As someone who runs a company that helps people with onboarding their employees, I’m familiar with the ins and outs of the process. As such, it’s easy to forget that not every client I work with actually knows what onboarding is. Most of them know it’s how you get employees to enter the workplace, but some of them aren’t exactly sure what that entails. And for those companies, I offer this: the easiest three-step guide to onboarding, even if you’ve never done it before.
Gather the Forms
This might be the toughest step to get through, simply because it’s usually the most confusing aspect of onboarding new employees. What forms do you need to have employees fill out? Which are required, and which are an additive? It all depends on your business, but for the most part, here are the basic needs:
1) A W-4 form, which the IRS legally requires for the sake of payroll records.
2) An i-9, which verifies that the employee can legally work in the United States
3) An Employment contract, which you’ll need to put together and is specific to every role at the company.
There are a few other things you should have but aren’t always necessary, such as non-compete contracts and emergency contact forms. You’ll have to do a bit more research depending on your industry, but these forms are a good place to start.
Onboard With Culture
There’s more to onboarding than the forms employees have to fill out. If you really want your new hires to be engaged with the work they’re doing for your company, you have to drive home the point that they made the right choice. You can do this by reinforcing your company culture during their first day and beyond. How?
Mention any fun company policies your company has, like if your employees take walks outside on certain days, or if you have a casual Friday. Whatever cool things you have at your disposal, emphasize them to let your employees know what kind of company you are. If you don’t have a diverse company culture, build one — it’ll help with onboarding. Companies with a poor company culture have a likely turnover rate of about 48%.
Okay, so you have all the proper forms in order and have made a good impression on your new employee using your culture. Now keep it going. I’ve seen too many companies stop putting effort into their onboarding strategy mere weeks after an employee starts, and I can’t stress enough how bad of a move this is. Thinking about onboarding this way can cut down on your employee’s productivity.
Employees don’t learn every facet of a job on their first day. In fact, it can take employees up to a year to gain the productivity of your veteran employees. So when you’re crafting an onboarding program, make sure to plan for the long and short-term. This doesn’t mean paying them your full attention constantly; instead, implement milestones they can reach on a monthly or weekly basis, and notch those up when they meet those goals with flying colors.
Onboarding is not as complicated as you might think, but it does require some know-how to get everything right. It’ll also take some practice, so don’t feel too bad if the first few times you onboard new employees doesn’t pan out as planned. As long as you have all of your forms in order, emphasize company culture to let the employee know your company’s identity, and build a plan that influences employee development in the long term. You’ll have a great onboarding process in no time, even if you may not have known what you were doing when started.