Getting 'em off on the right foot — through social media

OK, you’ve finally hooked the candidate you’ve been coveting for that key position. What’s your plan for getting ’em up to speed — and happy they joined you?

Karie Willyerd, writing on a Harvard Business Review blog, reports that there’s one key to onboarding new employees in 2013: social media.
Social media tools, she writes, can benefit new employees, whose experiences can be vastly enhanced to improve time to productivity. Social media tools can also help the cross-functional team that works together to bring in those new employees.
New hires should be able to join an active online community of other new hires — those already in the company and those about to join, she says. In this private community, new hires can connect, post pictures or videos, talk about hobbies, get tips and hints from recent hires already in the company, and form connections with dozens of people before they even show up for the first day of work.
Willyerd says corporate social tools can allow simultaneous completion and status update of tasks such as:

  • The recruiter indicating status of the paperwork
  • HR issuing the description of benefit plans to the new hire
  • IT providing system access, phone numbers, email addresses and laptop distribution
  • Facilities notifying the manager of space allocation
  • Training automatically enrolling the new hire in an orientation program
  • The manager and the new hire seeing each of those in a status and “to do” list.

The less-glamorous side

There are a few more arcane tasks to be completed when a new hire comes on the scene, of course.
Managers need to prep for the first day, according to Andrew Lu on the FindLaw Free Enterprise blog. That means having a welcome packet ready, including all your legal paperwork lined up like tax forms, any confidentiality agreements, non-compete agreements, and other documents.
It’s never a bad idea to review your employee handbook before a new hire arrives. Too often, employers create a handbook, but never touch it after drafting it. That could lead to some serious legal issues down the road.
Finally, prepare for worker training programs on key subjects like discrimination and harassment. You want everybody on the same page when it comes to company expectations of employee behavior at all levels.