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Day 0 Onboarding: Why It’s Important and 5 Ways to Prepare

Think you have to wait until a new hire’s first day on the job to engage with them and lay the foundation for their success? You don’t! That process can start a bit earlier than you think, allowing your new hires to hit the ground running.

In this article, we will cover the importance of proper onboarding, what Day 0 is, and how you can take advantage of Day 0 with your new employees.

Why a Comprehensive Onboarding Program is Important

Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring is only the first step to growing your team. Onboarding brings your new employee up to speed with the company, the team, and their projects — organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity.

While new employee orientation may last a couple of days or a week, a strategic and comprehensive onboarding process can be from 30 days up to 12 months!

What is Day 0?

Day 0 refers to the time between the job offer being accepted and the employee’s first day on the job. This time frame could be as short as a day or as long as a few weeks, and it sets the stage for your new employee’s success at your company.

Day 0 onboarding refers to the use of downtime before a new employee’s first day to get them acquainted with the company and ready to hit the ground running.

How You Can Utilize Day 0 Onboarding

Now that you know what Day 0 is, how can you best utilize that time for your onboarding process? We have five Day 0 tasks you can start today.

Digitize New Hire Paperwork

Get the most out of your new hire by having them complete their paperwork online before they step foot in your building. Many HR departments scan or digitize their paperwork during the onboarding process, streamlining the onboarding process by utilizing interactive PDFs.

Types of documents that can be digitalized:

  • Payroll Setup
  • Tax Forms
  • NDAs
  • Employee Contracts
  • Policy Manuals

You can upgrade your new hire paperwork by creating an online portal off of your HR software. Programs that have applicant tracking and benefits management are great for facilitating onboarding online.

Read More: The Best HR Software for 2020

Send First Day Information

Everyone has first day jitters, and that’s why it’s essential to connect with your new hire before they start. This is a great way to make your new hire feel welcomed and more relaxed about their first day. By sending useful information before the first day, you’ll find that your new employee will be more prepared and at home in their new environment.

Consider including the following information in your new employee welcome email:

  • Company Explainer Video – Give them a feel for your company culture while breaking down the values and mission of your organization.
  • Parking and Entrance Information – Break down where your new employee can park, which door they can enter and who they should ask for when they arrive.
  • Organizational Chart – Help your new employee learn their coworkers’ names and departments.
  • Team Introductions – If your new employee is on a team, send them introductions via email so they can start a dialogue.
  • First Week Schedule – Preplan orientations, tours, lunches, and meetings ahead of time, and send that schedule to them so they can be prepared.

Send a Company-Wide Announcement

Prepare your team for their new colleague by sending out an announcement before your new hire starts. Include some background information, such as previous positions, hobbies, and school background, to open the door for water cooler chit chat and connections. This will create a warm, inviting environment for your new employee.

Example New Hire Announcement:

Dear Team,

Please join me in welcoming our newest team member: Leslie Knope!

Leslie will be joining us on Monday, April 20, 2020, as a Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department reporting to Ron Swanson. She will be working with Parks and Recreation to implement department-wide goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for the Pawnee’s parks and community projects.

Leslie earned her MBA from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and has more than eight years of experience in public service. Leslie comes to us from JJ’s Diner, where she worked as a Waffle Tester and helped double her region’s waffle sales year over year.

Leslie is a volunteer leader with the Pawnee Goddesses and an avid crafter. When she’s not working, campaigning or crafting, you can find her dedicating her time to improve her hometown.

Jerry Gergich will be Leslie’s employee mentor, so if you have questions or need to meet with Leslie, you can talk with Jerry before she starts. If you see Leslie Knope around the building, make sure you welcome her to the company.

Regards, literally,

Chris Traeger

City Manager

It’s important to remember that you should get your announcement approved by your new hire before sending it out. Assign someone from your HR or Marketing department to work with your new hires to develop and approve company announcements.

Prepare a Welcome Gift And Personalized Note

Setting up the workspace for your new employee is a great way to make them feel welcome. Write a short, personalized note showing how excited you are for your new team member and pair it with some company swag so they can rock their new company logo.

Assign an Employee Mentor

Helping new team members cultivate close relationships at the office can increase employee satisfaction by up to 50%. Employee Mentors are a growing trend in new hire onboarding. 

Rather than the traditional mentor partnership — an experienced professional takes a new professional under their wing to learn the industry — an employee mentor is mainly a buddy system for getting to know your company.

A new employee may be intimidated to ask their teammates or manager simple questions:

  • When do people usually take lunch?
  • Where is the printer?
  • How do I get office supplies ordered?

By assigning an employee mentor from another department or team, you encourage cross-department communication while providing a trusted source that your new employee is comfortable asking questions of while onboarding.

Read More: Every New Employee Needs an Onboarding “Buddy”

Is Your Onboarding Program Ready For a Jumpstart?

In this article, we covered the importance of proper onboarding, what Day 0 is, and how you can take advantage of Day 0 with your new employees.

Are you ready to jumpstart your onboarding process? Contact our team today to learn about onboarding programs that build productive teams.

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