Employee onboarding; how to welcome a new employee; how to onboard a new employee; employee paperwork; onboarding paperwork An African American male and Caucasian woman collaborate in front of an easel at work. An African American male and Caucasian woman collaborate in front of an easel at work. An African American male and Caucasian woman collaborate in front of an easel at work. An African American male and Caucasian woman collaborate in front of an easel at work.
Small Business

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7 steps that get employees off to a good start

How to on-board new hires, from peer support to selecting equipment

Making the right hire is just one part of building a good team. You also need a plan for onboarding—a process that begins even before a new employee's first day.

"Good planning can help new hires feel comfortable, connected and prepared to hit the ground running," says Aldor H. Delp, vice president and general manager of ADP Resource and HR Solutions. "Neglecting the onboarding process, on the other hand, can leave new hires with a lot of unanswered questions."

The way a staffer starts out can impact how well they integrate into the company long term. Consider the following seven steps to start employees off on the right foot.

1. Assemble the employee's toolkit

Before their start date, put all necessary equipment and supplies in place. Don't only set up their computer with new email, create reference sheets with important details such as how to set up voice mail, entry codes to the building and important contacts. "Cheat sheets" for any standard procedures that will be part of their job, such as how to take credit card payments, can be a helpful resource.

2. Plan a welcome tour

New hires may feel overwhelmed with information when you show them around the workplace, so focus on the essentials and keep introductions to co-workers simple. You can lay the groundwork for a warm welcome by preparing current employees with advance information about the new employee, and what they'll be doing.

3. Streamline paperwork

Seek out the most efficient system for filling out tax forms, enrolling in benefits and handling other administrative details. "Too often, filling out forms stalls employee momentum and leaves new hires drowning in documents when they could be spending time getting acquainted with their colleagues," says Delp. Online services like ADP Payroll can be extended with services like time tracking and benefits administration, creating a centralized point of reference for all the essential paperwork. "Simplifying that process can get the new employee into the workflow and contributing to the team faster," Delp adds.

4. Assign a buddy

New hires typically want to prove how competent they are and might hesitate to go to the boss with questions. Ask one of your experienced employees to be part of your welcome team as a peer mentor. While you're at it, ask this person if they have any suggestions for additional materials or equipment that should be ready for the new employee—they may think of something you've overlooked.

5. Create a plan for orientation and training

Even if your new hire has lots of experience, they will need to learn your business's unique way of doing things. Schedule time to go over key processes and give them the opportunity to work through those tasks as soon as possible—most people retain new information better when they can quickly apply that knowledge. This orientation session is also a good time to review your expectations for job performance, such as sales targets or regular deadlines.

6. Have work ready to go

New employees often spend the first few days or even weeks waiting to be assigned enough tasks to keep busy. Line up work so that they can begin making solid contributions as soon as possible, even if they're not fully trained. Someone else may need to double-check their work initially, but involve them in the daily workflow from the beginning.

7. Remember the personal touch

A few special gestures can show that you value individuals and foster team spirit. Bring in sandwiches for a group lunch to celebrate the newcomer, and consider what else you might have on hand to add to a welcome kit. Company-branded items such as t-shirts, baseball caps or coffee mugs can help say, "We're happy you joined us!"

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