Question: Name your best tip for creating a strong onboarding system for new hires at a startup. What's one thing you shouldn't forget or miss?
Write Process Documents
"One of the best things that I have done for training and onboarding is to create excellent written documentation. To create a great system, four components need to work together: strategy, tools, people and processes. Creating a company manual that outlines these components for every piece of your business makes new employees feel comfortable and gives them a good understanding of your business. "
Decide When to Give Access
"Once I met a new client via instant message and introduced myself. She sent me her credit card info to book a flight. Decide before hiring when and how you're going to give access to passwords, credit cards, your website and other sensitive information. It's best to release slowly, only after a contract is signed and filed and preferably not by chat."
Introduce New Members Through Onboarding
"Our favorite strategy is to use our onboarding setup as a way to get to know individual members of the team. That way, when the onboarding is complete, the new hire doesn't just know you or the HR person but more of the organization."
Focus on the Basics
"It's very easy to inundate new hires with training manuals, videos, computer-based training modules and other printed materials in the beginning. However, you must keep the materials brief and to the point."
Think Long-Term Training
"Think beyond the initial training. Even if you onboard someone smoothly in a week or two, he'll likely need to learn new things for the first two months. Training piles on new information, so plan weekly milestones that map out what new hires should be doing to learn the business. Have weekly check-ins for four to eight weeks to gauge how new hires are doing."
"Write everything down. Have documents upon documents of information to share with new hires. There is so much information to be shared during the first few days of hiring (culture, tasks and guidelines). Providing new hires with all of the information clearly written out and outlined gives them a way to go back to things as they come up. This way, nothing gets missed."
"I say embarrass them cheekily. One tradition we have is an all-company lunch to welcome a new team member. We put her in the middle of the room, and anyone can ask any question. It helps the new person shed her guard and become part of the family quickly by sharing embarrassing moments or which movie makes her cry."
Ask Hires About Their Experiences
"We recently hired our fifth full-time employee. I thought I had everything ready to go, but after a few days, I realized that we missed a lot of obvious things such as his health care plan pre-printed for his signature. We asked him to document everything that he wishes had happened during onboarding. We're now converting that into a repeatable checklist for future hires."