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Recruitment & Onboarding: How to Onboard a New Employee

Now you may be thinking, “Onboarding? Isn’t that just a fancy word for training?” Yes, it is, but it’s also so much more than that. When done correctly, a clean onboarding process will help you to establish your worker’s roles, relationships, and expectations when interacting with management and other team members so your business can hit the ground running. A successful onboarding will not only help you prepare your employees for work, but it will also help you avoid high turnover rates and miscommunications while on the job.

 

To help guide you as you navigate onboarding, you can download our new hire checklist and adjust it to fit your company’s specific needs.

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Prior To First Day

You only get to make a first impression once, and an employee’s first day sets the tone for what they expect from your company for the rest of the time that they’re there. If you’re ill-prepared and disorganized, you run the risk of your employee coming in with low morale or – worse – not taking their position seriously.

 

To start off on the right foot, make sure you provide employees with any necessary information they need for their first day on the job and give them a clear understanding of what their first day will look like. This will help settle their nerves and frees you both from running into complications. Before their first day, you’ll want to provide employees with:

The Where and When

Make sure the employee knows their workplace location, whether it’s on-site or at the office, and has a clear understanding of how to get there, where to park, as well as the start time and date.

Dress Code

Even if your company has a uniform, it’s a good idea to go over the dress code before your employee arrives and, if possible, give them at least one uniform to wear before arriving. That way, your employee knows exactly what grooming standards are expected and won’t come in looking over/underdressed and feeling out of place.

What To Bring

Because a good bit of the first day will be spent filling out paperwork, you’ll also need to specify which documents or information new employees need to bring with them on the first day to complete all necessary forms. Typically, they’ll need their driver’s license or proof of identity, proof of name change, social security card, proof of residency, bank routing and account number, a blank check, and proof of their ability to work in the US. If your employee is going to be jumping into work the first day, you’ll also want to specify any tools or equipment they need to bring with them or purchase, how long they have to obtain these tools, and any pay advances for tools your company has available.

Schedule

Let your new hire know what to expect from their first day, whether it’s paperwork, safety training, shadowing staff, or jumping straight into work.

 

Additionally, you’ll want to take time to prepare your staff so they know what to expect and have some idea of who the new hire is before being introduced. Send out a company-wide announcement about the new hire with their name, position, and start date as well as a brief description of them and copy your new hire on the email so everyone has a chance to introduce themselves digitally or even schedule a welcome lunch / dinner for your new hire’s first day.

Setting expectations

A vital step when onboarding your employees is your expectations. Your explanation of their roles, responsibilities, and company policies and procedures should be simple to understand yet comprehensive enough so that your employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them. They should know where they fit in the organization, where their position falls on the chain of command, and why their work matters to the company as a whole. To sum it up, you should explain the ‘what’ ‘where’ and ‘why’ of their role.

New Hire Paperwork

As soon as your employees start their first day, your first activity should be to have them sign all the necessary paperwork. This includes company policies, tax forms, benefits forms, and any other documentation you might need. Once you’ve collected this information, be sure to send all necessary employee info to your state’s new hire reporting agency.

Tax Forms

Depending on the type of employee you’ve hired, you’ll need to have them fill out a W-9 or 1099-NEC tax form in order to report wages and taxes withheld. A W-2 is for employees who receive regular pay and employee benefits while 1099 are reserved for self-employed, independent contractors. You can learn more about how you should classify employees here.

USCIS Form I-9

These forms are used to verify the identity of employees and their authorization to work in the United States and must be completed by both citizens and non-citizens.

New Hire Reporting Form

While all businesses are required to report new employees, only some states require new employees to fill out this form. This form is used to determine if an employee owes child support that will come out of their paycheck.

Benefits Form

If you offer benefits to employees, like health or dental insurance, you’ll need to provide employees with enrollment forms and information about which benefits are available, the cost for individuals and their families, and plan options.

Employment Contract / Agreement

This document establishes the terms of employment between your company and employees. Here, you’ll want to detail the employee’s salary, wages, schedule, duration of employment, responsibilities, benefits, and any other relevant information.

At-Will Agreement

This form asks the employee to acknowledge the employer is allowed to terminate them without good cause and at any time during employment. This policy is available to all employers in the US except Montana, which protects employees from being fired without cause.

Non-Compete Agreement

This agreement prevents employees from going after customers of their current employer so that employees can’t leave and then start their own company and take your clients with them. Not all of these agreements are enforceable, but you have a better chance at the agreement holding up in court when you’re specific and have a lawyer look over the agreement.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

This agreement protects your business from employees revealing private and confidential information, or trade secrets like customer lists and formulas for your products. This agreement should include what information is confidential, the terms and length of non-disclosure, and what penalties employees can face for breaching this agreement.

Non-Solicitation Agreement

This agreement protects your customers by preventing employees from soliciting anything besides your company’s products and services.

Arbitration Agreement

This contract prevents employees from bringing certain claims to court, only allowing employees to raise these claims in an arbitration proceeding which has historically benefited employers.

Direct Deposit Banking Form

If your business uses direct deposit, you’ll want to have your employees fill out a direct deposit form, like this one.

Emergency Contact Form

Unfortunately, on-site accidents do happen – and it’s very necessary for you to collect this information should an incident arise. This should include emergency contacts’ name, address, home and cell phone numbers, and work phone numbers.

