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Are You Forgetting The Most Important Part of Hiring?

Updated: Mar 25

Hiring is one of the costliest things you do as a business as it can leave you exposed and vulnerable. While a good hire can be a turning point in your business, a bad hire can leave you (and your employees) reeling. That’s why the interview and selection process are important. However, it’s what you do after that that will shape the employee and your team the most. No matter the size of your business, if you are bringing someone new on, you must consider the onboarding process.


What Is Onboarding and Why Does It Matter?

Onboarding is the first exposure your new employee has to you and your business. A bad—or nonexistent—onboarding process will override an enjoyable recruitment. Recruiting is the courtship. Employment is the marriage. If you did something in recruitment/hiring that isn’t reflected in the first few days on the job, the new employee will feel a disconnect and may begin pulling away.


Onboarding sets the tone for your fledgling relationship. It shapes how they’ll feel about leadership and their peers. And it can increase employee productivity by 72% and employee retention by 80%. So, it’s worth the effort.


Onboarding goes beyond gifting and training. And should be a consideration for every size business. If you are hiring, you’re never too small to consider onboarding.


Components of a Successful Onboarding Program

The onboarding process should consist of a:

·         Solid introduction to what your business is (mission) and what you do (training). Most employers know how critical training is, but they forget to introduce the new employee to their position in the universe. A good onboarding shows the employee “you are here” and gives them a mission of how they fit into the larger plan, thus giving them purpose early on.

·         Welcome. Onboarding is making them feel part of a team. This should begin with a welcome email (or text) and a “what to expect” on your first day before they arrive. If you run a small operation, this may seem like overkill, but firsts can be unnerving. Employees should know where they can park, what they should wear, and what lunch will look like (will you take them out? Is there a special hour they must take lunch?) Sharing this info will help them feel at ease and excited about joining the team.

·         Buddy. If you’re more than a team of one, consider assigning them a peer buddy to answer their questions early on and check in on them. A buddy can likely give them more attention than you can and will feel more approachable.

·         List of resources. Make sure they know where to go for what. It’s important for the new employee to feel like they have what they need to succeed. Explain how you will work with them to remove roadblocks and what they can do to make that happen. Detail the process.

·         Introductions. Help them get to know others in all departments or verticals. Again, this makes them feel like they’re part of something bigger.

·         Understanding of company culture. If there’s something you require of employees or something you don’t want them to say, like using the excuse “I’m new” to a customer, train them early on it and ensure they understand the “why” behind it. They’ll be more apt to remember the training if they know why it’s critical or what it does for the customer.

·         Establish work/life balance early on. Bring up vacation schedules and how they’re decided. Inform your new employee about breaks and ensure they take them. Model good behavior in establishing a work/life balance for them as well if you want them to have staying power.

·         Explain what they can expect from training now and in the future. Tell the new employee how you prioritize learning and growth.

·         Give them some swag. This is the honeymoon phase for your employee. When you give them some swag, they not only feel welcomed, but they’re also more likely to become a branded advertisement for you because they’re proud of their new role.

·         Be ready. One of the most critical things behind an onboarding process is that it gets you ready for your new employee. If you take the time to recruit, woo, and hire a new employee and then they show up on day one and don’t have a physical space and the tools needed to perform the job, they can feel like an afterthought. Have everything ready for them the day they start.


Do Small Businesses Need Onboarding?

The short answer is yes. The goal behind onboarding is to exhibit company culture early on and create an effective training program and introduction to your business. Even if you’re a company of one, it’s likely you want to continue to grow. This new employee can help you build a foundation for success. So, it’s essential to create a strong one with staying power (aka retention). If you don’t take the time to onboard your employee(s), you’re trying to create a foundation that keeps getting swapped out and lacks consistency. A strong onboarding program is as essential with your first employee as with your 101st employee since you are only as strong as your weakest team member. Never is that more apparent than with employee #1.


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