New Employee On-boarding Tips

Hiring a new employee is a time-consuming process. You need to define the position, promote the job, evaluate candidates and decide on the right hire. You must think through your hiring plan carefully and then act fast, as other businesses may be interested in hiring your top candidates, too. This process doesn’t end when you offer someone a job and he/she says yes. Now you need to prepare for your new employee’s first day.

The first 90 days on the job are critical for an employee’s success. You want the new person to feel welcomed, engaged and ultimately be happy in the role and committed to your business for the long term.

new employee

Here are some tips to consider when you hire a new employee.

Create an on-boarding plan

Map out how you will orient the new employee to the new job and the business.

  • What will his/her first day, week and month look like?
  • What information about the responsibilities and internal systems will you share when?
  • How will you introduce the new person to key contacts?
  • How will you communicate the business culture and key values?
  • What will be the new employee’s first assignments?

One approach is to create a calendar and/or checklist with key tasks to be learned and/or completed during the first week, month and quarter. This will give both you and the new employee a roadmap to follow so that expectations are clear.

Have the work environment ready

The new hire’s desk or physical area must be ready, with computer set up and e-mail configured. Have payroll figured out and any related new employee paperwork prepared. A welcome packet can include the employee’s job description, a schedule for the first 2 weeks, important contact information, and your business policies and procedures. (Consider creating an employee handbook that explains the company culture, benefits packages and the “rules and regs” of the business.)

Make the first day special

The new employee will probably show up excited but also a bit nervous on the first day. You want him/her to have a positive feeling about the business and co-workers right away. Set a welcoming mood and show the new hire that you are ready. Call employees together to introduce the new hire, or introduce to others one-on-one. Have a lunch plan for the new employee on the first day to help him/her feel welcome.

Train in small modules

There is so much to learn when starting a new job. To be effective, training sessions shouldn’t feel like marathons. Take breaks. Segment the orientation into manageable blocks no longer than 90 minutes. Use time between training sessions for the new employee to meet more staff, tour a particular area, and get started on meaningful but simple or straightforward work.

Check back on a regular basis

Make time for check-ins with the new employee — both during the training process and beyond. This can take the form of a regularly scheduled meeting, a weekly meal, or an informal chat. Discuss concerns, answer questions, share your feedback and address any negative issues before they fester.

Your good planning and continued support will create a lasting, positive environment for this new employee. Remember, you are making a long-term investment in this most important business asset!


Paul Terry & Associates helps clients hire new staff. We can advise on the best hiring steps or completely manage the hiring process from outreach to on-boarding. Are you thinking about hiring someone? We are here to help you hire and train the best person for the job.

Ready to Hire? Create a plan.

There are many ways to manage expected business growth. You can improve or streamline your systems, sub out work to independent contractors, or take on more work yourself. Yet at some point, sustained business growth may mean hiring full-time or part-time employees.

ready to hire

When you decide to hire a new employee, it’s tempting to get someone (anyone!) into the job as soon as possible. We recommend that you FIRST think through what you need, who you want, and what you can afford. Then, create a hiring plan. Proceeding carefully can make the difference between finding a temporary fix or hiring the right person for the job.

Before you hire, think carefully about:

Budget

  • How much will a hiring process cost you?
  • How will hiring a new employee add value to your business?
  • What are you able to offer in terms of salary and other benefits?

Job description

  • What are the specific tasks that need to be handled by this position?
  • What are the basics of the position (full/part-time, on-site/remote, etc.)?
  • What skills and experience are necessary to do this job well?

Be clear about the “must-have” v.s. the “would-be-nice-to-have” qualifications for this new hire.

Outreach

  • Where are potential candidates looking for jobs?
  • Who might know someone great for this job?

Diversifying your outreach will help you find the most qualified candidates. Online job sites may be the best way to promote the job but be sure to do your research. Some sites are industry-specific, some are free and some are pricey. Let colleagues, friends and customers know exactly who you seek. Word-of-mouth can be powerful! Social media, your website and e-newsletters are great ways to spread the word.

