Why First Impressions are so Important When Onboarding an HVAC Employee
You only get one chance to make a first impression. This popular saying also applies to onboarding new employees for your business. It’s important for any company to uphold their reputation from the minute someone walks through the door — especially for new hires. Company culture is crucial for employee retention, and as we all know, it’s not an easy task to recruit and retain top-talent. Making a great first impression and following through on the promises made during the interview process is a critical recruiting step that companies can’t afford to skip.
According to Robert Half, nine in 10 new hires are willing to leave a job that fails to meet expectations within their first month — a staggering statistic when you factor in the time and energy that goes into sourcing new candidates. In this post, we’ll walk you through some simple but effective steps you can take to make sure your onboarding process creates a great first impression.
Step number one, be prepared. It may seem like a given, but having a workstation or designated area that’s prepared with a computer, office supplies, business cards and other necessities the moment your new hire walks in the door is vital to making a great first impression. It’s only natural to have first day jitters, so having this area to situate themselves can help alleviate some of that anxiety. Imagine if you were excited to start your first day at a new job and you walk in to find that no one is prepared for your arrival? How would that make you feel? When your new hire walks in the door, you don’t want your company to be scrambling – it sends the wrong message and starts the day on a sour note.
Documentation and Training Scheduled Organized
Have all the necessary documentation ready to go for your new employee. Provide any training manuals, HR Forms, welcome packets, payroll documentation and in-office or out-on-the field company guidelines. Having these items prepared (or even sent ahead of time) can help your new hire to familiarize themselves with your company policies as soon as possible. As an added bonus, It can also help to keep your new hire busy if you or other staff members are tied up with your own work throughout the day. As we know, in an HVAC company, this is sometimes unavoidable. Having a schedule can be nice so that your new hire knows what to expect throughout the day and upcoming first weeks. You don’t have to get too granular here — just a general guideline.
Assign a Designated Team Member or Mentor
As we mentioned earlier, starting a new job can be overwhelming. It’s smart to choose a designated team member or mentor to help welcome your new staff member. It shows that your company is committed to their success and gives your new hire an advocate in the workplace. Choose someone who has been with the company long enough to “show them the ropes” but who is also knowledgeable of the requirements and expectations of their position in some way or another. If your new hire is an MEP employee, assign a staff member to mentor him or her who is also familiar with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects of your business.
Your new hire will also benefit from meeting someone who can help them assimilate to office culture quickly. They can also help answer questions that may be awkward or uncomfortable to ask their boss or manager like “Where is the best place to pick up lunch?” This team member should be in charge of introducing your new hire to the rest of the team and can also give them a tour of the workspace to show them around, helping them to get comfortable in their new workspace. Make sure to hit all of the major areas that they’ll need to know like: the lunch room, restrooms, printers and copiers, etc. Don’t just provide a superficial fly-by, give them instructions on how to use things. Make sure to cover off on mundane, but important items like the restroom key or building ID card.
A Good Attitude
Having a new hire show up to your office first thing on a Monday morning may not be optimal. Everyone has busy schedules on Mondays and some people can even be a little grumpy. It’s important that your new hire be greeted with a positive attitude by people who are enthusiastic to meet them, and have time to answer questions. So, talk to the team and ask them when is the best day to onboard the new employee. Make sure they block time for onboarding in their schedules.
Having company swag or other welcome gifts ready for your new HVAC hires is always a good idea. You want to excite your new employee and branded gifts with the name and logo of your HVAC company can instill a sense of company pride. A good attitude and enthusiasm will be contagious – leaving a positive, lasting impression with your new team member.
It’s nice to include your new employee in company activities right away. Whether it be inviting them to sit in on a meeting or head out into the field, a small gesture can leave a large impact. As an added bonus, it can also help to break up the monotony of training for both of you! We also suggest taking your new hire to lunch on their first day. Lunch can be a great opportunity to break the ice. It can also afford you the opportunity to get to know each other and connect on a personal level since people tend to let their guard down in a more casual setting. Here is also where you can discuss the “unwritten rules” and dos and don’ts of the office. Your new hire will be sure to appreciate any office intelligence that team members can provide.
Discuss the Job Expectations
Transparency is key when discussing company expectations for the first couple months that a new employee spends on the job. Being clear about working hours, deadlines, and responsibilities will help your new hire start work with a clear understanding of what is expected. That will make them less nervous and more productive.
New employees can become discouraged if your onboarding program leaves them unclear about basic expectations. Make sure that you and the new employee’s boss provide a comprehensive roadmap with attainable milestones so that your new hire can transition to their responsibilities with confidence.
If your HVAC employee will be doing field work, or meeting with customers, make sure that they get out on the road as soon as possible. Meeting your clients, or prospective customers, is the best way to ensure that the new employee understands your company’s mission. They will also learn from observing how other employees interact with clients. It is a great bonding experience for the new person to work together on a team to solve client problems. Try to make this happen as soon as possible.
In the HVAC industry, oftentimes employees spend the bulk of their time out in the field. Therefore, it’s even more important to make sure that the initial time spent in the office for onboarding is pleasant and welcoming. Investing time and energy upfront into developing a thorough onboarding process will pay off in employee retention and productivity. According to this survey from LinkedIn, one in three employees know whether they want to stay long-term at a new company within their first week, making onboarding program a crucial part of employee retention.
As a result, your onboarding process should begin right when your new hire signs your offer, and continue to provide a helpful and welcoming experience for the employee’s entire first week. A great and lasting first impression will benefit both your company and your new HVAC employee.