With all the demands of running a small business, new employee orientation often falls by the wayside, and new hires are left to sink or swim. But neglecting onboarding – the latest term for getting a new employee acclimated – prevents new hires from reaching productivity quickly and can make them feel unwelcome. That adds up to a frustrating experience for new hires and results in higher turnover. Employee orientation may be easier than you think – with a little creative planning, you can create an onboarding program that can:
- Make new hires reach productivity sooner.
- Reduce their stress.
- Improve employee retention.
- Save money by reducing turnover.
- Create a positive attitude and increase job satisfaction.
Create your programSpend some time thinking about what your onboarding program should accomplish. Think about the kind of impression you want to make on your new hires, what they need to help them reach productivity as quickly as possible and what will help them feel like they're part of the team.
Reduce first-day jittersMake the first day less stressful on new employees by making sure they have the basics, including directions to your location, parking information and the name of the person they should ask for when they arrive.
Celebrate their arrivalMake new hires feel welcome. This can be as simple as taking a new employee to lunch, hanging a "Welcome" banner on their desk or giving them a company T-shirt.
Get them up and running fastTo get employees up to speed quickly, make sure they have the tools they need before they arrive for their first day. Have an office or cubicle set up with a computer (including necessary software programs) in place, a phone number and an email account ready to go.
Choose an onboarding buddyThere's no doubt new hires are going to need a little hand-holding in the beginning. Assign one of your other employees to be the new person's mentor or buddy to help guide them through the onboarding phase.
Get involvedTake part in the onboarding process by touching base with new employees on a regular basis. Don't wait for new hires to seek you out with questions or problems. Be pro-active and ask them how they're doing and if there's anything they need to help them do their job better.
- Anticipate questions your new hires may have. Give them a list of company FAQs that cover the nuts and bolts as a quick reference tool.
- If you have an employee handbook, don't expect a new hire to read it from cover to cover on day one. Go over key points and policies with them initially.
- Introduce new hires to co-workers and give them a tour of your facility.