No matter how old someone is, starting a new job can feel a lot like the first day at a new school, with all the anxiety associated with adjusting to new surroundings, new people, and new situations. An effective onboarding strategy plays a key role in easing that anxiety and helping new team members find their feet quickly.

A structured onboarding process is crucial for two reasons. First, it reduces employee ramp-up time, allowing the new team member to begin contributing right away. At Dyspatch, we begin onboarding a week before a new hire’s first day, to confirm details like their desk setup, company email account, and access to software tools, such as Slack. Working through an onboarding checklist ensures nothing is missed. This early preparation helps new employees settle in quickly, by establishing a framework for success, before the new team member even steps into the office.

Second, onboarding creates opportunities for the new employee to mesh with the team. This is more than simply introducing everyone, it’s creating space for relaxed, social meetings with coworkers across teams. The new hire can begin to establish relationships with their teammates, which in turn fosters team cohesion and collaboration. We plan lunch outings or coffee walks, and sometimes a team will prepare lunch for everyone in the office. By the second or third week, the new employee is gaining an understanding of the different working styles within the company, and they’re starting to feel like part of the team.

The Approach
At Dyspatch, we’ve established our own version of The Three Ps of Onboarding: People, Product, and Place. This strategy helps us focus on the three areas we feel are most important in helping new team members settle in and succeed.

People
The new team member should get to know their coworkers. We provide ways for them to build rapport, facilitate communication, and find their place early on in their tenure. For instance, impromptu lunches or coffee breaks give the new employee the chance to chat with coworkers in a more relaxed setting.

Product
This includes not only the nuts and bolts of what the company builds/does, but also institutional information like the organization’s mission statement and values. By aligning the new team member with our mission statement, they gain a better understanding of what Dyspatch is working towards. It’s equally important for the new team member to be aware of our company values, and how they help further our mission. Combined, the mission statement and company values give the new hire a sense of who we are as a company, our office culture, and how we work together.

Place
In addition to understanding their role and responsibilities, it’s important for a new employee to know the day-to-day processes and procedures — from how to book a meeting room, to accessing a video call via Zoom, to making a pot of coffee — and what resources (printer, call booths, etc.) are available to them. We created an employee guidebook and company intranet that provide everything a new team member needs to know to be successful at Dyspatch.

With proper preparation and a little effort, an effective onboarding strategy will provide your new team members with the right support, and all the information they need, to hit the ground running.