Screening candidates

  • How will you communicate with applicants?
  • What are the steps in your screening process?
  • What interview questions will help you identify the best applicants?

Consider asking applicants to answer questions by email first, and then interview select candidates by phone. Only bring the best candidates in for face-to-face interviews. Adding these screening steps may save you time in the long run. Choose your interview questions carefully. You want to explore the candidate’s range of experience and skills, how they will handle challenging situations or conflict on the job, and how they will fit into your business culture.

Evaluating candidates

  • How do you decide which applicant is best for the job?
  • How does your hiring team agree on who to hire?

Often the “right” hire isn’t completely clear. A candidate may have great qualities/skills in one area but deficiencies in another area. (We use evaluation tools with our clients to assess the pros and cons of each candidate.) Be sure to request at least three professional references and then call to confirm that your impressions match others’ experiences. When you finally come to a decision, be sure to act fast. If you love this candidate then chances are other employers do, too! Call or email to offer the job and then follow up with an offer letter.

Once you complete the hire, it’s time to create a plan to on-board this new employee!

Are you thinking about hiring someone? We help small businesses hire new staff. We develop job descriptions and interview questions, and help design the right hiring process. We can help manage the hiring process from outreach to interviews to selection. 

Motivating Others

If you are like most small business owners, you are self-motivated. You are passionate about your service or product and you are always focused on your business – attending to your customers or clients, fixing problems, thinking about how to grow your business, etc. You always want to provide impeccable service and impress clients and customers with your work.

motivating others

But if you have employees, how do you motivate them to feel as passionately about the business as you do? How can you encourage them to “act like owners”, too?

Eight Tips on Motivating Your Team:

  1. Create a culture of trust. People want to work hard for people they respect and trust. If they feel confident in their relationship with you (and with other employees) it will free them to focus on the work, instead of worrying about inter-personal work-place dynamics.
  2. Share praise. When your employees are doing a great job, let them know. And let others know, too! It can be highly motivating to have one’s work acknowledged and appreciated publicly. Also, giving employees opportunities to take on more responsibility can be a great form of recognition, too.
  3. Be more transparent. Openness is essential for any small business. Your employees need to know what is going on in the business so that they have the information they need to do their jobs well. They should also be getting regular feedback on how they are doing their job. It is particularly important to be transparent if there is going to be a change in the business that will affect your employees. People need to know how the change will affect them personally. Once that is understood, they may be much more likely to work with you through the challenge or transition.
  4. Share decision-making. It is both respectful and practical to involve your employees in key decisions, especially decisions that directly impact their jobs. Often it is the people closest to the problem that have the best insight into possible solutions.
  5. Give people space. It is important to let people accomplish tasks and make decisions independently within their area of the business. No one likes to be micro-managed. Focus on results instead of how the work gets done. (Your way may not be the only way… or the best way.)
  6. Take time to talk and to listen. People feel more confident and energized to do their work when they fully understand what is expected of them, and know that you are available if a problem arises. If you give someone authority over a task, take time for training, communicate the constraints and boundaries of his or her responsibility, and the process for asking questions and getting assistance.
  7. Take the long view — delegate. In the moment when something needs doing, it might seem easier (and faster) to just do it yourself. It can take a lot of up-front effort to explain the task and then that person might work slowly or make mistakes. But giving employees opportunities to take on new and challenging tasks will help them reach their full potential and will ultimately create a much stronger team for your business.
  8. Keep things interesting! No one wants to do the same thing over and over. Every job has repetitive tasks but a part of everyone’s job should involve something interesting. Think about how employees’ tasks align with their experience, knowledge and skill-level, as well as their long-term goals and interests.

If you have employees, they are an essential part of your business – you cannot be a success without them. By creating a more transparent enterprise, sharing praise and decision making, and taking the time to listen and to delegate, you will create a positive business culture that will help both you and your business thrive. When you encourage employees to develop skills and stay engaged with the business, you will be making the best use of your time and skill level, too!

