Five things to do when onboarding a new employee

John Rowley

First impressions count. This applies not only to your business’ prospective clients, but also to employees. Onboarding is your first opportunity to shape new employees’ experience of your business. It’s important then, to give employees the right info, delivered by the right people, at the right pace. Here’s how.

Consult your current employees

Having been inducted to the business themselves, your current employees – particularly relative newcomers – will be able to provide valuable feedback on existing onboarding  practices. If current induction materials or processes focus too heavily on one aspect of the business at the expense of another, the people who work for you will know first-hand.

Existing employees can also help by identifying information or processes they wish they’d been taking through when entering the business. Listen to their feedback, and tailor your inductions accordingly.

Create a FAQ document

Think back to previous instances of onboarding that you’ve led, and consider the queries that come up time and time again. To make the process flow more easily, collate these common questions (and, of course, their answers) into a document that you provide to new employees. This will put their minds at ease, and rid them of any anxiety about asking too many questions.

Once your new employee has settled into their role, ask them to reflect on their onboarding experience.

Provide intros

Once you’ve inducted a newcomer to the business itself, it’s time to start pressing the flesh.

A walk around the workplace will allow your new starter to see in action some of the processes they’ve heard described. It’ll also give them an efficient (if slightly overwhelming) opportunity to get a sense of who’s who in the business, and to introduce themselves.

It’s likely that they’ll forget a name or three. To jog their memory, provide newcomers with a chart illustrating the business’ employee base, headshots and all. It’s also worth setting up meetings between your new employee and relevant business stakeholders to help all parties align on who does what.

Seek questions

Most new starters will be armed with dozens of questions. Some individuals, though, may feel awkward about bombarding you – especially if they’re new to the industry and don’t want to ask what they perceive to be stupid queries.

In light of this, it’s important to communicate that you’re open to questioning. Accordingly, your FAQ document should be an ever-evolving beast. It can also be useful to establish catch-up sessions with your new employee over the course of a few weeks, allowing them to check in and come forward with questions.

Seek feedback

Once your new employee has settled into their role, ask them to reflect on their onboarding experience. Their feedback will allow you to further improve the induction process, bringing you back to the beginning of the onboarding cycle.

John Rowley

John is a Sydney-based writer covering small business and lifestyle.