You finally found that perfect candidate to fill your vacant position in the company, but it’s not yet time to sit back and relax. Giving new hires a proper welcome and perfecting your employee onboarding process is just as important as your well thought out hiring process. A well-structured onboarding process will not only give your company an improved employee retention rate, but it also will save you the money it takes to hire and train a replacement.
What does it take to welcome new hires with a positive onboarding experience?
Here are the top 10 things to do when hiring a new employee:
1. Get the employee set up on payroll & other company systems
Once the offer has been signed, it’s time to update company records to include your new employee. This means setting the employee up on payroll and benefits. Payroll setup can be easily done using a free payroll software that’s customizable for any type of business, and many payroll tools also offer benefits enrollment.
You should also add your employee to any software or computer applications that they’ll need to use on a regular basis. A new employee may also need an employee number, employee ID, and biometric profile to give them access to the premises. Parking permits, if applicable, also need to be secured.
2. Complete new hire paperwork
Compliance with tax and legal requirements serves as a protection both for you and your new hire. Make sure to complete the necessary paperwork:
- If your business doesn’t already have an employer identification number (EIN), you’ll need one before you hire your first employee.
- I-9 form to verify employee work eligibility for citizen and non citizen new employees.
- W-4 form to withhold the proper amount of federal income tax. States that levy income tax have their own W-4 form as well.
- Get each employee’s name and social security number, and enter it on a W-2 form (which you’ll provide to the employee during tax season). If you use payroll software, most will pre-populate a W-2 form with this information.
- Report new hire data to your state’s new hire reporting program before the prescribed deadline.
- Properly classify workers for federal and state tax reporting purposes.
- Obtain worker’s compensation insurance for your new hire.
- Signed copy of the employee handbook.
While this covers most of the paperwork you’ll need to collect from your new employee, some states and localities may have additional requirements, so it’s best to contact your state’s department of labor.
3. Get their desk and phone setup
A huge part of making a great first impression is to have your new hire’s work space set up with the necessary equipment and supplies. Depending on their job role, this may include a desk, computer, phone, office keys, official company email address, and access to your digital and online resources. Don’t forget to update the company directory with the new hire information. And if you provide business cards or name tags, you may want to have those ready as well. If the new hire is to be provided with any company equipment, cell phone, laptop or keys, you’ll want to order those in advance to have them ready on day 1.
4. Run a background check
Part of due diligence involves running a background check on new employees as soon as the offer has been accepted. Pre-employment screening helps to confirm that your new employees are who they say they are. Please make sure that your new hire is aware and has authorized your business to conduct background checks. It is a security measure for your business, employees, and customers as well.
Several third party providers offer employment screening services. They offer different background checks depending on the security level involved in the role of a new hire. Basic background checks involve confirmation of education and previous employment credentials while a more advanced background check also covers credit score, credit history, and criminal background checks.
5. Schedule an employee orientation
The new hire should receive a complete employee orientation on their first day, so they can get familiarized with company policies and benefits. This involves a meeting with the hiring manager or HR staff regarding standards, procedures, and company culture.
It should include:
- An office tour to help them find their way around – restrooms, break room, and supplies.
- A sit-down review of the company handbook, company policies, and safety.
- A review of health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, commuter benefits, and other benefits the employee may need to review and sign up for.
- A co-worker meet and greet with an overview of who to talk to for certain tasks.
- An informal discussion of company culture, dress code, communication preferences.
- A wrap up allowing the new hire to ask questions, like where to go to lunch.
The employee orientation also ensures that the employee signs up for and understands their benefits, and knows how and when they will be paid.
6. Schedule employee training
Employee training ensures that a new hire understands company procedures and processes, such as how to use company software and document flow. If you have a job manual, provide a copy to the employee. Consider scheduling one-on-one 30 to 60 minute meetings for the new hire to meet with key players during the first week to learn more about how the company functions, who does what, and how the employee’s job supports and connects with each department.
Another way to handle employee training is to allow your new hire to sit down with employees performing a similar role and shadow them for a few hours. Give them time to sit with one person per process, showing your new employee how one process is done. This not only helps them concentrate on one topic and ask questions with someone they can identify with, but this also serves as a good icebreaker among employees. Employees are often more comfortable asking questions of a co-worker than of HR or their managers.
7. Host a team welcome for the new hire
In addition to an email to all staff introducing the new hire, consider hosting a coffee/bagel breakfast to welcome the new team member. It also won’t hurt if you end the event by presenting your new hire with company swag tokens to make them feel welcome, such as logo apparel or a branded pen and folder. This is also good time to introduce the new hire to a peer-mentor or ‘buddy’ as a go-to for questions during their first weeks.
8. Set employee goals
Once your employee has received basic training, it’s important to sit down with them and establish goals. This allows you to be on the same page with your new employee, and makes sure they know what they need to be successful. Set actionable, quantifiable goals for the next 30 days, 90 days, and 6 months. Make sure to keep the atmosphere relaxed and explain that the intention of an early goal setting is to set them up to succeed. It communicates what the job demands of them and arms them with the tools to do it properly.
9. Employee recognition
Finally, remember to celebrate your new hire’s milestones – first sale, completing a software training program, successfully executing a work process, or memorizing the menu. Employee recognition of those first successful work accomplishments is important to a well-rounded onboarding program. Studies show that recognition during the critical onboarding stage leaves a better impression of the company to newly hired employees. This positive onboarding experience results in better long term retention rates and increased productivity in employees.
So consider making a big deal about the new hire’s 1 month anniversary – perhaps with a presentation of a box of business cards or a gift certificate to a nearby coffee house, with a thank you card that says, “We’re glad you joined our team.”
10. Reach out before the first day
It is also important that you reach out to your new hire a few days before they come in for their first day. A long gap between offer acceptance and the first day of work can cause uncertainty, especially when you don’t hear anything from the new employer the entire time.
You can see if they have any questions and confirm their start date, time and work schedule. Let them know what they need to bring on the first day – ID? SSN Card? Lunch? Consider providing them a contact person’s name and number if they need to get in touch before the first day of work.
If you’re looking for productive and loyal employees, help new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their jobs right from the start. Make them feel welcome and part of the team. Ensure they have the tools they need to be successful, someone to ask questions of, and a solid idea of work expectations and goals they need to achieve to be successful. Hiring and keeping the best talent for your company is one of the most valuable investments you will ever make.
Photo Credit: Theen … Flickr via Compfight cc