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Slick Onboarding Tactics for Small Businesses

For small-to-medium sized businesses, there is no asset more valuable than our employees. And our employee onboarding system says everything our newest recruits need to know about the company culture and their own value. No matter the size or type of your company, an organised, deliberate and intentional onboarding system is vital - not only because it makes new employees feel welcome and eases the transition for existing staff, but also because research shows it leads to higher satisfaction levels in the office and lower turnover among staff.

You don’t need a fancy HR department to make your onboarding process slick and efficient. You can develop a simple but smart process and roll it out for all new recruits - whether they’re joining you in a physical office full-time, or working more remotely. Here are some tactics for new starters that work for us.

Help them come prepared

Everybody is nervous in the days leading up to starting a new job. Send your new recruit a friendly email at least a week before their start date with the vital information they’ll need to help them come fully prepared on day one. Be specific, with details ranging from on what time they should arrive to where they will be met, who will be greeting them on their first day, and what their schedule will be. As well as these details, you could include some information about the company culture, dress code, what kind of team building you’re planning in the coming months, and attach any reading material you feel would be useful to them ahead of starting their new post. Much of the company information won’t be new to them following the interview process, but it’s nice to reiterate it now that they’re officially “part of the family”.

Have their desk space and IT ready

This sounds like a no-brainer, but if not done right it makes a big impact on your new recruit - and not in a good way. Ensure their desk space is clean and tidy, with their name on it and any sign of their predecessor - if there was one - erased. Their IT equipment should be ready for them to set up and - as a thoughtful extra touch - it’s nice to include a welcome card or note to make them feel at home when they arrive - especially if you (or their direct manager) isn’t able to greet them on their first morning.

Give them a “cheat sheet”

As well as their IT equipment and welcome note waiting on your new recruit’s desk, leave them a list of useful numbers and contacts that they can call on during their transition. Most of these contacts will be from within your own team (with their knowledge permission of course) - somebody who can help them if they have an IT issue, somebody to show them where the coffee machine and stationery is, somebody to show them where to have lunch on their first day, and somebody who tells good jokes if they need some light relief. If you’re a small company, consider leaving them a list of everybody’s names, numbers, teams and job titles - this is something that’s easy to keep on file and edit over time.

Build them a network from the outset

If you haven’t done this already, implement a “buddy system” in your company. Groups of two or three who do not work directly with each other on a daily basis should be encouraged to meet every two to three months to have lunch together away from the office, get to know each other socially, and support each other professionally. This really builds a sense of community within the workplace, it avoids micro-teams becoming insular and contributes to well-being within the company. On their first day your new recruit should be given the name of their “buddy” or group of buddies, and that person should make contact within the first week or so to set up a “buddy date”.

Announce them publicly

Is there anything more awkward for a new recruit than walking into the communal kitchen on their first day to find that the group gathered around the coffee machine has no idea who they are or why they’re there? In the hustle and bustle of welcoming them and ensuring all the administrative aspects of their arrival are covered, it’s easy to forget to let everybody else know they’re starting. Send an email to the whole company on the new starter's first morning (with the new person included), letting everybody know who they are and what part they will be playing on the team. If you think this task might get forgotten on a hectic Monday, write the email or instant message in advance and schedule it to go out during the morning - you can keep a boilerplate copy on file and adapt it each time with new names and details. Whatever you do, don’t forget this detail! It will make all the difference.

As your team grows and thrives, its natural that you will be adding more people, and no doubt you’ll feel out the onboarding system that works best for you along the way. When you get it right, everybody wins - your new employee, your existing team, and your business.

At InstaPeople, your success story is our success story, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with Lindy and her team today so we can accompany you on your recruitment journey.

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