For small business owners time is a precious commodity. Yet when it comes to helping a new employee get acclimated to their role and environment, it’s timewell spent. By planning ahead and allowing the newcomer to gradually adjust to their new position, you can reap long-term productivity and revenue gains.
A thought-out company introduction helps increase employee retention, improve productivity, and enhance morale. Leslie Lerude, a human resources consultant based in San Francisco, calls this process the “welcoming experience.”
“Statistics show that a successful welcoming experience leads to greater tenure with the company,” she says. “Employees build a stronger emotional connection to the company, which enhances their loyalty to the employee brand.”
Employee longevity makes good business sense. A study from Society for Human Resource Management estimates that it costs six to nine months’ of an employee’s salary to replace them. High turnover can also damage morale and productivity. “Employees can’t help but wonder why there’s so much turnover,” Lerude says. “It’s far better to be proactive and focus on welcoming than react to turnover.”
To ensure your company creates a positive, productive experience for bringing on new employees, keep the following practices in mind:
Prepare in advance
As soon as you hire a new employee, start preparing for her arrival. Lerude suggests that small business owners create a detailed welcoming checklist. Include everything from ordering business cards, organizing a workstation, and acquiring and setting up a computer and other necessary equipment. “It’s a financial and cultural loss when an employee shows up and nothing is set up for them,” says Lerude.
Focus on culture first
During the first week, let your new employee get acquainted with the people and surroundings. Give them a tour of the facility, schedule meetings with management, and treat them to lunch with the team. “A small business should culturally invest in candidates during their first week,” says Lerude. “Give them time to connect with the company’s mission, values, and people. The company will get a different level of productivity back in spades.”
The new hire’s direct manager should also discuss general work processes such as email and communication protocol. The manager should give the new hire the tools necessary to learn any proprietary software, scheduling tools, and internal communications platforms.
Assign an ambassador
A new employee can disrupt the existing team’s routine. Some staffers may not want to take time out of their day to train a new employee. Others need time to warm up to a new person. To ease tension among the team, Lerude suggests designating a “cultural ambassador.” Appoint the employee that enjoys helping and training others, or who simply wants to expand his role in the company. “Encourage and reward the person that wants to be part of the welcoming experience,” she says.
By investing extra time on the front end to fully acclimate new employees, you’ll gain a more productive, motivated team. “Don’t see welcoming as a policy,” Lerude says. “See it as a great practice.”
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