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Designing Your Onboarding Process

Think back to your first day at your company (if you’re the founder, pull an employee aside) … what was it like? Did you know where to go? What information did you receive? At what points were you confused or felt awkward because you didn’t know what to do?

These are the starting points for designing your onboarding process. The goal of onboarding is not only to officially (read: legally) hire a new employee, but also to welcome a new team member and set them up for success.

Here are a few things to think about as you design your onboarding process:

  1. Be Official: Federal and State Paperwork, Direct Deposit, Employee Agreement Forms, the Employee Handbook … all are the official parts of the onboarding process.  What forms do you need from a new employee? Should they bring completed forms on their first day? Should you schedule an hour in the morning of their first day to go through paperwork? Be organized and be communicative about what officially needs to happen to hire a new employee.
  2. Be Prepared: Make an agenda for the employee’s first day and share it with everyone who will be involved, including the employee. What equipment will they need? Is their email setup? What can you communicate about the day-to-day operations at your company? Even pointing out the communal fridge or making a list of frequently used acronyms can make a difference as a new employee learns about the company.
  3. Be Welcoming: It’s time to show your new employee why they made the right decision by joining your company.  What would make you feel welcome at a new position? Going out to lunch with your team on the first day or week? Getting an office tour with your manager? Take the time to think about your company culture and how that fits into onboarding a new hire.

You’ve probably heard that a new employee’s first day can be the most important at a new job.  They walk in with hopes, nerves, and an eagerness to make a good impression.  But as an employer, the real pressure falls on you.  Poor planning and a confusing onboarding is not only frustrating for an employee, it can affect how quickly new hires become productive employees and even affect how long they choose to stay with the company.

What do you think about when designing your onboarding process?

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