Hiring a new staff member can be a big moment for your start-up, and preparing an induction process to help new starters succeed in their role can be a good idea.
Induction and onboarding describe the steps a new recruit opens in new window goes through when they start working for a business.
These processes cover basic information about the workplace – such as what time they’re expected in the office and where emergency escape routes are located – as well as broader support to get up to speed with their job.
It also allows your business to complete essential administrative tasks and fill in any knowledge gaps opens in new window before your new hire gets to work.
Why onboarding employees is important
There’s a lot to learn when starting a job – from new processes and responsibilities to colleagues’ names and job roles.
With so much information to absorb, many businesses create a dedicated onboarding programme to make the process as easy as possible.
Onboarding lays the groundwork for an employee’s success at their new company, and it includes employee induction – which describes the steps you take in the first few days of your new hire’s employment to familiarise them with your business.
These activities can give new starters the knowledge they need to do their job, but they can also make them feel like a valued member of the team.
A well-designed induction programme can also help businesses to get the most out of their new hires.
By showing them the ropes on their first few days, your new hire will better understand your company’s culture and know what’s expected of them.
Get funding of up to £25,000 from Start Up Loans opens in new window to help your business grow.
Steps to onboard new staff
When creating an induction programme, you might think of ways to bring together practical concerns – such as information and equipment your new employee needs – and activities to help them settle in.
Every business will have priorities to consider, but here are some key parts of the onboarding process.
1. Before the employee joins
The onboarding process begins when your new hire signs their employment contract and officially becomes an employee.
You might need several days to a few weeks to prepare for their arrival once you’ve agreed on a start date.
You’ll need to gather certain information about your new employee, such as their contact details, National Insurance number, P45, proof of identity, and proof of eligibility to work in the UK.
You can also use this time to prepare a workstation and any equipment they need on their first day.
On your new hire’s first day, meeting them at the entrance and showing them around the building could be a good idea.
You might start by showing them their workspace and giving them somewhere to store their personal items, such as bags.
Once settled in, you can direct them to workplace essentials such as the bathroom, kitchen, and other office facilities.
This is also an excellent opportunity to show them the emergency exits and other health and safety equipment.
3. Share company policies
An important part of the induction process is introducing your new starter to your company policies.
These documents may include legal and contractual requirements opens in new window, such as annual leave and sickness absence, and may be found in your staff handbook.
You might also have policies related to appropriate dress code, standard office hours, and lunch breaks.
This could also be a suitable time to introduce your new hire to your company culture, sharing information about your start-up’s history and values.
4. Set expectations
One of the more important parts of the induction process is to help your new employee understand what they’ll be doing in their job.
You may have outlined this in the job description opens in new window, but now is the chance to provide specific details about what tasks need to be done and how the employee will be expected to perform and how they will be evaluated.
By being as clear as possible, you will give them a picture of their day-to-day responsibilities and allow them to consider any questions.
A common way to break this down is to provide a timeline for their onboarding – you might focus on what they’ll be doing in the first few days and then explain any new tasks introduced in the following weeks.
5. Meet the team
You should consider setting aside time on your new hire’s first day to meet anyone they’ll be working with regularly.
You might set up meetings with other team members or have them attend client appointments.
Even if this is your first hire, these interactions can be invaluable, helping your employee feel like they’re part of the team.
6. Health and safety
While you should offer health and safety training as part of your obligations as an employer, you should inform your new starter of any essential fire, health, and safety considerations.
Consider showing them where the nearest fire exits are, where the first aid kit or first aiders are located, and what to do in an emergency.
You should consider providing information about the safe handling of any specific tools or materials they may encounter when starting their job, such as hair treatment chemicals in a hair-dressing salon.
Perhaps the most important part of the onboarding process is to provide training opens in new window on the skills your new hire needs to perform their job.
What sort of training you provide will depend on the employee’s role, but reviewing any software or tools they might not be familiar with is often a good idea.
Remember that training is often ongoing as you introduce your employee to new procedures and responsibilities.
You might start with a few basics so they can get started with their work before introducing additional concepts in the coming days and weeks.
Maintaining an ongoing good staff relationship
Successfully onboarding a new employee can take several weeks or even a few months.
It can be a daunting process for any business, but it can be particularly tricky for start-ups bringing in their first hires opens in new window.
As you prepare for the onboarding process, it can be helpful to think of it as not simply a checkbox exercise; it’s about building a relationship with your employee and making them feel comfortable in their role.
One way to do that is by offering regular feedback sessions to review their performance and identify areas where they might need further support opens in new window.
These meetings also allow your employee to ask questions or raise concerns.
Creating a space to share your thoughts allows your employee to grow into the role and potentially become an invaluable member of your business.
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