Onboard a new hire

Smart small businesses and nonprofits know that employee turnover is something to keep to a minimum.

You take pride in the great experiences you’re offering your customers and the impact you’re making in your community.

And you know that your employees are an important part of your daily success.

But you’re also working with limited bandwidth. You’ve already taken the time to go through the hiring process and find a great candidate.

It’s tempting to skimp on the onboarding experience by telling yourself: They’re smart, they’ll figure it out.

Investing time in your employees is the best way to keep employee turnover low and your return on investment high.

The first few weeks a new hire is on the job are some of the most crucial because you’re setting expectations and building their personal investment in your business or organization.

Get it right from the start and you’ll reap the rewards. Overlook the onboarding experience and your new employee could leave or flounder — both of which are extremely detrimental when you’re operating on slim margins.

So, where do you begin? Here are five easy ways to successfully onboard new hires:

1. Create an employee playbook.

Start with a simple overview of your business or organization. Then, go beyond your mission, values, perks, and policies to include things like:

  1. Who are your customers/stakeholders?
  2. What does success look like for this organization?
  3. What’s the culture?
  4. Who are the team members? (Tip: Provide pictures and fun facts for each teammate)

Although developing the playbook takes some time up front, you’ll have a great ongoing resource once developed. If things ever go off track with an employee down the line, it’s good to have resource to reference.

2. Create a checklist.

Give your new hires some direction and actionable items right from the beginning. Include specific things they must have and/or know, and how to access them.

This could be anything from a list of your top products with helpful descriptions to a step-by-step checklist for filling out new hire paperwork.

Guide them to the resources and introduce them to other people who can help them along the way. With clearly laid out action items they can hit the ground running and make progress from day one.

3. Set up one-on-one time to get and give feedback.

Put aside just 15 minutes a week (for at least the first 60-90 days of a new hire’s employment) to keep them feeling connected and engaged. This keeps you in touch with their success and aware of any potential challenges/frustrations.

If setting aside a few minutes a week seems too much, just remember, there are 2,400 minutes in a 40 hour work week. Taking just 15 of those 2,400 minutes can transform the likelihood of your new hire’s success and their contributions to your company.

4. Set up a customer/stakeholder “meet and greet” for your new employee.

One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “You can spend 100 hours in front of a whiteboard trying to figure out what your customer wants, or you can go spend an hour with one and find out the truth.”

Providing your new hire an opportunity to directly hear from a customer/stakeholder is a game changer in how they view the mission of your business. Giving them direct access to the people your business or organization is dedicated to will increase their engagement and show them the impact of their work.

5. Develop FAQ lists.

What 5-10 questions does every new employee ask you in the first six months? What are the frequently asked questions that customers/stakeholders ask?

Compile these FAQs with detailed answers and review during the onboarding process. This will save you time and empower employees to access answers themselves without seeking out your guidance as often.

Like it or not, first impressions matter.

Start making a good one right off the bat by treating onboarding as a part of your business’s success.

Your efforts will pay off with higher employee engagement and retention — and your business will quickly benefit from employees that are giving their all each day.

Do you have any onboarding best practices? Tell us about it in the comments!

Read more: