12 Employee Onboarding Best Practices Every Business Owner Needs To Know

If you’ve ever started a new job, only to find the company totally unprepared for your arrival, you know how important onboarding is to the employee-employer relationship!

But proper onboarding isn’t just about first impressions. Taking the time to plan out how new hires will be introduced into your company will affect their future performance, their ability to achieve stated goals and their overall satisfaction with their new positions.

To help you succeed in these respects, consider the following 12-step onboarding process that will help new hires integrate quickly into your company:

Before the New Hire Starts Work

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  • 01. Create an agenda for your new employee’s first week. It’s much easier to plan this in advance than it is to come up with while the new team member is standing there in front of you. If you aren’t sure what to include on this agenda, have reach out to the new hire’s soon-to-be manager or other key coworkers to determine what’s important. If you assign mentors or work buddies, this is a great time do that as well.
  • 02. Create a comfortable work station for your new staff member. Nothing kills a new employee’s confidence in the company faster than being assigned to a dirty, unorganized desk. Setting up the workstation in advance gives new hires their own “turf,” helping them feel more relaxed and confident. Fill the desk with any supplies needed, and place important documents – such as an organizational chart, employee handbook and new hire enrollment paperwork – on the desk for the employee’s review.
  • 03. Provide new employees with a welcome gift. To help the new hire immediately feel like part of the team, place any branded materials you offer on the desk, such as a custom t-shirt, a work bag, a coffee mug, pens, or a pad of paper. Not only will this build brand loyalty right away, it also helps a new employee feel welcomed.
  • 04. Send out helpful information. Help soothe a new employee’s first day jitters by clearly communicating any information that’s needed for the first day. Include details on dress code, parking rules, directions to the office, and who to ask for when upon arrival to minimize new hire stress.

During the First Week

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  • 05. Help new hires get the lay of the land. On the new hire’s first day, conduct a tour of the office. Be sure to include simple, but essential, information such as where their desk is located, where the restrooms and break room are, and where to find the copier and employee mailboxes. Introduce the new employee to other staff members along the way and encourage questions as you go.
  • 06. Block off time for orientation. If you’re in desperate need of help, it can be tempting to throw your new employee into projects as quickly as possible. But doing so can be disorienting and nerve-wracking – two feelings you definitely want to avoid! If possible, use the new hire’s first day as more of an orientation day than a work day. Try to have some current team members take the new employee out for lunch, and set aside time for filling out paperwork, introductory meetings, and casual conversation.
  • 07. Plan a manager’s meeting. Sometime during the first week, set aside time for the new hire to meet with their immediate manager. Use this meeting to give the manager time to get to know the new team member, share their management style, and explain future expectations. It can also be helpful to use this time to let the new employee know what the ramp-up process will be like in the first month or two on the job.
  • 08. Cover important work processes. As the new hire’s first week progresses, have the new employee and manager meet a few more times as needed to discuss important work processes. For example, new staff members need to know email protocol, communication expectations, and internal decision-making processes. They also need demos on how to use various technology and tools that they’ll be using on a daily basis, such as reporting tools, work schedule software, internal communication software, etc.   This is also a great time to set short term and long term goals. If the new hire will take on a supervisory role, they should also meet with their direct reports to begin to build rapport.

The First 30–90 Days

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  • 09. Invest in training. Though the productivity losses can be frustrating, a new hire’s first 30-90 days on the job should be looked at as an initial training period. Train your new employee on everything from the ins and outs of your product line to your brand’s positioning in the market. Once this introductory period is up, you’ll have a much stronger worker than one you threw immediately to the wolves.
  • 10. Allow for job shadowing. One of the best ways to train your new hires is to have them shadow other workers. But don’t just focus on those in the employee’s department. Cross training your workers by having them shadow employees in every department of your company will give them a much better understanding of how your organization works.
  • 11. Build opportunities for feedback into the employee’s first couple of months on the job. Make sure new hires know that they’re free to share and encourage new ideas. They may not be comfortable doing so the first day, but over time, their feedback and insights should be encouraged.
  • 12. Conduct your first review. Finally, after 90 days on the job, the manager should give the new hire their first evaluation. At this point, the new employee should be fully integrated into the company and operating at a full workload. Identifying weaknesses at this stage will allow you to either nip potential problems in the bud or terminate the new hire’s employment before too many resources have been invested in an employee that won’t ultimately work out.

Have another best practice that you feel should be added to this list? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below!

Want to learn more about how to effectively onboard your employees? Tune into our webinar on Thursday, March 19th @ 1PM CDT. We’re talking with Gina Lau from HelloSign. Register here – space is limited!

12 Employee Onboarding Best Practices Every Business Owner Needs To Know