Your employees will only ever have one first day of working at your firm – so it pays to make sure that your onboarding process is top-notch, and doesn’t leave them lost or uncertain or feeling unwelcome.
Many of our 2015 Best Firms to Work For pay special attention to their new employees’ first few weeks and months, with an emphasis on making sure that they understand their own responsibilities and how to accomplish them, that they know the structure of the firm, and that they meet the people they’ll be working with. The onboarding programs often include clear, comprehensive documentation; group and individual training; having assigned mentors or “buddies;” lunches and less informal gatherings; and much more.
For instance, at LevitZacks CPAs, a Best Firm to Work For in San Diego with 36 staff, each professional team member is provided with a written “Opportunity Path” in the onboarding process that includes with the steps necessary and expectations for each level within the firm. And Pittman & Brooks, a 20-employee Best Firm in Portland, Ore., has a training process that can include one-on-one peer training, written procedures manuals, and online classes, as well as virtually unlimited access to on-line training.
At Wilkin & Guttenplan, a long-time Best Firm to Work For with 85 staff based in New Jersey, their onboarding plan includes buddy and coaching programs to help new employees get acclimated to the firm, but even extends into the metaphorical: “It starts with a welcome plant sent to the employee home to symbolize growth with the firm.”
Of course, it never hurts to show new employees that your firm can be fun, too. At Porter Keadle Moore, a 69-employee firm in Atlanta that has made frequent appearances on our Best Firms list, all new staff and interns are paired with a buddy to help them navigate their new workplace – and as part of the process, the buddies are given a $500 budget to plan social activities to help the new hire meet people in the firm. Five enterprising buddies recently pooled their budgets and took a trip to Miami together.
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