5 Tips for Small Businesses to Effectively Onboard New Hires

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Onboarding new hires is an essential part of growing your small business, and taking extra care throughout the process leads to better employee satisfaction and lower turnover.

Big companies often have cut-and-dry onboarding procedures, and as a small business owner, you have the unique opportunity to make onboarding a more personalized experience. Your onboarding process will be your newly hired employee's first real look at your business and how it operates.  

So, don't leave first impressions to chance—instead, here are five onboarding tips to help you nail it.

Get and Share Essential Information Before Day One

Instead of having your new hire spend hours on their first day filling out paperwork, send forms to them digitally a few days before. Some examples include tax documents like W4s and I-9 forms, direct deposit information, background check releases, benefits information, and employee handbooks and resources.

This is also a great time to share important information they'll need on their first day, such as directions, parking instructions, building codes, and direct supervisor. Sharing this information will help alleviate some of that "first day" stress and ensure your new hire is as prepared as possible.

Bring Your Current Employees Into the Mix

If you already have employees working for you, feel free to bring them into the onboarding equation. The first people your new hire should meet are their colleagues and leaders with whom they'll work side-by-side.

You don't have to do anything special—even a simple "meet and greet" goes a long way toward creating a comfortable and inviting environment for your new hire to thrive in. You can even go the extra mile by providing snacks and refreshments for a small welcoming party.

Giving your new employee a chance to meet everyone will familiarize them with your small business and open up cross-training opportunities with other employees. If you have highly experienced employees, now's the time to let them share some of their insights and talk up your business.

Be Aware of Your New Hire's Needs

It's normal to have first-day jitters, and your new hire will likely have a little anxiety on day one. To mitigate these stressful emotions, put yourself in their shoes: What would you've liked to know sooner? What are common questions that come up over and over? Have any significant changes happened in your small business recently?

By anticipating these questions, you can plan your onboarding accordingly and help your new hire feel confident with their knowledge.

It's also critical to provide a comfortable physical environment for your new hire to get started. If it tends to get hectic in certain departments or around certain times of day, slow things down and help ease them into the pace. In addition, you should create a space dedicated to onboarding and training. Having a home base where they can block out noise and distractions will allow new hires to acclimate to their surroundings without rushing or missing key information.

Make Your Small Business Values Apparent

The onboarding process provides a perfect opportunity to share your company values. Whether it's community engagement, eco-friendly business practices, mental health awareness, or any other movement you believe in, ensuring they understand them is vital.

The first few days of work is when your new hire will start to form an opinion about your business, and actions speak louder than words. Show them what you've done as a small business to accomplish these goals, encourage your current employees to share their stories, and invite them to participate in your company philosophy.

Be Clear About the Job Title and Responsibilities

There's no harm in reiterating essential information about the job during onboarding. Early misunderstandings can lead to confusion and disappointment, which, if left unaddressed, often results in a new hire looking for work elsewhere.

Give your new hire ample opportunities to ask questions about the job and get clarification on what you expect of them. If you have resources available for them to consult, ensure that your new hire knows where to access this information.

Stay Invested In Your Onboarding Process

Your process will change as you adapt to the world, but staying invested in yourself and the people you bring to your team is essential. If new hires see that you believe in your business and you believe in them, then they'll navigate onboarding with ease.

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