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Onboarding Your New Hires the Right Way for Your Small Business - The First 90 Days

AUTHOR: Sogol Sabbar

Now that you’ve hired your employees, have you thought about how you’re going to onboard them so that they will be prepared for success? Onboarding is not the same as training, it’s the steps you take when you provide your new employee everything he or she needs to know and understand, including rules, regulations, processes, and policies. This part of your small business can be time-consuming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. In a previous post, we talked about how to find great employees and train them the right way. In this post, we want to show you how to onboard your employees the correct and straightforward way.

The first 90 days, is usually a probationary period. It's also the most pivotal time for new employees as they build rapport with your company, management, and co-workers. A study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that when support levels were high from management and other co-workers, new hires often showed more positive attitudes towards their job and worked harder towards their tasks and projects. And the opposite occurred when support and direction were not offered.

In addition, when employees were given professional attention, they were more likely to succeed at their job and stay with the company, which also helped keep recruiting costs low and productivity high. Another study done by the Wynhurst Group supports this as the report indicated that 58% of employees who were on-boarded appropriately were more likely to remain with an organization after three years.

Preparing a checklist for the first 90 days of employment is critical in keeping your employees’ day-to-day progress managed and organized. Here are some important things you should put on your checklist according to Glassdoor.

Before the First Day

As soon as your new hire has signed his or her company paperwork, it’s time for you to prepare them for their first day. The first day is all about making them feel as comfortable as possible. You don’t want them leaving the first day feeling confused or not welcome, so make sure to send your new hire a friendly email or give them a call before their first day and walk them through what they can expect.

  • Clearly, explain the parking situation at your company. If they are commuting a long distance, help them and give them a couple of commuting options.
  • Let them know what time they should arrive and where to meet you. If they are to meet with a specific person at your company, make sure they know that person’s name and the person is well prepared to offer a warm welcome. And be sure to have a backup person just in case there are any issues
  • Show them how excited you are to have them on your team and are prepared for them to start.

The First Day

When starting any new job, the first day is always nerve-racking. We’ve all been there, even as an entrepreneur you can relate. So many thoughts and questions run through our minds. “Will I like working here? Will my new co-workers like me? I hope I don’t make any mistakes.” It’s natural.

As the boss, it is your responsibility to make sure you put your new hire at ease. This goes beyond making them feel welcome.

  • As soon as your new hire arrives, show them to their workstation, allow them to settle in and put their personal belongings in a safe place.
  • Start an overall tour around your business. Make sure they know where the bathrooms and key destinations are; i.e. copy room, changing rooms, inventory and supply rooms.
  • If you’re able to, assign a designated person on your team to help them with anything they need for the first couple of weeks. This will ensure your new hire is taken care of if and when you are not around.

The First Week

By now your new hire has been acquainted for a couple of days, so it’s time to give them more details about your business and set them on their way.

  • Appropriately introduce your new hire to all your staff members. Make sure you tell them who each person is and what their roles are in your company. It is important that your new hire knows what each employee is responsible for so that they know the appropriate person to reach out to if they ever needed anything.
  • Give them a specific overview of the company structure, the function of specific teams (if applicable) and how your new hire will and should interact with them.
  • Make sure your new hire has been given the correct information about company policies such as sexual harassment and protocol for time off and sick days.
  • It is a good idea to set sometime during this week to sit down one-on-one with your new hire to ask how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns. This will show your new employee that you care about their overall well-being at your company and help you nip any issue in the bud so that their productivity keeps rising. If you feel that this might be too formal for your business type, you could even do this during your lunch breaks. Offer to take your new employee out to lunch and have an informal discussion about how everything is going.

30, 60 and 90 Days In

Once your employee has moved past the first 30 days and moved towards their 90 days, they aren’t so new anymore. They’ve now been with your company long enough to give you feedback on their experience. They’ve probably interacted with a good number of customers, have been familiarized with most of the staff and internal processes and procedures. They’ve started their training and depending on the learning curve are ready to take on more challenges. This is the time you can take full advantage of soliciting feedback from your new employee.

  • Prepare a questionnaire of some kind that is appropriate for the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Ask questions about the training they’ve received, the culture they've experienced and have them share the things they are enjoying or not enjoying. Ask them if they would change anything within your business and how they would go about changing it. The feedback you will gain from doing this will help you understand if you are taking the appropriate steps with your employees to ensure their success. Their success means productivity for your business, so make sure you set aside some time to do this.

Remember, if your new hires are trained and on-boarded well, they will pay it forward to help you with your future new hires. It’s a rippling effect that you can benefit from; once you nurture and onboard one correctly, you will be ensured that they will be willing to help you do the same for your future new hires. This will also free up your time to do other things to keep the needle moving in your small business.

A Final Point

It is important to always remember to communicate the big picture of your company to all of your employees. Educate them on your company’s goals and aspirations and familiarize them with the culture of your business. Tell them who your core customers are and the tone they should use with them. Give them examples of best practices and what they should do and never do. If you conduct your business differently during specific seasons and holidays, give them insight about those, so they will be prepared once the time comes. When your employees understand the high-level details about your business, they will be sure to strategies and accomplish tasks and projects more successfully.

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