Too often, the first days on the job feel awkward and uncomfortable. New employees are greeted with a disorganized process — from hassles with their computer to confusion on company procedures. Too many companies lack a structured approach to new employee onboarding. That’s a mistake because a bad start in a new role sets a tone for how your new hire will feel about your company and their commitment to it.

How do you make sure your new employees get off to a good start?

Employee onboarding, also known as new employee orientation, is the process through which new hires learn how to do their jobs effectively. Too often, companies take a “sink or swim” approach to onboarding. On their first day, employees get handed a pile of forms, take a tour of the facility and are introduced to people they encounter along the way. And that’s about it. Not surprisingly, new hires struggle to figure out what’s expected of them and the rules of their new organization.

The following tips can help your new employee ramp up to speed quickly:

Plan for their arrival. Your new hire shouldn’t be greeted by an empty desk. Put simply, make sure they have a functioning computer, telephone and basic office supplies.

Provide an onboarding packet. You’ve hired the talent; and now you need to make sure they’re off to a productive start. Do this by providing them a welcome packet filled with content that will help them get acclimated. Include company history, core values and what an employee should expect the first day, week and month. You’ll also want to include a staff directory, including key contacts, a map of the building or campus, press clippings and any relevant company policies.

Make introductions. Send an email to the entire company, introducing the new employee. Include a brief biography and a photograph of the employee. Encourage colleagues to introduce themselves to the new hire, and share what they most enjoy about working at the company. This approach may ensure that your new hire will enjoy her job: studies show that people rate being with co-workers as the most enjoyable aspect of their jobs.

Many companies survey their new employees to measure the effectiveness of their onboarding efforts. You should do the same. Expect the process will evolve continuously and you’ll learn what works best from the feedback you receive from your new employees.

As this article shows, the more time you invest in an employee in the beginning, the faster you’ll have a trained and productive worker. For more advice on staffing issues, visit the Nesco Resource website.