Best Practices: Step by Step Onboarding for New Hires

By: First Union


Best Practices: Step by Step Onboarding for New Hires

When a new hire comes on board, it can be stressful for them. They feel out of their element and are anxious about socializing within the company culture. Far too many business owners unfortunately just expect new employees to jump into the deep end and automatically adapt to the new workplace environment. This generally isn't what happens though; instead, the hire becomes frustrated and many often quit before really diving into their new role. This is why having an effective onboarding strategy is so critical.

The process of onboarding involves carefully and thoroughly introducing new hires to the company, familiarizing them with procedures and expectations, and getting them well acquainted with the various components of their job responsibilities moving forward.

It can be expensive to hire a new employee--from the recruiting phase to the overall time and energy spent. This is why having an onboarding strategy that works is important so that the new hire actually sticks around, and you consequently get a return on your investment.

Understand You New Hire's Needs

To develop a specific onboarding plan (as every individual is indeed unique/) you first want to get to know the new employee. This means taking the time to do so, this also means listening and asking the right questions. Once you've done this, then you must consider what is known as the four C's as regard your employee's needs upon being initiated into the company.

  • Compliance: They need to be made familiar with all company policies, rules, and regulations. They also need to know the more nuanced information such as, is there a dress code? A late policy? How should they clock in?
  • Clarification: As far as their job requirements, you need to be as specific and as detailed as you possibly can. Make certain they have a handle on all that is expected of them moving forward.
  • Culture: Your company culture in many ways defines you; you, therefore, want any new hire to know all that there is to know about your vision, how you operate, your values and ethic system, and so forth.
  • Connection: Forming bonds with co-workers and managers is critical for any new hire especially at the very beginning when they may otherwise feel like an outsider.

Start at the Recruiting Phase

For the most effective onboarding plan, you must start during recruiting. Onboarding is not a one and done event; rather, it begins before the employee is an employee per se. You want to give any potential candidate a real sense of who you are as a company from the outset. This way they start to feel that connection and that innate sense of familiarity on which they can then build.

Many companies have to recruit plans that leave this out. Many companies also provide an unrealistic overview of the company itself as they are generally focused on acquiring the talent, period. Overselling your business to a prospective employee is only going to hurt you in the end. You must take an open and honest approach to recruitment. Just as you present new hires with your expectations, you want to ensure that you meet theirs. And if you've cultivated an unlikely image of your brand, well, let's just say they are bound to be disappointed.

Plan Ahead

Going from recruiting to onboarding does require a bit of planning. You can't just jump phases without building some solid bridges. You are a teacher of sorts, and as such you need to prepare your lesson plans and your classroom, to use one analogy. Once you've nailed down a start date, it is all about preparation moving forward. That is if you wish to keep the new hire engaged and onboard. Who will be their initial touchpoints? Talk to HR and make sure everything is in order and ready for them to in fact get started properly. Schedule necessary meetings. Make sure they are adequately supplied with any toolsequipment their job requires.

In terms of the actual start day itself…You want to make all necessary introductions right off the bat. Offer a structured orientation and also perhaps integrate some icebreaker activities throughout the day.

Paperwork courtesy of HR is probably going to take up a large portion of their day. So to speed this up, have all paperwork organized and ready to be reviewed and/or signed. Perhaps there is a way to get through some of the paperwork via email ahead of time, thereby making their first day on the job less cumbersome.

Also, be sure and talk directly to the new hire's immediate supervisor if that person will not be you. You might want to set up check-ins over the employee's first month. This way the 3 of you sit down, review any issues, recognize any achievements, and help keep them moving forward in their new role.

Another useful idea as far as the onboarding process is to provide the employee with all relevant checklists. This goes a long way toward clarifying roles and responsibilities as well as just enabling the new hire to stay more focused and organized overall.

The first day on the job is your chance to make a positive first impression and hopefully, this helps in terms of retaining that particular employee.

First Union Lending helps small businesses across the country thrive and grow. If you are considering hiring on more staff and want to integrate a dynamic new onboarding/employee training program, we can get you the funds necessary to do so. Our loan programs are fast and flexible and each is custom-tailored to meet your specific needs. No off the shelf approach with us. If you'd like to learn more about how we can help your small business with a short term loan or line of credit among other such products, then call today, and let's get started!

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