8 Best Practices for Your Small Business Onboarding Process

Aug 29, 2022
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Onboarding is the process when a new employee integrates into a new company's culture. Typically, the onboarding process begins when companies offer candidates a job and they decide to accept it.

Usually, HR managers should introduce new candidates to all the necessary behaviors, skills, and knowledge they'll need. One thing is typical for all kinds of companies. Onboarding is the process that ensures new hires are ready for whatever comes at them.

Successful onboarding is essential, especially for small businesses, because their limited resources don't let them repeat the hiring process frequently. While onboarding is a formal process, there are many ways to make onboarding creative and successful.

Some employees decide whether to stay with the company within the first six months. When entering a small business, new hires need more personalized attention. Their first impression will determine how the working relationship grows. If an employee has a good experience, eventually, it will bring a better outcome for the business. 

In this article, we'll walk you through the best practices for employee onboarding that you can adapt to your company. This article gives several tips for the small business onboarding process to help create the best first experience for employees and an incredible journey.

1. Be clear about your expectation of new hires

It's frustrating for new employees to spend their first day of work filling out many paper pages. But it's entirely possible to make this process more acceptable. Paperwork is the most tiresome and frustrating aspect of the onboarding process. Sending digital paperwork a few days before their start date is a great option. You can also get their attention with your social content, job announcements, and other creative ways. 

The faster you finish off paperwork, the quicker you can focus on the engagement side of onboarding. It speeds up your time to hire impressively. In this case, an epic first impression with your new hires is guaranteed.

This way, you will let them know any other necessary information they'll need before starting to work, such as directions, building access codes, the time the working day begins, their manager's contact information, and more. An automated SMS messaging system can significantly optimize this for you. Doing steps like this before day one will help to reduce stress for you and your employees.

2. Create an epic welcome with the whole team

Make your employees feel welcome from the first day. It would help if you created a warm and inviting environment from the very beginning to help relieve the tension and bring all employees together. Share the news on socials as part of your social media strategy and branding. Help new team members quickly adapt to the company's culture. Introducing them to their supervisors and colleagues is essential and should be a first-day priority. Your employees should present themselves in a fun and interactive way to get to know your teammates. Having a welcome party, with some refreshments, is a great idea.

Maybe your team decided to add each other on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. No matter which path you take to integrate your new employees, it's an important step to make them feel welcomed. The first steps are essential if your new employee wants to add productivity to your team.

3. Help the new hire by introducing them to the staff

If you want that your new hires feel like a part of the team, then you should tell them about their new company structure and departments. Particularly in small businesses, most departments are also multidisciplinary and collaborative, which can be helpful during the training process. If you’re working online, use tools when the meeting is held remotely so that your new employees can meet your team successfully.

If you want your current employees to help with the training process, not only should they help new members to gain knowledge, but you also help them get to know their colleagues personally. It helps you manage your new hire's learning experience, as you can send them to the best employees. If you have employees who are great at doing different tasks, this will help your new employee figure out the best way to handle those tasks. 

Connecting with the team leader is essential before day one. Usually, an employee's main point of contact is the direct manager. But they should collaborate with other members to access the right tools and equipment.

Not just the HR department, other employees and teams, and departments should also be involved in the onboarding process. These teams have a powerful impact on a new hire's engagement.

4. Know the new employee's needs and expectations

First-days are pretty challenging for new hires. Sympathize them and imagine yourself as a new employee. Plan the onboarding process by considering these questions. What challenges have your company recently faced? What have you achieved, what kind of goals, and what steps should you take to complete them?  

Provide them a particular training room with encouraging sentiments and company documentation they can scan. This can help them get used to before being completely trained and doing everyday tasks. Moreover, consider getting IoT solutions to keep employee data safe on different software such as task management, communication, etc.

5. Reinforce the company's mission and values to new teammates

Before applying, your new hire probably researched the company's mission and values. In that case, there is a great chance that your company's culture played a huge role when they decided to join the team. In software development companies, for instance, employees look for challenging and meaningful work-time among dedicated and motivated coworkers in an aspiring work culture. It's a pivotal time to reinforce those ideas and show those values in action.

The onboarding period is when your new employees will develop an opinion of your company. You need to determine things such as communication channels, training template, etc. For example, you can use a vanity phone number to keep in touch with employees and support them whenever needed. You already know that the first stages are vital to reinforce those ideas and show your values in real life. Make sure they form a great impression of your values and vision. Show them that you value their decision to work for your organization.

Give employees a more meaningful introduction to the workplace culture and share your team's values.  Probably you already have a great workplace culture. In that case, you need to share those values with new candidates during the onboarding process.

6. Analyze the new employee's specific job description and responsibilities

It's a mistake to think new employees fully understand their new role. Confusion during the first phase of small business onboarding can lead to undesirable surprises or expectations. Take time to introduce their role description, duties, and expectations. This will help guarantee they understand and can get any questions about their concerns. 

All this information can also be loaded into your onboarding platform so your employees can smoothly access their job details. In addition, you can use email marketing, social media, and other communication methods to keep employees engaged. A clear and concise access point is vital and will make your employees' work more efficient.

7. Introduce new employees to your policies and give them a professional development plan

Policies and procedures may be tedious, but knowing them will help new hires to ensure their success and avoid failure. Integrating this step from the beginning to help relieve them into the role they'll play in your company.

Introducing procedures also helps reinforce your value as an employer because you can add the necessary information. We wean benefits, paid time off, and other bonuses your company provides.

Having reachable short-term business goals within a specific time frame sets your new hires up for long-term success. It would be best if you discussed professional development more than once a year on your employee's anniversary. 

If you give your employees the right development plan, you help them ease into the workplace placidly. This plan will help avoid work-induced burnout or stress and encourage employee loyalty and productivity.

8. Consider it as an ongoing process 

The first stages are essential for the onboarding process, but it doesn't stop after that. Onboarding is not a one-time process. If your goal is your employees' success over time requires clear objectives and succession planning in your B2B processes. Even a great professional has a great mentor and support team to help them to succeed.

The best onboarding process takes the experience to the employee's first anniversary. Teams who focus energy on ensuring employees are happy and heard, and have development opportunities, then there is an excellent chance that the employees won't leave your company.

How to onboard with HR Cloud

HR Cloud has created a tool to automate new hires’ onboarding experiences as a leading developer of HR software. Onboard gives you all the tools to create great and productive onboarding experiences.  

Everyone involved in the onboarding process, from new hires to hiring managers, gets all the information they need at precisely the right time. Onboard lets you create a detailed employee profile that allows employees to share their experiences and interests. Not only can you have employee profiles for new hires but also customizable portals. These portals and landing pages give new hires all the information they need.

HR cloud’s mission is to make onboard greater. Therefore, HR managers can help new hires start a career path smoothly with Onboard. Employees should spend their first day shouldn't waiting for meetings or going through paperwork by themselves. Onboard gives a solution for that problem too. With HR  cloud, onboarding is excellent, fast, and accessible.


Even if your small business grows, don't underestimate the importance of the onboarding process. First, help them feel welcome and create a warm atmosphere. Avoid giving them too much paperwork during the first days. Share the main factors of your company's values with them. Introduce new hires' company goals and how new employees can help achieve them. Don't overwhelm your new employees with tasks; guide them and give them a professional development plan.

These tips help you create a company that feels organized and welcoming. Every company's onboarding program is unique. Therefore you should develop the best strategy for your team. Concentrate on what makes you and your business special and mix that into the tips discussed in this article. 

About the Author:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software  increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk

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