Onboarding new employees is key for small business owners

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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.