The first day of a new job can be overwhelming for new employees. There are company policies and procedures to absorb, colleagues to meet, and job duties to learn. That stress can make the first few days of a job uncomfortable. As a small business owner, it makes sense for you to make that transition as easy and pleasant for the new hire as possible.
Taking some simple steps will help your new employee feel more welcome and appreciated at your company. Making the process less stressful enables the worker to get to know the team and their role, without additional worries pulling their attention. It can also help increase morale, enhance team-building and decrease turnover.
Here are some simple tips for successfully onboarding new employees.
1. Talk to your current employees
The people who best know what it's like to be the new person in your business are people who were once new in your business. Ask them how they felt their onboarding process went. What challenges did they face? What went well? What could be improved on? What were their concerns when they started? How long did it take them to feel comfortable? What might they have done differently?
Chances are, their experiences, thoughts, and feelings will be similar to the new person's. After you've spoken with your current employees, see if there are ways to address those challenges. Could the training duration have been longer? Would new employees benefit from a mentor within your company? Are there frequently asked questions you can answer without waiting for the new person to bring them up?
2. Address their concerns
Every new employee has questions they're afraid to ask, and being afraid to ask questions makes people feel less welcome and more uncomfortable. To help ease new employees in, anticipate the questions they'll have and answer them so they aren't stuck wondering about potential issues. Tell them about their compensation, benefits and other bonuses to working at your business. Let them know some of the drawbacks and how you compensate for those issues. This information should also be available in writing.
The new person often has to take in a lot of information in a short time, and somehow try to remember it all. Don't expect that they will retain everything. Where possible, provide documents they can refer to as they learn more about your company. Topics such as reporting structure, benefits and compensation, and company policies can all be written out for easy reference. Tailor the documents—put the new employee's name at the top of the paperwork, for example—so they feel more welcome.
3. Introduce new employees
Don't wait for your current employees to walk up to the new person and make introductions, schedule time to introduce the new employee to colleagues, including the senior leadership or managers at your firm. That individual time gives new employees a chance to get to know the company and get a good feel for how their new coworkers interact.
It also helps the new worker understand who does what within your company, and who to turn to if they need assistance or have questions.
It's best if you view onboarding new employees as a month-long process, not as a one-day primer on your company. Over the course of the month, check in with the new hire to see how they're doing. Ask how their first few days (or weeks) are going. Find out if there's anything they need. Schedule lunches or group discussions to give your new employee a chance to feel more comfortable with their colleagues.
Everyone feels more relaxed when the process of onboarding a new employee is smooth and stress-free.