SME Tips

Onboarding New Employees the Right Way in 6 Easy Steps

December 16, 2021

Onboarding New Employees the Right Way in 6 Easy Steps -- Your Small Business Guide

Onboarding new employees is essential for business success. A new hire’s initial experience with the company defines their levels of engagement and retention into the future. You need to get new employee onboarding right to set your employees and your company up for success.

Particularly if you’re a small business, you want to minimize turnover and maximize productivity to save on costs. Proper onboarding can do just that.

No matter the phase your business is in, the six steps outlined in this article will help improve your employee onboarding process.

The Benefits of Properly Onboarding New Employees

Believe it or not, onboarding new employees the right way is essential for productivity and retention. A poor onboarding experience doubles the likelihood that an employee looks for a job elsewhere. Further, standardizing new employee onboarding increases retention of new hires by 50%.

Unfortunately, 58% of companies state their onboarding only focuses on paperwork and processes. Only 37% of companies have onboarding programs that run longer than 30-days, and new hires are expected to complete an average of 54 activities during onboarding. Yikes!

Nailing down a proper and efficient new hire onboarding checklist is to the benefit of you as a small business and your employees. Here’s how to do precisely that.

6 Steps to Take When Onboarding New Hires

Here are six steps to follow to ensure new hires assimilate correctly with your company.

Step 1: Understand the Difference Between Informal and Formal Onboarding

In reality, employees always undergo an onboarding process. However, the depth of this process is determined by whether it’s informal or formal.

Informal onboarding is a typical picture you might expect when thinking of a new hire. Onboarding new employees this way means throwing them in the mix, helping them out perhaps only on the first day, making them complete loads of paperwork, and expecting them to figure out the rest over time.

Formal onboarding is a standardized process decided by you, the company, ahead of time and applied across all new hires. It focuses on properly assimilating new hires, setting them up for long-term success, familiarizing them with company culture, and emphasizing their development into the future.

From now, commit yourself to formally onboarding new employees.

Step 2: Be Transparent and Prepare the Hire Ahead of Time

Your onboarding program begins as you prepare your new hire up for their first day at work. Before day one, emphasize candidate (in this case, new hire) experience. Considering 63% of people do not find employer communication sufficient, focus on transparency from the get-go.

The people in charge of bringing this new hire on board should create a positive onboarding experience. This means instilling excitement about the new role and company. Consider sending a welcome email featuring messages from future coworkers.

Further, share information when onboarding new employees, even before starting work. This includes:

  • An itinerary for at least week one
  • A checklist of assignments and goals for at least week one
  • Their company phone, email, chat software login, or anything else

All of this excites the new hire even before they start.

Step 3: Welcome the New Employee on Day One

The worst feeling in the world for new employees is showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on day one only to feel ignored. An employee’s first day sets the trajectory of their entire career at your company. Especially as a small business, you want to increase employee retention, as the costs of losing and hiring new candidates are considerable.

Day one should include:

  • Formal training on company tools, practices, and more
  • A roadmap to tangible work at the company
  • Establishing clear expectations
  • Making clear who different points of contact are and when to reach out to them
  • Reminding the new employee why you chose them and which skills they can apply where

Formalize the day one procedure in advance when onboarding new employees, and apply it to all new hires.

Step 4: Establish Regular Check-Ins

Yes, employees actually want check-ins! 84% feel they’re important, with an average of 30% finding them “very important.” The youngest workforce members find check-ins even more essential, with 40% rating them as “very important.”

Regular check-ins allow managers to help new employees reach their goals, work on projects that matter, and feel heard at the company. When onboarding new employees, make sure to schedule these regular check-ins with immediate supervisors or other coworkers who could serve as a support system.

What do good check-ins have in common?

  • Preparation. Make sure the person your employee checks in with is clear about the employee’s projects, goals, pain points, deliverables, and more.
  • Specific discussion points. Aimless check-ins are useless. These calls should have talking points, such as areas an employee can improve, praise for good work, coaching moments, and more.
  • Keep it moving. Awkward silences are uncomfortable. Coax the employee along by asking follow-up questions. These can include questions about their work, if they’re on track, what they’ve been working on, or asking for their feedback or input.
  • Documentation. Keep track of your check-ins and what was discussed. That way, this can be referenced by both people for future sessions. Record feedback, key points, and action items.
    Evaluation. Have the manager assess their conduct during the check-in. Did they ask questions, listen actively, provide effective feedback, coach well, and pay attention?

Step 5: Familiarize the New Hire with Company Culture

46% of job seekers find company culture to be an important part of deciding where to apply. Employees who dislike their company’s culture are 24% more likely to resign. Familiarizing hires with company culture is an essential part of onboarding new employees. If you don’t have a real company culture yet, it’s time to create one.

Here are some steps you can take to establish strong company culture (do this before onboarding new employees):

  • Positivity vs. negativity. Does your company focus more on punishment or positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors? Which culture creates the outcomes you value?
  • Company mission. Your company mission is the guiding star for culture. It defines your organization’s values and employees’ subsequent decisions.
  • Focus on diversity. Diversity in the workplace increases productivity, morale, and more. It’s one thing to say you care about it, but it’s another undertaking to champion diversity. If you want to make it part of your company culture, work hard to bring on diverse employees and support candidates from underrepresented minorities.
  • Talk with your employees. Already have people working for you? They’ll be essential when it comes to establishing culture. Ask them what they like about working for you, how they feel culture could be improved, what values they care most about, and if they feel heard.
  • Promote your company culture, always. Call people out when they’re violating organizational culture, and make employees feel safe being honest about their peers’ actions. Publicly reward people who uphold your company’s culture.

Communicate all of this with new hires, especially your company’s mission, values, and goals. This should establish a purpose that your new employees can work towards. Also include safety aspects, such as rules around conduct, harassment, and more.

Make clear that your company holds employees accountable for their actions and that anyone should feel comfortable reporting violations. This makes company culture a reality, not a vague notion.

Step 6: Focus on Long-Term Employee Engagement

The benefits of employee engagement are far and wide. When onboarding new employees, make all activities about setting the employee up to be as engaged as possible.

Employee engagement leads to:

  • Increased team performance
  • Lower turnover rates
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher employee retention
  • Less stress at work
  • Lower chance of burnout

Clearly, employee engagement matters. Now, how do you go about creating it?

90% of employees feel flexible work arrangements would boost their morale, so consider creating a flexible work schedule. Let people work remotely at least some of the time; accommodate requests for days off or personal emergencies.

Invest in proper technology, so your employees can be as efficient as possible. You can also provide ongoing professional development opportunities -- seminars, educational stipends, or professional publication subscriptions.

Final Word

Onboarding new employees is an essential part of growing a successful company. It defines your people’s retention and productivity into the future.

Managing all your people correctly is difficult. You need the proper tools to keep track of all the relevant information. Rayl’s platform will offer people management tools such as timesheets, eDocs, group chats, video meetings, and more. Soon, use Rayl to keep track of all your employees and ensure a positive experience.

Similar posts