Hiring new employees is an exciting opportunity to flesh out your PR team, but the onboarding process can often slow things down. With a faster, more efficient, and more thorough onboarding process, you’ll be able to welcome your new employees better—and help them build momentum in their earliest days of employment.
Here are some steps you can take to improve PR onboarding, along with why this investment is so valuable.
Strategies for better PR onboarding
These are some of the best ways to improve onboarding when hiring new PR team members:
Start early: The onboarding process shouldn’t start the first day a new employee starts. Instead, you should be doing the prep work several days in advance, providing your new hire with documentation, instructions, and the resources they need to succeed.
Prepare the paperwork: Long before you start officially onboarding new hires, you should prepare all the paperwork you’re going to need. Your onboarding process isn’t going to go smoothly if you have to research what the W-8BEN form is. Nobody likes to fill out paperwork on the first day of their employment, but the best you can do is make this process faster, smoother, and more straightforward.
Start the first day with engaging activities: Make the first day as exciting and stimulating as possible by filling it with engaging activities. Shadowing different people, going through interactive training, and enjoying lunch with the team are just a handful of examples.
Give new hires a warm welcome: Onboarding isn’t just about filling out paperwork or explaining the rules; it’s also about making sure your new hires feel like they’re part of the team. Give your new hires a warm welcome by getting leaders and other employees involved. Treat all new hires with courtesy and respect, and talk to them like you’d talk to a friend.
Foster cross-departmental exposure: PR is important, but it’s not everything in your organization. If you want your new hire to have a better perspective on where the PR department fits and how the company operates, it’s a good idea to foster some cross-departmental exposure. That means introducing your new hire to other teams and other individuals.
Set clear expectations: Work to set firm expectations for your new hire, across a variety of fields. What is your organizational culture like and how is this employee expected to conform to it? What are working hours and what is the dress code? What are the most important rules and where can the employee learn about other rules? How does vacation and time off work? The more thorough you are, the better.
Don’t overstuff schedules: It’s tempting to schedule your new hire for a full eight hours, especially if you’re trying to ensure this time is full of engaging activities. However, it’s important to give your new employee at least some time to rest and decompress; otherwise, they’re going to have a hard time remembering everything by the end of the day.
Provide opportunities to ask questions: It’s not just about talking; it’s also about listening. Give your new hire plenty of opportunities to ask questions they may have.
The value of PR onboarding
There are three main reasons for investing in this strategy:
Time savings: Perfecting the art of employee onboarding will save you time in multiple ways. You’ll spend less time during the actual onboarding process and simultaneously facilitate faster transitions to a live working environment.
Employee performance: Employees who go through a smooth onboarding process are more likely to perform well, especially during their first few weeks in the office.
Employee retention: As an added bonus, employees who experience a strong onboarding process are more likely to start with a good impression of your business; as long as you don’t do anything to corrupt that impression, you’ll benefit from higher employee retention in the long term.
Feedback and improvement
The importance of collecting employee feedback is vital to note here. One of your biggest goals is making sure your employees have the resources and support they need to succeed. After each onboarding process, conduct a survey or interview to see how your new hire felt about the experience and determine if they have any suggestions for how to improve it in the future.
If you’re willing to work proactively and continue adapting your onboarding processes, you’ll end up with a much stronger, better integrated PR team. It’s a long-term investment that won’t start paying off right away, but it will work to serve you eventually as long as you’re consistent.