New starter checklist (process, process, warmth)

There are so many things that need to be done before a new person comes on board that it’s worth putting together a checklist of everything you need to share. One of the most critical things to do before starting the checklist, is to stop and think about your first day and how it was:

  • What was good?
  • What was bad?
  • What was different?
  • What did you expect?
  • What would you change?

On your first day, you expect people to make a fuss, understand a little more about you and start the new relationship on a high. In reality, most places are dying for you to get there (they have waited four weeks while you served out your notice period) and don’t think too long or hard about what it is like for a new person walking into the place.

The new person is leaving behind processes, people and a company they may have spent a lot of time with and they feel like they are taking a risk joining a new company, with new processes, people and environment. It is a big deal, so you need to make them feel welcome. The more welcomed (and inducted) people are into a place the more likely they are to reciprocate to other new employees and share the love when they start.

The one thing I remember about my first week at Mark (M&C Saatchi) was that no one took me out for lunch, I was shown where the food court was and then had to fend for myself. I did write about this on my blog and the next day, a lunch was organised and most people attended. It was great. I felt special and secure, which is exactly what any new person wants in their first week.

Below is a simple checklist of everything that should be thought about when a new person starts:

The boring stuff: INTERNAL APPROVAL

To ensure the new persons’ first day isn’t their last, there are a few financial requirements that must be checked prior to them starting. These include:

  • What clients will they be working on?
  • Are they covered by retainer or out of scope work?
  • If retained, what percentage of time? If not, how will their time be recovered? (For advertising agencies, the minimum is about 65% billable.)
  • Have you allowed for salary on-costs in the amount? (For advertising agencies, this is around about 10%)
  • Will putting someone on full-time allow the freelance costs to be reduced? If so, by how much?

The fun stuff: FIRST DAY

Whenever a new person starts, most companies assume that someone within their team will show them everything – all the details, the people to avoid, places to eat, process, etc. However, most companies show new starters not as much as they need. Therefore, this checklist is a minimum of what is needed (no doubt there are a lot more things to include):

  • Admin – email signature, voicemail set up, stationery, security passes, kitchen, bathroom, shower, bike rack (very, very important)
  • Process – department processes, client processes
  • Finance – timesheets, pay details, tax file number
  • IT – computer passwords, email client, intranet
  • Client – key contacts, previous work, guidelines, expectations, relationship status, client contract summaries (retainer vs billed work), rate cards, previous billings
  • Expectations – role expectations, company expectations
  • People – introductions to heads of departments, daily contacts, finance, office admin, IT
  • Company – culture, corporate events (Friday afternoon drinks, lunch time sport), vision, philosophy
  • Location – closest dry cleaner, pharmacists, food court, running track (very important)

This is by no means a complete list, so please feel free to send any other critical things that need to be included on the checklist.

Written by Dominique Hind

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