Research shows that only a third of the people starting new jobs consider their company’s orientation to be very effective. And those numbers would no doubt shrink even further if you asked newcomers brought in for short-term assignments or specific projects.
The truth is, though, that all workers are likely to prove more valuable if, instead of just turning them loose upon arrival, you offer a different sort of experience. Your best bet? Use an onboarding checklist — and be sure it includes necessary steps for onboarding remote employees, as well.
“Contract professionals are used to jumping into new situations, but they can benefit from a well-thought-out onboarding — just as new full-time people do,” says Michael Steinitz, senior executive director at Robert Half, overseeing finance and accounting talent and recruiting solutions.
A recent Robert Half survey shows that well over one-third (39%) of workers planning to look for a new job want to pursue contracting as a career. Getting such interim employees up to speed quickly takes on greater importance when they make up a significant portion of your workforce.
With that in mind, follow this onboarding checklist to help everyone start off right with a positive experience.
Onboarding checklist — before they arrive
- Make a plan. An onboarding procedure that addresses the needs of interim staff should include workplace safety, company policies and procedures, and guidelines for performance and accountability. Send this to on-site and remote hires well before their first day, giving them time to read through everything before they start.
- Create a supportive environment. Alert the receptionist when contract workers will be arriving and make sure in advance that they have security access and a workstation with a phone, necessary supplies and a computer with instructions for network access.
- Tell your staff who’s coming. Make sure your full-time employees understand what it is that the contract talent will do and, in turn, what guidance they will be expected to provide. Consider assigning a staff member to be a workplace buddy for informal support.
- Send equipment to remote workers. If new off-site employees need a laptop or other office equipment, make absolutely sure that they receive it and can test it — and resolve any potential technical issues — before Day One.
Onboarding checklist — after they arrive
- Make introductions. Give the newcomers a warm welcome and introduce them to key colleagues. Provide an overview of relevant policies and processes. Give them a tour of the office. For remote employees, set up video calls with the full team, plus 1-on-1 calls with those they’ll be working with most closely.
- Discuss duties and expectations. Take some time to talk in greater depth about the contract position and its responsibilities.
- Communicate your company goals. As you take contingent workers around your office, make sure to share your organizational culture. For off-site staff, discuss the company culture in-depth on a call with them during their first day.
Don’t stop after the first day. Onboarding should continue through the second week and beyond.
- Include them in activities. Show your contract workers they’re part of the team by including them in meetings and events when appropriate.
- Praise their accomplishments. Interim employees benefit from a show of appreciation, too. Highlight how they’re helping your group by taking on the duties they’re assigned.
- Stay in touch. Check in regularly, with follow-up meetings to encourage them to ask questions and offer feedback.
When you provide this kind of guidance for contract professionals, you can influence the outcomes for your team’s overall performance and your company’s reputation.
As Steinitz says, “An onboarding checklist can help you retain top talent and even pave the way for full-time hiring arrangements.”