Pro Tips for Better Employee Onboarding

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A manager and an employee working through the onboarding process

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 how you onboard them, 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 onboard my new employee?

Consider taking the following steps:

1Reach out to your new employee 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.

Consider sending your new hires a mug, a company shirt, or other swag to welcome them to your team.


If you’d like to create products with your logo, get started with a service like VistaPrint or Printful.


2Have your new-hire paperwork assembled and ready for your employee 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.

You can find many of the forms you need for your onboarding process at


3Prepare videos, handbooks, and one-on-one sessions to help your new hire get up to speed on the job and organization and understand the business’s culture and values.


4Set up your new employee’s workspace and ensure their computer, phone, and tools are ready in advance.

This checklist from Valamis lists some of the most important tasks to take on before onboarding.


5Create a detailed plan for your employee’s first weeks on the job, which should include job shadowing, an introduction to new software and tools, and meetings with people throughout your organization.


6Prepare a warm welcome for your new hire by meeting them at the front door on their first day, planning to have lunch together, and encouraging others to introduce themselves.

This checklist from Valamis can help you organize your employee’s first day on the job.


7Connect each new employee with an in-house mentor who can answer questions, offer insight, and help them integrate into the culture.


8Set up a weekly one-on-one meeting to check in with your new hire, 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.


Are there tools to help me onboard my new employee?

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 start developing your employee onboarding and training program for free through this link.

For more hands-on help to onboard your new employee, 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. Here, you’ll find some business owner favorites:

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For more than 30 years, Insperity has been helping businesses like yours tackle HR challenges and access better benefits, technologies, and services that they might have alone. Their team excels at taking care of businesses and the people they employ. Interested in learning more? Click the Connect button below, and an Insperity team member will walk you through their services, which include full-service HR and specific, piece-by-piece HR tasks.


What’s next?

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