5 Tips for Onboarding Employees in a Small Business Setting

No matter your organizational size, onboarding is essential to new employee’s future engagement and retention within the company. And although it’s important, many organizations continue to fail when it comes to onboarding. George Bradt, co-author of “Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time,” explained how “employers are generally terrible at onboarding, as 40 percent of new leaders fail in their first 18 months on the job because, ‘they don’t get it, they don’t deliver, or they fail to adjust to changes down the road.’ ”

As a small business, it’s important to onboard in the right way without breaking the bank. Employees need to not only feel welcomed on day one, but grow their careers and work relationships down the road. Below are five tips to better onboard employees in a small business setting.

1. Light first day of work

On the employee’s first day, it’s important to keep the workload light. HR guru, Carly Guthrie, explains how new employees should show up to the office around 11, not 9 a.m. That way it gives managers a chance to really be prepared when the employee walks through the front door and not be preoccupied with other work.

Furthermore, this employee’s day will be chalked full of brand new information, so it’s important to keep the workload light, with only a couple of meetings, an office tour and meeting fellow coworkers. This is also a great time to implement training before diving into the daily grind.

2. Help employees make connections early on

Another important aspect when it comes to onboarding the right way is helping new employees build relationships with their coworkers. As a manager, help employees make connections within the first week by not only introducing them to their new team, but different departments within the organization.

Additionally, be sure you properly introduce the employee to the organization as a whole by posting in the company newsletter or sending out an email with a simple paragraph about the new employee, their job position and maybe some likes and dislikes. Company meetings are another great way to introduce new employees. In the end, employees will value the effort companies make to introduce and welcome them to the companies.

3. Training

From custom elearning development to simple HR training and job shadowing, training is a great way to help engage and motivate new employees, and create a stronger workforce. Training also helps employees feel more comfortable with company customs and work ethic. Employees will value an organization more that puts an effort into training and helping them develop new skills to further their career within the company.

Another great training mechanism that will help employees integrate into the company better and also build better coworker relationships is a mentorship program. Established employees are a great resource to help train and teach newer employees, and it’s also a great way to give value and worth to the employee’s job. Plus, it will make the new employee feel more comfortable to ask questions pertaining to the job.

4. Have a C-level meeting/lunch

Again, in order to make the employee feel welcome, take them out to lunch with upper management or have lunch brought in during the employee’s first week. It’s a great, casual way for new employees to rub elbows with C-level executives and learn their managing style and what they envision the future of the company will be.  

5. Feedback

Lastly, after the first week, month and 90 days, it’s important to have feedback channels where new employees can express the good and not so good aspects of your organization’s onboarding program. By having an open culture, it can help newer employees feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions, and when an organization listens to this feedback and makes changes, it instills better employee appreciation.

All and all, it’s important for organizations to have a strong onboarding program that not only makes the employee’s feel welcomed, but introduces opportunities for career growth and value within their job position.



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