Company Property Use Forms

These forms should outline your company’s policy for company equipment loaned out to employees like phones, vehicles, and other equipment and collect necessary information about the condition the item was in when loaned, expectations, requirements upon return, and any necessary information about the employee, like their drivers license number.

 

Additionally, you’ll want to collect a signed acknowledgement of any other company policies, or of your employee handbook.

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Employee Personnel File

While every business owner hopes it never happens, there’s always a chance your business will be audited or served with a lawsuit, so it’s important that you be prepared should the situation arise. To prove you followed all necessary procedures hiring, onboarding, and disciplining employees, keep all employee information and documentation neatly organized into employee personnel files.

 

In addition to any first day paperwork noted above, you’ll want to include:

 

  • General employee information, like contact information
  • Pay and Compensation Information
  • Benefit Beneficiary Information
  • Worker’s Compensation Information
  • Termination Documents (if applicable)

 

Although not essential, the following information can also be helpful should conflicts arise:

 

  • Offer Letter
  • Signed Acknowledgement of Employee Handbook / Policies
  • Job Description
  • Resume
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Warnings and/or Disciplinary Actions
  • Training and Certifications
  • Background Check
  • Drug Test
  • Time Off Records

 

However, there are certain documents that should be stored separately. You’ll want to file these documents away together away from office staff since they contain confidential information including…

 

  • I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)
  • EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) information
  • Medical information, including doctor’s notes and FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) forms

Office Tour & Introductions

If your company has an office, provide the new employee with a tour when they arrive. That way, they won’t be left wondering where to go if you get pulled away or have to muster the courage to ask where the bathroom and vending machines are. In addition to key areas like restrooms, the kitchen, and conference room(s), you’ll want to show them their workstation, emergency exits, and where to find common supplies like pens or the printer.

 

This also gives you an opportunity to begin introducing your new hire to your staff and explain other employees’ positions and duties, or even scheduling training with relevant employees.

Pro-Tip: To help your new hire settle in quicker, provide them with a staff list that includes employees’ job titles and contact information and photos.

Welcome Package

Next, you’ll want to provide employees with new hire essentials including their… Uniform and Name Tag Safety Gear Tools and Equipment Building Access Card/Key Vehicle Key Passcodes, Alarm Codes Login credentials for email and field service software. Company devices, like phones, computers, or tablets A copy of the employee handbook and and training guides Some companies even take this a step further by including thoughtful, customized items like a handwritten welcome letter from the owner, branded merchandise like water bottles and coffee mugs, and/or a thoughtful gift like snacks for the road, a bluetooth headset for driving, or even a gift card.

Step 1: Decide what procedures and information employees need to know

When developing a new hire training program, you first want to establish what new hires need to know in order to do their job effectively. Jot down a list of all the tasks someone in this position would need to complete in a given week, then break those tasks down into subtasks. If you have other employees or know other people in your industry, don’t be afraid to consult them on what should be included in training.

Step 2: Divide tasks into modules and establish a training schedule

Now that you’ve established what training your new hire needs to be successful, you have to decide how to divide the information up in a way that’s easily digestible so you don’t overwhelm employees. Create a schedule with blocks of time set aside for each task, clear goals, ways to assess employees’ process, and frequent check-ins. Most new hires have a hard time voicing when they feel unsure about a task they need to complete, so setting aside scheduled time for questions before, during, and after training is a good way to keep a clear line of communication open.

Step 3: Establish your training methods

Not everyone learns the same way. So, it’s important to adjust training to fit new hires’ specific learning styles and experience. Some employees come in itching to work, confident in their ability, or learn best by doing and asking questions as they run into issues. So, start by giving these employees small tasks they can work their way up from, clear points of contact, and by making training more interactive.

 

Others might not be comfortable with just jumping in and want to sit back and take in the information before getting started. For these employees, give them time to read over training documents or allow them to shadow employees and contribute as they gain confidence.

 

For both styles, try to provide detailed training materials with visuals they can consult along the way. Even if an employee is more hands-on, giving them the tools they need gives them more flexibility to work issues out on their own instead of waiting around for another employee to free up to help them.

Step 4: Delegate tasks

Schedule time between your new hire and all relevant employees for a training session. In addition to being a great way to get employees acquainted, each employee can offer their unique perspective and advice giving your new hire a more holistic view of your company and their role in it.

If you’re training an employee on software or specific equipment, see which resources the company has available. Most companies have detailed documentation and videos. And some apps like FieldPulse’s field service management software even offer 1-on-1 training for your employees.

Step 5: Be thorough

Even if employees have a knack for specific parts of their job and don’t seem to need guidance, it’s always beneficial to still go over best practices with them. For example, even if an employee is tech-savvy and has used field service management software before, it doesn’t mean they’ll know all the shortcuts and ways your company specifically uses the app when learning a new program.

Step 6: Review often

Instead of calling it a day once the training is done, go a step further and create test scenarios for your employees to roleplay. This will help them to understand how to properly implement your new practices, policies, or software when the time comes to interact with a customer.

 

Soon, you’ll be ready to let employees loose on their own and can start setting performance goals.

 

Onboarding can seem overwhelming but with the right tools and processes, you’ll be able to streamline it in no time and reap the rewards of a thorough training process.

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