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Onboarding New Hires: Your Guide to Success

onboarding new hires

Onboarding new hires successfully can be a challenge for business owners. Successful onboarding goes beyond just filling out all of the necessary paperwork and requires intentionality. In this article, we discuss best practices to successfully onboard new hires to your company. 

One key to having a successful business is having high-quality employees. In order to retain such employees, you must ensure they know they are a valuable part of the team. And this starts with the process of onboarding new hires. Investing time into your employees from the beginning is essential in keeping turnover low and your return on investment high. 

If you’re not quite ready to start the onboarding process and are thinking about hiring a new employee for your business, be sure to read our previous article, “4 Things to Do Before Hiring Your Next Employee.” But if you’re onboarding new hires, be sure to follow these best practices to make your employee onboarding as seamless as possible. 

Pre-Boarding: Before Your Employee’s First Day

1. Create an Employee Handbook and Playbook

An employee handbook includes the standard information a new employee will need, such as company mission, values, perks, and policies. An employee playbook, however, takes it a step further. An employee playbook includes things like: 

  • What company culture is like
  • Who the customers/stakeholders are
  • What success looks like for the company
  • Information about team members (include a picture and fun fact for each)

While an employee playbook takes time to create up front, this is a helpful resource for new employees. 

2. Set New Employee Up For Their First Day

When onboarding new hires, it’s important to ensure that your new employee has everything they will need for their first day. Have all of their credentials and logins set and ready to go. Ensure that they have all the equipment they need. And if it’s an on-site employee, make sure that their workspace is set up. 

You can even take it a step further and provide your new employee with some company swag, such as a branded shirt, coffee mug, or water bottle. 

3. Send a Welcome Email With Checklist of Things To Do Before First Day

By sending out a welcome email to your new employee ahead of time, you are allowing them to better prepare for their first day and feel more comfortable. Your welcome email should include things like: 

  • New-hire paperwork
  • Start date, time, and location
  • Employee handbook and playbook
  • Agenda for the first week
  • List of what to bring (including any documents)
  • Any important instructions (such as parking, dress code, etc.)

By sending your employee this information ahead of time, they won’t have to spend their entire first day filling out paperwork. 

Onboarding Best Practices

1. Give a Starting Project With Attainable Goals

Most employees are eager to jump in and get started right away. Set them up for success early by giving them a project to work on with actionable, attainable goals. Be sure to provide guidance and introduce them to the people who can help them along the way. By being able to successfully complete the tasks and reach these goals, they will feel successful and reenergized about their decision to join your team. 

2. Include Social Introductions

Being the new person can be intimidating. Help your new hire feel welcomed by setting up intentional opportunities for them to get acquainted with the team. A new-hire lunch with the team is a great way to break the ice and get to know each other. You can also set up one-on-one introductory meetings with those who your new employee will be working most closely with. 

3. Assign a Peer Mentor

Assigning a peer mentor for your employee will be helpful in making your new employee feel supported. Find someone in a similar role or the same department who can be there to check in on your new employee and answer any questions they may have.

4. Remember, Onboarding Goes Beyond Their First Day

It’s easy to think that the onboarding process stops after the new employee’s first few days on the job. However, they will still feel new and need guidance in the weeks (and even months) beyond that. 

Continue to set up regular follow-up meetings with your new employee for reviews and two-way feedback. Early on (especially the first 60-90 days), these meetings should be more frequent, such as weekly meetings. Taking 15 minutes out of your week to sit down with your employee will make them feel connected and engaged while allowing you to be aware of any potential challenges or frustrations. Beyond that initial period, meetings can become less frequent moving to a monthly or quarterly basis. The key is to engage with and listen to your employee. 

Onboarding Remote Employees

At the core, successfully onboarding remote employees has many of the same best practices as onboarding on-site employees. However, being a remote employee is an entirely different experience than being an on-site employee. Therefore, special attention is required to onboarding remote employees to make them feel like a part of the team. 

1. Set Employee Up Before the First Day

This is the same step mentioned in pre-boarding section. However, ensuring that your remote employee has everything they need is especially important. Send any equipment they may need and ensure that their credentials and logins are set up. Without the necessary equipment and credentials, you’re starting your new employee off with a frustrating situation rather than a positive first experience. 

2. Enthusiastically Welcome Them

This may sound like a small step, but an enthusiastic welcome goes a long way. When working remotely, it’s easy to feel isolated and like you’re not a part of a team. Get off on the right foot by letting your new employee know that you’re excited to have them on the team. 

3. Make Yourself Available

It’s easy to say that you’re available if your employee has any questions. However, it’s another thing to truly make yourself available. Your new employee is sure to have questions and won’t have the option to pop into your or a co-worker’s office to ask. Make sure they feel comfortable reaching out over the remote communication channels your company has in place. Over-communicating information, ensuring that they know you’re there to answer their questions, and actually answering the questions they bring you will help make them feel comfortable bringing their questions to you. 

4. Schedule Their First Couple of Weeks

Meeting everyone they need to know and setting up meetings can be overwhelming for a new employee. Go ahead and schedule out their first week or two of trainings and meetings with colleagues. For each meeting, include a “cheat sheet” so that your new employee has all of the context they need for the meeting, like information about who they’re meeting with, how they will work together, and what questions to ask. 

When creating their schedule, be sure to include multiple breaks. Sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day is bad for anyone’s health. 

5. Other Ways to Adapt for Remote Employees

Remember, a little extra effort goes a long way. When remotely onboarding new hires, here are some other small but mighty ways you can really wow your new remote employee and make them feel like a part of the team. 

  • Schedule a Zoom lunch and send them a food delivery gift card (DoorDash, GrubHub, etc.)
  • Send company swag, such as a shirt, hoodie, mug, water bottle, and/or mouse pad
  • Give a home office stipend to make their home work space as comfortable as possible
  • Send a plant to put in their home office
  • Schedule social gatherings for the team via Zoom

We’re here to help!

Successfully onboarding new hires is important for numerous reasons. But at the end of the day, retaining high-quality employees affects your bottom line. And retaining such employees starts with a positive onboarding experience. 

If you’re in a season of growing your business and hiring, our Client Advisory Services may be the right next step for you. With our Client Advisory Services, we can advise you on the financial impacts paying new employees will have on your business, run “what if” scenarios regarding your business financials, and provide sound guidance on your financial next steps. To learn more about our Client Advisory Services, reach out to us to set up your free consultation.