It can be exciting to add new employees to your workforce, especially those who care about your mission and show their abilities to work hard for your business. But the success of each employee depends greatly on your onboarding program, which can either coach your team to be productive and engaged from the start or set them up to fail.
What is an employee onboarding program?
Employee onboarding programs help your new team members learn the ropes of your business. They involve job training and education about the business itself, including who plays various roles, what the business stands for, and how team members can access support.
A good employee onboarding program pays dividends for small businesses. Here's how:
- It can help you improve employee retention by providing a positive early experience.
- It's a great way to increase employee productivity and early on-the-job proficiency.
- It can help you attract a large number of quality candidates who seek out positive onboarding experiences.
How can I build a strong employee onboarding program?
Consider taking the following steps:
|1||Reach out to your new employees before their start dates. Welcome them and show your excitement for their start date. Offer information that will help them feel confident going into their first day of work.
|2||Have your new-hire paperwork assembled and ready for your employees to complete. In many cases, this will include Form W-4, Form I-9, non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, and compliance forms relevant to your business.
|3||Prepare videos, handbooks, and one-on-one sessions to help your new hires get up to speed on the job and organization and understand the business’s culture and values.
|4||Set up your new employee’s workspace and ensure their computer, phone, and tools are ready in advance.
|5||Create a detailed plan for your employees’ first weeks on the job, which should include job shadowing, an introduction to new software and tools, and meetings with people throughout your organization.
|6||Prepare a warm welcome for your new hires by meeting them at the front door on their first day, planning to have lunch together, and encouraging others to introduce themselves.
|7||Connect each new employee with an in-house mentor who can answer questions, offer insight, and help them integrate into the culture.
|8||Set up a weekly one-on-one meeting to check in with your new hires, answer questions, and ensure they understand the role and the key performance indicators they’ll need to meet. You can also use these meetings to help map your new employees’ future with your business.
Plan to keep these meetings in place for several months to help new employees build confidence.
How can I get help developing my onboarding process?
Valamis is an excellent resource for onboarding. Their site offers numerous free tools that can help you through the most essential tasks. You may want to check out the following templates:
Trainual is another resource that can help you document processes and policies for every role within your business, which can help speed up and simplify the onboarding process. You can get started developing your employee onboarding and training program for free through this link.
For more hands-on help, consider working with a fractional HR rep who can devote hours to your business each month or week to help you with specific HR tasks, including building your onboarding program. Here, you'll find some business owner favorites:
For more articles and advice on leading your team and navigating the day-to-day operations of your business, log into your owner’s portal.