How to Onboard New Employees

Author: Rieva Lesonsky | September 2, 2016

You remember the feeling. It’s your first day on a new job, and you’re excited but nervous and not totally sure what to expect. Did you make the right decision to work there? Will you be able to absorb all the information they throw at you? How will you get along with your coworkers? Now fast-forward to you running your own business. What onboarding practices do you have in place to foster a welcoming company with an informative first day for new employees?

The way you onboard new employees can make all the difference in how well and how quickly assimilation occurs. From day one, new employees are analyzing their decision to accept the new position, and if you make the onboarding experience a good one, you could have a loyal employee for many years.

According to Glassdoor, a job listing and company review website, new hires say they like:

  • Knowing what to expect on their first day
  • Technology, desk, and office equipment set up ahead of time
  • Getting to meet the owners of company and learn the history, culture, values, and business model of the company
  • Having the organizational structure of staff explained
  • Introducing them to their new coworkers in a fun way or at a lunch

The key to any management/employee relationship is trust, and you can do your part to build trust by making the following part of your onboarding practice:

  1. Be prepared

    Your new hire wants to know you’ve got it together and that you run an organized company. Don’t leave setting up for the first day until the last minute. Make sure everything is ready, and that you have set aside time to answer any questions the person might have. It’s also a good idea to give the new hire access to the employee manual before they start so the newbie is up to speed on policy and can ask any questions he or she has in mind.

  2. Tour and introduce new employees

    Get the new hire oriented by giving a tour of your company and introducing coworkers as you go. Make sure everyone knows the new employee is coming so they’re ready to be friendly and offer to help whenever possible. You might give a small tidbit of information about each person and his or her job responsibilities (“Frank is the one you see for computer issues”) or a personal fact (“Sue went to UCLA too!”). It makes the new hire feel at home and may help with name recognition.

  3. Adopt a buddy system

    Depending on your industry, training a new hire may involve watching a webinar, testing them about technical information, or sitting in an off-site classroom. It’s a good idea to designate a buddy for your new hire—someone he or she can turn to with questions. The new hire may be too intimidated to ask you or you may be too busy to answer. You could even have the new hire shadow an employee in the beginning so they not only learn job duties, but also the informal aspects of the company culture.

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