Step in, step up, step out: learning to lead

In the first years of life we learn to roll over and then crawl, we learn to toddle and then walk, and we learn to mumble, repeat sounds and then talk.  We develop new skills by watching, listening and practicing, by falling down and getting up… over and over.  As we grow, we build our strength, self-confidence, skills and understanding about other people and ourselves.

learning to lead

Becoming the leader of a business can be a similar process.  We step into the role (sometimes before we are ready) and we step up to the opportunity (even if we stumble along the way).  Finally, we learn to step out of day-to-day management and into a leadership role.  We develop the personal perspective and skills to take our businesses to the next level.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Your business will have different needs at different times.  As a new start-up or a home-based business, you need to figure out what you are doing, convince others to buy from you, and close the sale.  As you expand, you can go after more clients and customers and adjust your services and products to fit the market.  As your businesses matures, you as the owner need to mature as well.  You need to know when it is time to step away from the day-to-day running of the business and bring in additional support.  This becomes a leadership opportunity.

LETTING GO
Giving up control over certain aspects of your business is one of the hardest things to do as a business owner.  Yet it is essential if you want to grow your business.  To be successful, your time needs to be spent on the future of your business, not just the day-to-day needs.

GETTING READY
But how do you recognize the gaps that you need to fill?  How to define the complexity of your business and bring your business skills into alignment?  How do you know you are ready to hire people and train them to operate the business the way that you have proven is successful?

As a small businesses owner, you may be forced to make quick decisions, reacting to opportunities as they appear instead of strategically setting your course.  And, you may have to make things up as you go along, essentially “building the plane as you fly it”.  Yet when it comes to hiring people, good preparation is key.  It is critical to to first ask yourself why you need help, what type of person or skill set is best suited for the job, and how you will train, direct and assess new hires so that you can incorporate them smoothly into your business.

learning to leadJUMPING IN
Here are six important tips to consider when planning to hire employees and step into a position of leadership.

1.  Understand the financial impact
Before jumping into a hiring process, you need to be able to afford it.  Financial costs and revenues forecasting comes first.  Hiring the right person comes second.

2.  Look for people who complement your skill sets
It is important to hire people who can do the type of work that is important to the business but that you don’t do well.  Do you struggle to track your expenditures or manage your budget?  Bring in someone with strong money management skills.  Do you love making the product but shy away from reaching out to potential customers?  Hire someone with great people skills and a sales or marketing background.

3.  Spend time on training and then get out of the way
You might be eager to get a new person working as soon as possible but it’s important to put energy into training so the new hire not only understands how to do things the right way but also understands why it’s important to do them that way.  Once a new person is trained, it’s time to get out of the way.  The business is your “baby” and you may have been responsible for all tasks until now.  But the only way a new hire can be motivated, loyal to the business and successful, is if you let him or her own some of the work, too.

4.  Set the right tone and others will follow
You, as the owner, set the business culture.  If you are motivated and happy in your role, if you are transparent, open, consistent and fair, then others will follow your lead.  As the owner, you must be a good communicator and in particular, you must communicate your vision and goals with the people who work for you.  Without clear business goals, it’s easy for everyone to get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture.  You all need to be on the same page.

5.  Continually take the pulse of your team
A good leader takes time to give clear directions, solicit feedback and listen to suggestions.  By scheduling regular check-ins, team meetings and performance reviews with your employees, you create a productive space for communicating goals, addressing concerns and answering questions.  Your employees can then feel confident that they know what is expected of them, and you can feel free to give them the space they need to do their jobs well.  How you communicate with your employees (and how your employees communicate with each other) makes all the difference!

6.  Get help through the process
You don’t have to figure it all out on your own.  We help small business clients all the time to assess their needs, make the right hires, create training programs to build strong teams, and implement better management systems.  Your support network of advisers and other small business owners can be a guide or sounding board as you develop leadership skills and systems for better management.

It is important to invest time, money and attention in your people.  They are key to your business success!