One of the biggest challenges that restoration companies have faced this past year is finding new talent. Not just talent, but, people with potential, people with a great attitude. 
As an industry, I am certain we have invested a great deal in recruiting and hiring new people this past year. Between dollars spent, time, paperwork, clearances, physicals, and training, we make a huge investment in someone before they even have the opportunity to be a productive member of the team. 
Part of the hiring process is a commitment to the new employee as an employer. Many employers, myself included, make a commitment to offer opportunity. We also commit to supplying the tools and support for career growth. I tell people they can be anything that they want to be and have opportunity to grow. Welcome to our company – You are on the path to become a professional restorer!
Some recent observations within my own restoration company had me reflecting on my own first professional experience. As a young college graduate, I reported for my first day of work in a public accounting firm and was beyond eager. I had visions of my rise to the top. I could not wait to work long hours and show the world what I could do in my chosen profession. I reported early the first day and was sent to the human resource office where paperwork and some procedures were reviewed. I was issued a large vinyl bag (a bowling ball?). I sat in my new, empty office with very little but the large vinyl bag; I began feeling anxious. 
I sat there having no idea what was in the bag. It was an adding machine! (I can’t believe that I just told everyone this!) In all of my business preparation courses in high school and after four years of college, I was never exposed to nor taught how to use an adding machine. At the time, an adding machine was the most basic piece of office equipment, essential, and part of your being, in the accounting industry. 
Today, I sit with my adding machine positioned perfectly to my right and it gets utilized every day. (check out the image above for those of you who may not know what an adding machine is.) As a side note, everyone was very nice and someone took me out to lunch on my first day.
Now, back to your company’s promising new recruit. There is nothing more exciting than for a company to find a new shining star that is excited to start his or her new career in restoration. There is nothing more exciting for a person with drive and ambition to start a new job, maybe an entirely new career, and remember there was a promise of opportunity and support. 
We spent a ton of resources on this person and then what? A first day (or prior), we may give a warm welcome, a tour, review the employee manual, some process and procedures, dress code, and so on…? 
I believe there is value in investing time and energy into your company’s on-boarding process. By investing in on-boarding, you are honoring your commitment to a new hire and protecting the investment you already made in them. 
The following are a few suggestions to help you and your leadership team review and possibly improve or start an on-boarding process.  
  1. Establish “on-boarding” as a procedure or process in your organization. It should be formal and in writing. It will be defined and have steps. Allow it to be a tool for you to tell the new person what they should expect once they start their new job and also a guide for the leadership team in your organization.
  2. Define the overall objectives on the on-boarding process. For example:
    1. Make the new person feel comfortable and welcome.
    2. Give him/her an understanding of our core values.
    3. Make them aware and have the ability to understand processes, procedures, and policies.
    4. Give the person the appropriate training.
  3. Chart out your current process, then review and improve. Use approximate time spans for the steps and the entire process. In my own organization, the team has decided to use a six month time span to define the period the company will actively “on-board” Here is an example of what a process may look like:
    1. Get Hired: Compensation and Benefits
    2. First Day or Prior:
      1. Orientation in HR with Supervisor: Policy Manual, Time Sheets, On-Call Team, Uniforms, PPE Bag
      2. Tour of Building
      3. Lunch with a team member
    3. Within the First 30 Days:
      1. Fit Test with Training
      2. Full Day Orientation
      3. Review Some Policy
      4. Restoration Basic Training
    4. 30 DAY Assessment
    5. 60 Day Assessment
    6. Within the First 60 Days:
      1. Establish a training plan
Once you examine your on-boarding process, you may find yourself considering other elements that intertwine such as: 
  1. Training:
    1. Classes and Field
    2. Mechanisms for planning and verifying the training process based on various positions.
  2. What is included in your orientation?
  3. What are you expecting of various people with various backgrounds through process? 
The bottom line is to invest the time and energy into an on-boarding process. This will give that great new hire the best start and have a positive return on your investment. A person who is talented, driven, with a great attitude may not live up to their potential or worse, may not stick around, if this process is not managed proactively and deliberately.