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Onboarding new employees is key for small business owners



dickjones
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January 22, 2013
With the New Year here, are you hiring a lot of new employees?

Do you have a plan and a process for quickly getting new hires productive? Have you outlined a timetable with specific objectives you want accomplished by new employees?

Recruiting, interviewing and hiring new employees takes a lot of time, but once they are hired, you need to get them productive as quickly as possible. That's why a good onboarding plan and process is a necessity for all small business owners.

Onboarding is the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors to become effective contributors for your small business. There are many facets of a good onboarding process, and it all starts with preparation. Preparing to onboard new employees allows you to create a comprehensive checklist and timetable for all of the activities associated with the onboarding process.

Onboarding typically starts with an orientation session where new employees complete tax and benefit forms, and also become familiar with the standard operating procedures of the company. Formal meetings combined with self-study tools using print material, videos and computer-based methods can be used to ensure each new employee fully understands how the company operates.

Making the onboarding process fun, not overly formal, and interactive is a great way to engage new employees and make them feel like a part of your team. Telling new hires about the history of your company, how it was started and what the future plans are will help a new employee to better understand their role in your company.

While everyone wants their new hires to be productive quickly, the best onboarding programs are not conducted in a few days, but carefully planned over weeks and even months. Conveying too much information at one time reduces the retention levels and often leads to having to review the material again. Providing basic information that new employees can read prior to their start date, and then formally covering this information again during the onboarding process significantly increases retention.

Onboarding new employees should produce a pleasant experience rather than a checklist of tasks and processes.

Research has concluded that a strong onboarding process leads to better job performance, higher levels of job satisfaction, a stronger commitment to the organization, better retention and a significant reduction in the stress associated with taking a new job.

Preparing, planning and executing a good onboarding program will ensure you get the most out of your new employees.

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  1. report print email
    Transactional Onboarding vs Acculturation Onboarding
    January 23, 2013 | 05:48 PM

    This is a well written article and I couldn't agree more that the goal of an effective onboarding plan is to get a new employee productive as quickly as possible. To further define onboarding, I think we can classify the completion of tax forms, policy acknowledgements, and benefit forms, as transactional onboarding. There are many transactional onboarding vendors on the market but only a handful automate all of the electronic forms. Next, acculturation onboarding would be defined as assimilating a new employee into the company over a long period of time. This step can be obtained through an onboarding portal with social networking features, videos, and ways to interact with fellow associates. Ideally, an onboarding plan would combine both of these activities to ensure a new employee can be retained over a long period of time. I have written a few blogs at http://www.TheOnboardingGuy.com and would love to hear feedback.

    Jay Torrence
    Alpharetta
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    Make the transactional piece electronic
    January 24, 2013 | 11:13 AM

    Dick, you say it perfectly in the statement "...everyone wants their new hires to be productive quickly..." After the offer of employment has been extended, if you have an electronic system for the transactional piece of onboarding, as Jay identifies it, then you can have the new employee begin filtering through those pieces earlier. If you're a small to mid-sized business and want to know more about a system like this, visit us at http://www.exacthire.com/employee-onboarding-software.html Electronic transactional onboarding processes aren't just for the big corporations.

    Randi Shuck
    Indianapolis
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