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Onboarding tips for small businesses

Julianne Leybag
12 July 2018 3 minute readShare
Job, onboarding tips, employer

Investing in a good onboarding process is important if small business owners want to improve their employee retention statistics. Read on to know more about some top onboarding tips for small businesses.

One advantage that small businesses have against big firms when it comes to onboarding is that the small scale of the business allows owners to easily streamline and improve their onboarding process without having to deal with a large number of employees.

Business owners must consider the following tips when it comes to onboarding:

  • Create and develop an onboarding plan
  • Implement a formal integration process
  • Set realistic initial expectations
  • Explore social engineering
  • Encourage feedback from new hires

Create and develop an onboarding plan

A good onboarding plan is an important first step if business owners want to make sure that new employees get to transition easily as they get integrated into the business. Take time to create a solid onboarding framework, which includes guides for trainers, introduction to the workplace, and discussion of business policies, among others.

If business owners find that some strategies are ineffective or can be improved, they can simply edit this if they have a singular file for all onboarding-related tasks. It is also important to invest time and effort in teaching trainers how to properly onboard new hires and make sure that the new hires get comfortable in their new working environment.

Implement a formal integration process

Having a formal integration process can make things easier for small businesses especially if they do not have enough resources to ensure proper integration for every new hire. Business owners can choose to seek help from their employees for onboarding purposes, with each employee representing a specific onboarding function.

This can be anything from ensuring that the new hire’s desk is clean and prepared, to assigning someone to provide office tours, to introducing the new hire to other employees. This will not only make things easier but will also foster camaraderie and good working relationships among employees.

Set realistic initial expectations

Business owners must keep in mind that newly hired employees need some time to acquaint themselves with their new roles. This is why it is important to set realistic expectations for them during the first few weeks as they start to learn the ropes and ease themselves into the demands of the business.

Set initial goals that are easy to achieve, then gradually raise expectations until such time that the new employee gets accustomed to their workload. This can also help business owners gauge whether new employees are able to adapt and meet set expectations regardless of the quantity of work at hand.

Explore social engineering

Social engineering is a great go-to for business owners who want to make sure that new hires are comfortable and don’t feel left out by their colleagues in their new workplace. Business owners can seek the help of other employees and ask them to interact with the new hires outside of work by inviting them to lunch, or maybe set a group lunch or after-work gathering so the new employee can get to know the other employees outside of their roles in the business.

Employers can also opt to assign a mentor or a buddy for every new hire, with each buddy assigned to walk through new hires on the company’s culture, rules and regulations, and answer any questions that the new employee might have regarding the business. It is best if the new hire’s buddy/mentor is someone from their own department in order to make it easier for the new employee to transition into their new role.

Encourage feedback from new hires

Business owners are encouraged to seek feedback from new employees especially during their first three months of employment. Feedback can range from the onboarding process itself, their initial impressions on the working environment and the company culture, to opinions regarding their workload and work goals. As the employee progresses in the business, business owners can switch monthly feedback meetings to quarterly feedback meetings.

Having a solid feedback system will also allow employers to make improvements in their onboarding process and help them better cater to the needs of new employees. A solid onboarding system will improve hiring rates, reduce employee turnover rates, and help employees become more productive and do more for the business.

Onboarding tips for small businesses
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Julianne Leybag

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