onboardWhen you get new team members to your nonprofit, it’s essential to remember that you want to onboard them well. Think about it. Many times, new people are nervous about their first day at work. And, no matter what, your organization already has a culture. One of the things that new team members worry about is whether or not they will fit in. So you can help set the tone by making sure to onboard them well.

At our fundraising social enterprises, we make it a point to ensure that new team members get welcomed. Making an effort to put our best foot forward immediately is something we always strive to do. And, we’ve had new employees tell us that it’s made a positive difference in their onboarding experience. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a nonprofit leader of a small or large organization. Think about your new team members and set out to give them a great experience, from the moment they first walk in the door.

Onboard new team members with an awesome welcome

Something easy that your nonprofit can do is show you welcome your new employees. For instance, a kind gesture is to have a sign that reads “Welcome.” We have a television at the entrance to our offices. And, one of the things that we like to do is have the word “Welcome” and the person’s name on the television screen. It’s just a little gesture, but people love it.

Agenda which sets expectations

Another excellent tip you can do is to create a schedule or plan. Meaning, when your new team members see an onboarding agenda, they’ll know what to expect. And, that immediately lowers anxiety levels for your new employees. They understand what the expectations for the day or week, will be. In other words, knowledge is power. Empower your new team members with clear expectations in writing. Include things about who they will meet and what they will be doing.

Do the initial set-up before your team member walks through the doors

Something we like to do for our new employees is to get them set-up, before they walk through the doors. For example, show that you’re prepared and thinking about them. Ensure that their communications and email platforms get set-up. And, if you send them a welcome message, send it to them in advance or make sure it’s the first thing they see when they are at their new desk. Guide them through anything you can do in advance, such as payroll or computer set-up.

Play an ice-breaker for onboarding

Especially if you have a large team, one of the best things you can do is to have people participate in an ice-breaker. Remember, your new onboarding team members probably don’t know too many people, if any, other than you. So, give them a chance to meet their peers in a relaxed setting. For example, create an ice-breaker such as “Who Is.” Ask your team members to write something about themselves on paper. Then, have the onboarding member figure out who is the amateur painter, tennis player or singer.

Share a meal together

It’s been happening since the beginning of time. In other words, since humans are social, they like getting together around a meal. So, take the time to have lunch with the new person you’re onboarding. And, even better, get your team together to help build relationships. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can just be pizza and soda. The point is that you’re helping ease-in your new team member and making them comfortable.

Finally, put yourself in the shoes of your team member. Remember when you started a new job? You were probably uncomfortable. For instance, even little things like asking where the restroom is or how to work the coffee machine can become a moment of anxiety for someone new.  So, take the time to walk the person around the office when onboarding. Show them how the coffee machine works and how to access the restroom. As I stated earlier, get them set up on your communications platforms. Take the time to think about the little things when onboarding. They matter.


© 2019 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.