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A new job means a roller coaster ride of emotions for many. What was once interview jitters transforms into all-out excitement over the offer, followed closely and augmented by nerves that come with the first day. And new hires are not the only ones who have first-day jitters; managers also get nervous as they wonder if the employee will work out to their expectations. However, if the hiring process includes a strong onboarding plan, managers can rest easy as they integrate their new employees into the existing team.

The first few days and weeks of a new employee’s experience sets the tone for her satisfaction with the position and company. It is the company’s chance to make its first impression and to make it count for the new employee, and that is where successful and well-planned onboarding comes into play. It leads to new hires that retain their enthusiasm for the position and company, as well as relieved managers, and increases productivity and profits by virtue of happy employees and managers. Here are some tips to make the new hire transition smoothly into his new position.

Give the new hire meaningful tasks on the first day. One of the worst parts of a new job is filling out a ream of forms and plowing through an encyclopedia masquerading as the company handbook. Instead, it’s better for everyone involved to send the forms and employee handbook electronically to the employee before her first day at the end of the hiring process so she can review documentation and complete paperwork ahead of time.

Provide online options for orientation . A first day that includes a freezing conference room isolates the new hire from her new co-workers. A better idea is to create online orientation, using videos posted on the company intranet, which allows the new employee to sit at her new desk and get to know her new teammates while she learns about company policy. This also allows managers to provide a walk-through of the office and for quick welcome messages from other employees.

Get the new hire’s space ready in advance . When a new employee comes to work for the first day and doesn’t have a desk, computer, phone, email address, or other tools to do her job, it puts forth the impression that she’s not valued by her new company. Make sure new hires have what they need to hit the ground running so that the new employees don’t waste time hunting down sticky notes, pens, or the IT staff to provision a new machine.

Have management be available for the first week. New employees will ask a lot of questions, even if they are experienced professionals. This is new territory, and being available helps the new hire navigate his new position. If management is in meetings or traveling or simply too busy, it leaves the new hire feeling adrift in hostile waters.

Consider mentorship as part of the hiring process. While the mentor does not replace a manager – and should not be a manager stand-in during that critical first week – a seasoned colleague can help the new hire acclimate to his new position. A mentor typically is available for the first 90 days and can help the new hire adjust to the company culture – everything from how to fill out requisition forms to what not to stick in the office microwave.

Planning ahead can reduce the stress of a new hire for everyone involved. With these tips, companies can create an onboarding program that will help new hires right out of the gate.

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