication as essential pillars.
- Clear as water. We assume that the recruitment process has made clear the expectations of both, the company and the employee when it comes to the objectives and general tasks. Now is the time to specify. It is important to give them the time and attention they deserve.
- Feel at home. The newcomer must become familiar with the corporate culture, the work flows and dynamics, with the rest of the team, his job and the tools that he will use on a daily basis. They must find their place and feel comfortable in it.
- Integration in two directions. It is not that the organization should adapt to its last member, but it does have to remember why we hired him: because he has something to contribute. A flexible approach will allow a better development of his talents and thus a better and increasing contribution.
Practices: the guidelines
How can we put these principles into practice? Inspiration is crucial. These techniques will help you to make the integration of the new employees easier to carry out.
- Initial talk: It is important to be concise and not get lost in the details in the first meeting. Prepare it.
- A helping hand: Give the newcomer a “guide”, a more experienced partner to support him with the work details and the “social” environment. Choose well.
- Breaking the ice: Don’t miss the opportunity to team up making a nice presentation but also with an informal activity.
- Training pills: Through manuals, meetings, examples, etc. show them the details of the daily tasks and solve their specific doubts if any.
- Get to work: An early access to specific tasks and responsibilities encourages autonomy and involvement (and it is the best test for us).
- Follow-up and availability: Informal checks every now and then shows that we are available for them. ( “How’s it going?”)
And, more than anything, take it seriously: integration is one of the keys to laying the foundations when it comes to retaining talent in the medium and long term. Underestimating the well-being of employees is one of the most expensive mistakes for an organization.