You’ve found someone with the talent and passion to truly make an impact on your small business. Now, do everything you can to help your new hire feel welcome and important. Use these nine tips to create an effective, unforgettable first week that will set the tone for a prosperous tenure at your small business.
No. 1: Get bureaucracy out of the way. The most memorable thing about the first day shouldn’t be an endless stream of forms. Send whatever paperwork you can ahead of time to fill out at home. (Your new hire will appreciate not being put on the spot for an emergency contact.) Include an employee handbook, too.
No. 2: Send welcome emails. Provide your small business team with background on their newest colleague and the person’s start date. Then, encourage them to send individual introductory messages. Knowing something about others before stepping foot in the office will up the newbie’s comfort level and provide icebreaking material.
No. 3: Check in. Call the day or so before the start date to express excitement and answer any last-minute questions. Providing info on parking, building security, ID to bring and exactly where to go can ease those first-morning jitters. And let your new hires know they needn’t brown bag that first day; you’ll be providing lunch for the office in celebration of their arrival.
No. 4: Prepare a space. Don’t leave your enthusiastic new team members feeling like an uninvited guest. A ready-to-go station with working tech, passwords set up, and ample supplies shows you’re anticipating all the contributions they will make to your small business. For a nice touch, add company swag and a gift card to the neighboring coffee shop.
No. 5: Give the grand tour. Besides learning practical things like the location of the copier, walking around the facilities provides a taste of all the activities going on at your busy small business. To build a sense of purpose, emphasize how your new hire’s role fits into this larger picture.
No. 6: Assign a mentor. Joining a close-knit staff can be a bit intimidating at first. Appointing a friendly team member to act as a “buddy” may ease some of those feelings of being the outsider. This person also serves as a resource to answer those “dumb” (but oftentimes important) questions news hires hesitate to ask the boss.
No. 7: Start training. Don’t let willing hands sit idle when your small business has so many things to do. Patient, detailed instruction and manageable assignments from the get-go allow new hires to get their feet wet and build confidence.
No. 8: Lay out an agenda. Keep your new hire from wondering when you’ll get to the “good” stuff discussed during the interviews by constructing a framework during the first week. Not only will this build anticipation for upcoming assignments and learning opportunities, it shows that you have long-term plans for this person to make a difference to the small business.
No. 9: Review the week. Finally, a one-on-one after a few days gives you and your new employee the opportunity to give timely feedback. Knowing his or her concerns and answering questions demonstrates that you care and want the individual to succeed. Likewise, praising great things you noticed encourages the behavior to continue, and identifying potential problems stops bad habits from forming. Considerate communication early on sets the tone that your small business is built on honesty and trust, not mindreading.
Ready to go further? Check out 5 Ways to Set Your Small Business Employees Up for Success