How to improve your employee onboarding experience
While most small businesses spend a great deal of time and effort in finding the right employees, they often fail to capitalize on their newly hired talent by rushing or not properly onboarding an employee for their new role.
Before you bring on your next new hires consider the following 7 common onboarding mistakes made by small businesses.
1. Get involved in the planning
If you have a human resources person or department, they’ll likely have a large role in the new employee onboarding, but it’s important that you take an active role in what the employee’s first couple days and weeks look like. While it's important for newly hired employees to fill out their tax forms and enroll in benefits, this process should not take the place of new-hire orientation. Rather than waste valuable time on paperwork, consider sending new employees a package of documents, or give them a link to complete before they start their first day of work. On their first day, an employee should be greeted by their direct supervisor who spends at least an hour with them to begin building a relationship.
2. Prepare a workspace and equipment
There is no excuse to leave newly hired employees without workspace or equipment. Make sure to order any necessary supplies, set up programs, and needed usernames prior to their first day. If you have an IT support person or department, make sure they’re aware and are prepared to support the employee in case there are any issues with equipment or programs.
3. Provide an agenda
All newly hired employees should be supplied with a detailed agenda prior to their first day. The agenda should outline the schedule for their first day including time for introductions, paperwork, and any training. This will help the employee know what to expect and put them at ease. Creating an agenda for their first week that includes additional training and sets an expectation for when they’ll begin work on their own is also a good idea.
4. Make introductions
Co-workers are an excellent resource for newly hired employees. Make sure you announce your new hire to your current employees prior to them coming on board, there's nothing more gratifying to new employees than to be enthusiastically greeted by the co-workers who have taken the time to find out who they are and how they can contribute. On the new employee’s first day, spend time introducing them to their team and other employees, even if they won’t be working with them. If there are any other newly hired employees make sure they’re connected so that they can be a resource for one another.
5. Don't focus on negatives
It’s important to clearly discuss expectations early in the onboarding process, but make sure they’re reviewed in a positive manner. A new employee needs to be encouraged to be engaged in their work.
6. Create a comprehensive training plan
Training provides a critical foundation for ongoing success in a company. Not only does a well-trained employee perform better, but the employee will also have more confidence when interacting with customers and will be far more likely to succeed in their role. If your organization has a high turnover rate within the first 6 months, chances are that poor training is the culprit. Untrained new hires often become disillusioned with an organization that lacks structure, training, and follow-up. During the first 90 days of hire, an employee should have enough training to be self-sufficient for at least a week at a time, regardless of the position they hold.
7. Give access to information resources
Not all employees learn at the same rate using the same methods. Make sure new hires have access to training material in various formats. This includes training handbooks, training videos, and employee shadowing. Rather than force a particular format, concentrate on the results needed to excel at the position. Make sure to give feedback on a regular basis throughout the process.
For a new employee, their first day on the job should be a day of promise and inspiration and with a little preparation, you can make that happen.