Small business owners do not have the luxury of time to wait for new employees to get used to a new environment and start being productive. Robert Half Finance & Accounting did a study and found that only 54% of CFOs allow new employees a period of three months to prove their worth. In order for an employee to be successful, onboarding has to be more than going round the office in the company of human resource personnel, and filling in various forms. Small businesses should ensure new hires are aware of how the business works, if they want them to be productive from the onset. Kathy Downs says new hires should understand the culture of the company so the management can engage them immediately. Here are some tips when onboarding a new employee:
1. Onboarding starts once the company advertises for the job
The hiring process should incorporate a section where the human resource manager explains the expectations of the position, and the culture of the company. Interviews give an opportunity for management to decide whether a person is suitable to hire a person. Sabrina Son says that a company could spend a lot of money trying to bring a person on board only for them to turn out to be a disappointment. The interviewing panel should focus on behavioral questions during the interview process.
2. Pay attention to the first day
A company should only hire new employees if the workspace is functional, and the introduction to the office surroundings is ready. Over 50% of workers say that this has not been the case when they start at a new company. Some of the workers experienced faulty switches, non-functional phones, broken chairs, inaccessible computers, inadequate supplies, and dimly-lit offices. Some never received a copy of company policies, and others were not taken around the office for formal introductions. Office Team, a staffing service company, did a survey and found out that over 10% did not meet their new colleagues. It is important to ensure that all basics are ready before a new employee starts working. This way, the new employee will feel the company is ready for them.
3. Find a mentor
Owners of small businesses and managers are a busy lot. It is therefore advisable to find a peer from the team in charge of new hires, so they can serve as a point of contact for new employees. Such a mentor should be available to answer any questions and address concerns from the team of new employees. Many of the new employees get uncomfortable facing their manager on their first day at work, so it is prudent to assign them a mentor. Mentors make it easy for the new hires to meet the rest of the staff, as they allow introductions in an informal way. Mentors can also help the new hires fill in various documents, make copies, and show them where offices of key people are located.
As useful as mentors are, managers and business owner should not leave all things to them. The senior management should plan a session with the new hires to assess how they are faring, and check the competence of the mentor. The new employee should know who to ask questions of when many people are not in the office, such as during lunchtime. This will help ensure the mentor or the manager does not have too much work.
4. Have a workable plan
Many companies use 90 days as the default time span for all onboarding exercises. However, there are companies that have split up that time into various segments that help a new employee to understand their role clearly. For instance, the employee should work on lighter duties during the first 30 days. This will help the new hires understand the company well. The management may assign new employees leadership tasks on small projects during the next 30 days. They should later take up bigger and more challenging responsibilities in the final 30 days. As the new hires do this, the human resource personnel should have a way of assessing their capability to understand where they fit best.
5. Be keen on warning signs
A small business needs an employee who is fit for the task, and one whose productivity is efficient from the outset. A business owner should be watchful to make sure new employees are reaching the levels they expect. Showing up late for work, signs of negative energy, failure to interact with other staff, and making small mistakes on small assignments are points that need follow-up. However, a manager should always prepare for the worst. If someone is an introvert, he or she may take longer before warming up to new colleagues. On the other hand, self-motivated workers do not always ask for help unless they hit a snag. It is important to touch base with all new employees, as it ensures management addresses all new issues, and the new hires are satisfied.
6. Follow the law
Many small businesses have inadequate knowledge about various policies and procedures regarding termination of employees, disciplining, and hiring. It is important to have an employee handbook that outlines all policies and procedures a company should follow. Employment practices liability insurance (EPL) is a reliable option that can guide your business.
7. Take note of excelling new hires
Make sure you note any new hire who does well in their work. Applaud every new milestone they pass. Appreciating new hires is a powerful way to give a sense of belonging.
8. Define expectations
You do not want your employees to be uncertain or confused. Make sure your new hires clearly understand their role, and job requirements in the company. Meet with them during the first week so you can discuss deliverables, timelines, performance, and expectations. Explain the roles of key team players, how the team works, and the procedures and processes of the company. Let them give any suggestions they could have so they will feel part of the team early on.
9. Share myths and legends
Almost every company has a particular myth or a legendary tale that has remained for a long time. Articulate hero and villain stories, and point out which ones are myths and legends. Failure to do so may affect the productivity of the new hires once they get to know these stories from other sources.
10. Unpack jargons
There are very few companies which do not have special language at work. The pesky acronyms, phrases, and other mumbo-jumbo words can all be confusing to the new employees. Make sure you have a translation booklet, and share some of the funny phrases while onboarding so the new hires can join in on the fun.
11. Offer proper training
The aim is to ensure that new hires are productive as soon as possible. They can’t do this if there is no proper training. Even though you have hired a team with high experience and education, dumping new hires into work without any guidance will disappoint any team. Training should not only outline the details of the job, but it should also include things that are vital to the new employees. Train them on personal safety, office equipment, computer use, and other programs that are crucial to work.
Continue to check on your new hires regularly to ensure they meet job expectations. Let them develop a sense of trust in you as a manager. As a result, you will have a firm foundation to build a strong working relationship. Finding the right candidate for the job is not an easy task; once you do, make sure you maintain them. A successful onboarding process will help develop your new staff to be wonderful assets to your company.
How does your company ensure a successful onboarding? Are there any do’s and don’ts we have not listed here? Let us know in the comments below.