As a business owner, I have onboarded several employees. When I first started out, I am just embarrassed at just how unprepared I was to have someone start a new job in our company. Since then, we have made some drastic changes to the way that we have someone start a new position with us. Lately, I have had comments that are surprised that we were that detailed in our training before they actually started working on their required job duties. I have had comments that many companies do not put enough time into training the basic foundation of their business to their new employees. I think this can be a big disaster looking ahead. Following are some reasons to consider putting some strategic effort into your onboarding process.
It gives the business an opportunity to set expectations. One of the most important business lessons that I have learned is to be clear and concise as to what each employee is supposed to be doing. When you are not clear, you can have a great employee be doing all of the wrong things with no ill will meant. They think that they are doing all of the right things, but since the right things were not clearly defined and communicated; they are heading in the wrong direction. If this happens to too many “new employees” you will have many people going in different directions. After a while, it will be like herding cats.
It gives you an opportunity to measure when someone is ready to be left on their own. One thing that we have done that helps tremendously is to have daily checklists of things that need to be done. Not only does this let the employee know very clearly what needs to be done, but it also helps the manager know what they need to be managing. Having checklists and going over them every day for a short period helps the employee and the manager to know when the job is being thoroughly completed and when it is not. It also helps to give the employee a spreadsheet that will achieve success and results. I highly recommend that you have metrics to be reported each day/week so that the employee can see why he or she is or is not succeeding. It is a playbook for success.
It allows a small business to be scalable. If you read any kind of business books, you will see how important (to those who are successful) it is to have a scalable business. Scalable means that it is measurable, that each position has a set of procedures, guidelines and checklists that are being adhered to each day. It allows for any kind of manager to be able to walk in, have an avenue to review employee activity and see if it measures up with what the company has proven to be either successful or unsuccessful. It also allows the company to grow without all employees going in different directions in different ways to get the same thing done.
A large part of success is set at the very beginning of any one employee beginning their position. New employees will either understand the foundation of the company and the process to be successful or they won’t. Being very clear, concise and firm with expectations will really help anyone starting with your company will understand what you are wanting from them. It will also ensure that as they continue the job that they will continue to do the same successful things. And all the while, it will help the company become scalable. It is just not something that should be avoided. It is a must.