The first week is especially important for the work climate and future performance of new recruits. This is why it is advisable to properly structure the initiation phase. An “onboarding” process (in the sense of bringing someone aboard) helps ensure that foreign staff members:
- are able to work autonomously
- are culturally integrated into the company within a short time. That means that they get to know German work culture and identify with the corporate culture
- are properly integrated into their team and develop a good relationship with their line manager and other colleagues
The onboarding process general starts at the signing of the work contract and ends at the earliest after the probation period and at the latest after one year. The important thing is that you should standardise tasks and processes. Checklists and guidelines can be helpful here, for example. That will save you time every time you take on a new recruit. In individual cases, it might be useful to foster awareness of diversity in the existing workforce by means of training courses. That will create a better understanding of intercultural collaboration at work.
You can acquire in-depth knowledge about planning and implementing an onboarding process by attending continuing education seminars for executives. You can also get advice from personnel management consultants.
Holding welcome days
Welcome days are a key, practical onboarding tool. The goal of a welcome day is to introduce new recruits to the work environment and their future tasks. The schedule for a first day of work could resemble this:
- Welcoming speech: Welcome the new recruits and introduce their work colleagues.
- Present the company: If you did not already present the company during your first interview with the staff member, now is a good opportunity to take a tour of the respective business divisions and departments.
- Discuss tasks and introduce them to their post: Show your new staff members where they will be working and their equipment. Discuss pending tasks with them and what the next steps will be during the first few days. You might also discuss personnel matters that have not yet been settled once again.
- Hand over the welcome pack: Put the most important information about the company that can help newcomers find their way around and serve as a reference together in a folder.
The “Living in Germany” section on the Qualified Professionals page of the Make it in Germany website also contains a number of topics of relevance to the first few days in Germany.
Example of best practice
Innogames GmbH integrated onboarding and welcome days into its concept of a corporate welcoming culture. In 2015, InnoGames was awarded the Success in Diversity award by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Read more about its successful concept.
List of available German courses (German, English)
Information about special German courses for day-to-day work (German, English)