Jean-François Boudreault
Partner | Management consulting

When a new employee begins to work for an organization, it’s an important step for both of them. Though stressful, a new recruit’s first few days can go more smoothly if certain strategies are implemented.

Successful integration

The integration of a new employee should follow a very simple premise: the employee must feel comfortable and welcome in the new environment. Such a premise applies to all employees, whether they have been on the job market for a long time, are new to the market, or senior executives. The success of this integration is a determining factor when it comes to an employee’s ability to adapt quickly to the new environment, and reducing the risk of resignation shortly after starting. Such resignations are costly in terms of time and resources, let alone the potential impact on the organization’s image.

Four simple and efficient steps

To support the integration of a new employee, we can refer to a four-step process:

1. Prepare the new employee’s welcome: When a new employee arrives, it’s in the employer’s interest to plan the welcome. The employer can advise the other employees of the upcoming arrival of a new resource in the near future and the role they will play with respect to this resource, prepare a schedule and corporate documents for the first day to help the employee get a better grasp of the enterprise’s values and mission. Furthermore, an informal meeting between the new employee and the rest of the team before the first day of work can be a wise way to promote exchanges and reduce first-day stress. This way, a signal is sent that the new hire is appreciated and important. It also enables the new employee to find his or her place and quickly become fully functional within the team.

2. Welcome: On the first day of work, it’s important to give the employee enough time to feel guided and have a sense of belonging. This step will influence the employee’s relationship with the company. This is also the day when corporate documents are provided. The latter must be complete yet concise to facilitate their integration. Lastly, it’s often a good idea to introduce the new resource to other employees (support staff, in other departments, etc.) so that he or she may see and understand the enterprise in its entirety.

3. Integration: In the days following the new employee’s arrival, keep in mind that complete integration will take a few days, perhaps even a few weeks. Meeting colleagues, providers and clients and grasping the tasks of the position takes time. To be efficient, the new resource needs to know who does what, form a network, and assimilate the enterprise culture. To do so, he or she needs support. Not only must the supervisor or immediate superior handle this step, but all team members and eventually a mentor must do their part.

4. Follow-up: In the short term, the employer must give the employee feedback and adjust the position, if necessary, based on the employee’s strengths and weaknesses while redistributing tasks within the team.

Such a procedure can seem costly because certain employees must set aside their tasks to support the new hire. However, it’s usually worth the investment. There are numerous examples where mentoring or sponsorship enabled the employee to get answers to questions and quickly grasp the organization’s culture.

We should keep in mind that talent recruitment and retention are constant challenges for managers, especially in light of the expected or current labour shortage in various activity sectors. Recruiting personnel takes time and energy; successful employee integration increases the chances of retaining staff and is surely worth the investment.

Successful integration is key to efficiency as the employee will quickly become productive and functional, to the organization’s benefit.

25 Oct 2011  |  Written by :

Mr. Boudreault is a partner at RCGT. He is your expert in human resources for the Québec office....

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