HomeBusinessHelp! I have to onboard someone for the first time

Help! I have to onboard someone for the first time

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Your first hire is a big step for you and your business. Congrats! Now that you have an employment offer signed on the dotted line, it’s time to start your new employee onboarding checklist.

Wait. Wondering what a new employee onboarding checklist even is? Don’t worry—that’s what you’re here!

As a small business owner, you’ve probably been doing it all by yourself for quite some time. So getting someone up to speed on your processes can feel a little daunting. The good news? The right onboarding can get your new hire ready for their role in no time.

To help, we’ve put together this new employee onboarding checklist to help you get started. 

What is employee onboarding, anyway?

Employee onboarding can feel like a bit of a buzzword—and to be fair, it is. But, it’s also really important.

Essentially, employee onboarding is the fancy term for introducing a new employee to your business. Of course, onboarding might look a little different if you own a bakery than if you own a gym, but the basics are the same.

During onboarding, you’ll introduce your employees to the details about your products or services. You’ll show them behind the scenes to your business, train them on any processes, and tackle any new hire paperwork. 

At the end of the day, onboarding is just an umbrella term for providing a new employee with anything they might need to know or learn to do their job. 

Why do I need to onboard an employee? 

There’s a reason onboarding has quickly become a standard practice for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Instead of leaving your new employee to ‘figure it out,’ onboarding can help set you and your new employee up for success.

Don’t believe that onboarding is beneficial for your business and new hire? We have proof.

  • Onboarding improves productivity and engagement: Employees who are onboarded properly are up to 72% more productive.
  • Onboarding boosts job satisfaction: Employees with a positive onboarding experience are 2.6x likely to be satisfied with their workplace.
  • Onboarding improves employee retention: A solid onboarding process has been shown to increase employee retention as much as 82%.

Gimme the Cole’s Notes. What goes into employee onboarding?

We get it—as a business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You might be tempted to skip a formal process with your first hire, but this is one of the biggest onboarding mistakes a small business can make.

While onboarding a new hire is an investment, it’s one that we promise will pay off. To help, here are some key things that make for an effective employee onboarding process.

Get them ready for day one

Onboarding starts long before an employee’s first day. By preparing anything that you can ahead of time, you’ll make the first day much more enjoyable, for you and your new hire.

First, this starts with putting together an onboarding plan. (Tip: the checklist below can help.)

Then you’ll want to make sure that your new employee has everything they need for their first day on the job. A good practice is to send a welcome email or packet that includes details such as their schedule for the first day, any expectations—such as dress codes, and anything they might need to bring.

Prepare onboarding documents

With any new employees comes paperwork. And if this is your first employee, the onboarding documentation can feel a little extra overwhelming.

Our top tip for streamlining the paperwork process? Tackle it before day one. This will save your new hire from spending hours on their first day filling out paperwork and helps you get everything organized ahead of time. 

Consider sending any onboarding documentation to your new team member in their welcome packet. This will likely include their employment contract, tax forms, direct deposit forms, insurance information, and any benefit enrollment details.

Get your company policies in order

As a small business, if you’re hiring your first employee, you might not have many policies in place. But it’s important to start getting them in order before you bring on your first team member. You likely won’t have or need a 100-page employee handbook off the bat, but having basic policies and guidelines in place will keep you and your new hire on the same page.

Some policies you may want to consider before your first hire include:

  • Procedures and policies for scheduling time off and sick days
  • Team communication tools and methods
  • Codes of conduct (such as dress codes, health and safety, and employee expectations)

Having even basic policies included as part of your new employee onboarding checklist will also make things simpler for you as your business grows and you need to onboard even more hourly employees.

Get their payroll and benefits in order

Whatever you do, don’t put off payroll. It’s important to get your payroll process organized as soon as possible, so you don’t have to stress when payday rolls around.

You’ll likely have already collected any direct deposit information and benefit enrollment forms. However, there’s a lot that needs to happen before that first paycheck can get deposited into your employee’s bank account.

Take the time to get set up with a payroll platform and familiarize yourself with the right taxes and deductions. It’s also important to consider things like how you’ll track employee hours, so you can accurately pay your employee.

Set up a training and orientation program for them 

From understanding your business to navigating software like your POS, there’s a lot to cover during employee onboarding. Tailored training is key to helping new employees be successful in their roles.

Before their first day, it’s worth making a list of all the tools, software, and processes that your new employee will need to be familiar with. Then set aside time during onboarding to train them on everything on that list.

Remember: Take your time with training. Not everything has to happen on day one. If you try to throw all that information to your new hire at once, it can get overwhelming and make it difficult for them to actually absorb the things they need to know.

Welcome them! Teach them all the things 

After a big warm welcome, it’s time to start training your new employee on the things you’ve identified as important to their role. 

Don’t just let them fend for themselves, take the time to show them—you’re the expert after all. But of course, training should include a mix of reading, self-learning, and hands-on instruction.

Offer feedback and coaching 

As your new employee starts to get settled into their new role, take the time to provide constructive feedback. This will help your new employee get better at their job, faster so they can excel at the job you hired them for. 

On the flip side, make sure to also as your new hire for feedback on their onboarding experience. They can provide valuable insights that you can use improve your onboarding processes as your team grows. And of course, this shows your new employee that you value their input, which can help you build a stronger working relationship with your team.

Still not sure? Follow this new employee onboarding checklist

To speed up the process and maximize the impact, here’s an easy-to-use checklist so you don’t miss a thing as you onboard your new employee.

Before day one

  • Sign an employment contract
  • Send a welcome email
  • Prepare payroll paperwork and onboarding documents
    • Payroll and direct deposit information
    • Benefits and insurance enrollment forms (if applicable)
    • I-9 form
    • W-4 form

On day one 

  • Give them a tour of the workplace
  • Provide a training schedule
  • Review company and workplace policies
  • Introduce them to vendors or any partners they might work with
  • Set up software, accounts, and logins
  • Have a welcome lunch or coffee chat

During the first week

  • Train them on processes and any tools they might need. (e.g. software, equipment, return policies)
  • Provide a product or service overview
  • Review role responsibilities and expectations
  • Check in and make sure the employee has everything they need

During the first month 

  • Review performance and onboarding progress
  • Provide and gather onboarding feedback

Get some help from Homebase

Here’s the thing about onboarding: you don’t have to do it alone. From employee onboarding to payroll, Homebase is the all-in-one employee management tool that helps small business owners grow their businesses. 

Homebase helps you onboard new employees with ease by:

  • Automating the onboarding process: Automatically create and send a welcome packet to new employees before their first day.
  • Storing employee documentation: Keep information organized and store it securely right within Homebase.
  • Creating employee policies: Create and enforce employee policies within Homebase. Need an employee handbook? Homebase helps with that too!
  • Providing HR support: Get access to an HR resource library or chat with an HR pro to help you stay compliant from day one.

Skip the onboarding stress—get started with Homebase today.

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