New Agent Onboarding Tips

Your travel business is a success! So much so that you must hire a person to help you better serve your clients. Or you want to bring in someone who can provide services you can’t. You’ll want to help your new hire transition into your firm as smoothly as possible.

We recommend the following 12-Step Onboarding Process:

Before the Start Day

1. Create an agenda for the first week. It’s much easier to plan ahead than to do this while the new team member is standing before you. If you aren’t sure what to include, reach out to other staff to determine what’s important. This is a great time to assign mentors or work buddies.

2. Create a comfortable workstation for your new staff member. Nothing kills a new employee’s confidence in the company faster than being assigned to a dirty, unorganized desk. Workstations give new hires their own “turf,” helping them feel more relaxed and confident. Provide all supplies and equipment, and place important documents—e.g., organizational chart, employee handbook, new hire paperwork—on the desk for the employee’s review.

3. Present a welcome gift. To help the new hire immediately feel like part of the team, place on the desk any branded materials you offer—a custom t-shirt, tote bag, coffee mug, pens, or notepad. Not only will this build brand loyalty right away, it also helps a new employee feel welcome.

4. Send out helpful information. Help soothe first-day jitters by clearly communicating any information needed for the first day. Include details on dress code, parking, directions to the office, and whom to ask for upon arrival.

During Week One

5. Help new hires get the lay of the land. On Day One, conduct an office tour. Be sure to include essential information: location of the employee’s desk, the restrooms, breakroom, copier room, and employee mailboxes. Introduce the new employee to other staff members along the way and encourage questions.

6. Block off time for orientation. If you’re desperate for help, it can be tempting to throw your new employee into projects as quickly as possible. But doing so can be disorienting and nerve-wracking—feelings you want to avoid! If possible, use the first day as more of an orientation day than a workday. Try to have current team members take the new employee out for lunch and set aside time for filling out paperwork, introductory meetings, and casual conversation.

7. Plan a manager’s meeting. Schedule time for the new hire to meet with a direct manager. Use this meeting to give the supervisor time to get to know the new employee, share his or her management style and explain expectations.

8. Cover important work processes. Have the new employee and manager meet a few more times during the week as needed to discuss important processes. For example, new staff members need to know email protocol, communication expectations, and internal decision-making processes. They need demos on how to use technology and tools, such as reporting tools, work schedule software, internal communication software, etc. This is a great time to set short- and long-term goals. If the new hire will take on a supervisory role, he or she also should meet with direct reports to begin to build rapport.

During the Next Three Months

9. Invest in training. Though the productivity losses can be frustrating, a new hire’s first 30-90 days should be looked at as an initial training period. Train your new employee on everything from the ins and outs of your product to your brand’s market position. Once this introductory period expires, you’ll have a much stronger worker than one you immediately threw to the wolves.

10. Allow for job shadowing. A great way to train new hires is to have them shadow other workers. But don’t just focus on those in the employees’ department. Cross training your workers by having them shadow employees in every department will give them a much better understanding of how your organization works.

11. Build feedback opportunities into the employee’s first few months. Make sure new hires know they’re free to share new ideas. They may not be comfortable doing so at first, but, over time, their feedback and insights should be encouraged.

12. Conduct your first review. After 90 days, the manager should give the new hire the first evaluation. At this point, the new employee should be fully integrated into the company and operating at a full workload. Identifying weaknesses now will allow you to either correct potential problems or terminate the new hire’s employment before too many resources have been invested in an employee who ultimately won’t work out.


For more learning, register for the You Hired a New Person, Now What? webinar TOMORROW at 2 pm (EST).