The First 90 Days – How to Onboard Your New Hires the Right Way for Your Small Business

Share This Post

Human Resources is always one aspect of a small business owner’s job that needs full attention. It’s understandable that it takes a lot of time and money for a small business owner to prepare each new hire and set them up for success. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. In a previous post, we talked about how to hire, train and manage your employees. In this post, we want to show you how to onboard your employees the correct and straightforward way. It is important to understand that onboarding and training are two different things and both are just as important to your growing business. The first 90 days, aka, probationary period, is the most pivotal time when building rapport with your company, management, and co-workers. In a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, found that when support levels were high from management and other co-workers, new hires often showed more positive attitudes towards their job and worked harder towards their tasks and projects. And the opposite occurred when support and direction were not offered, leading to these new hires not making it past four months.

When employees are given the appropriate attention and are on-boarded professionally, they are more likely to succeed at their job and stay with your company, which also helps you keep your recruiting costs low and productivity high. A study done by the Wynhurst Group reports that 58% of employees who are on-boarded appropriately are more likely to remain with an organization after three years.

Now, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to onboarding. Every small business is different and has different goals and missions, but there is one thing that all business owners should do. According to Glassdoor, preparing a checklist for the first 90 days of employment is critical in keeping your employees’ day-to-day progress managed and organized.

Showing Your New Hire the Big Picture

Before we get into the checklist, there is one thing you should always remember to do once you hire your new employees. Always show them and remind them of the big picture about your company. Educate them on your company’s goals and aspirations, and familiarize them with the culture of your business. Tell them who your core customers are and the tone they should use with them. Give them examples of best practices and what they should and never do. If you conduct your business differently during specific seasons and holidays, give them insight about those, so they will be prepared once the time comes. When your employees understand the high-level details about your business, they will be sure to strategies and accomplish tasks and projects more successfully.

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the specifics of exactly what you should do; before their first day, on their first day, during their first week, as well as 30, 60, and 90 days in. 

The Checklist

Before the First Day

As soon as your new hire has signed his or her company paperwork, it’s time for you to best prepare them for their first day. The first day is all about making them feel as comfortable as possible. You don’t want them leaving the first day feeling confused or not welcome, so make sure to send your new hire a friendly email or give them a call before their first day and walk them through what they can expect.

  • Clearly, explain the parking situation at your company. If they are commuting a long distance, help them and give them a couple of commuting options.
  • Let them know what time they should arrive and where to meet you. If they are to meet with a specific person at your company, make sure they know that person’s name and the person is well prepared to offer a warm welcome. And be sure to have a backup person just in case there are any issues.
  • Show them how excited you are to have them on your team and are prepared for them to start.


The First Day

When starting any new job, the first day is always nerve-racking. We’ve all been there, even as an entrepreneur you can relate. So many thoughts and questions run through our minds. “Will I like working here? Will my new co-workers like me? I hope I don’t make any mistakes.” It’s natural.

As the boss, it is your responsibility to make sure you put as much ease on your new hire as possible. This goes beyond making them feel welcome.

  • As soon as your new hire arrives, show them to their workstation, allow them to settle in and put their personal belongings in a safe place.
  • Start an overall tour around your business. Make sure they know where the bathrooms and key destinations are; i.e. copy room, changing rooms, inventory and supply rooms.
  • If you’re able to, assign a designated person on your team to help them with anything they need for the first couple of weeks. This will ensure your new hire is taken care of for if and when you are not around.


The First Week

Now that your new hire has been acquainted for a couple of days it’s time to give them more details about your business and set them on their way.

  • Appropriately introduce your new hire to all your staff members. Make sure you tell them who each person is and what their roles are in your company. It is important that your new hire knows what each employee is responsible for so that they know the appropriate person to reach out to if they ever needed to.
  • Give them a specific overview of the company structure, the function of specific teams (if applicable) and how your new hire will and should interact with them.
  • Make sure your new hire has been given the correct information about company policies such as sexual harassment and protocol for time off and sick days.
  • It is a good idea to set sometime during this week to sit down one-on-one with your new hire to ask how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns. This will show your new employee that you care about their overall well-being at your company and help you nip any issue in the bud so that their productivity keeps rising.

If you feel that this might be too formal for your business type, you could even do this during your lunch breaks. Offer to take your new employee out to lunch and have an informal discussion about how everything is going. 


30, 60 and 90 Days In

By now your employee is not so new anymore as they move past their first 30 days towards 90 days in. They’ve now been with your company long enough to give you feedback on their experiences so far. They’ve probably interacted with a good number of customers, been familiarized with most of the staff and internal processes and procedures. They’ve started their training and depending on the learning curve are ready to take on more challenges. This is the time you can take full advantage of soliciting feedback from your new employee.

  • Prepare a questionnaire of some kind that is appropriate for the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Ask questions like, what their thoughts are on the training they’ve received, have them tell you about the things they are enjoying or not enjoying. Ask them if they would change anything within your business and how they would go about changing it.

The feedback you will gain from doing this will help you understand if you are taking the appropriate steps with your employees for their success. Their success means productivity for your business, so make sure you set aside some time to do this.   

Remember, if your new hires are trained and on-boarded well, they will pay it forward to help you with your future new hires. It’s a rippling effect that you can benefit from; once you nurture and onboard one correctly during their first couple of months, you will be insured that they will be willing to help you do the same for your future new hires. This will also free up your time to do other things to keep the needle moving in your small business.



Get on the list

Subscribe to get the latest tips and tools to grow your business.

More To Explore