How to onboard new employees for their first day

Hiring a new employee this year? Onboarding new employees can be stressful if you’re not prepared. You have a lot of information to share, and new employees have a lot to deal with… Learning the building layout, job responsibilities, corporate culture, office protocol, new computer equipment — and who to call when the copier won’t work. But you can make it easier for them… Take the load off them and invest in learning a few tips for onboarding new employees.

Just need help figuring out taxes for your new hires? Feel free to jump over to our post that outlines the tax requirements when hiring employees.

1 – Remote onboarding – Start early

onboarding new employees

You can utilize the internet, intranet, and other communication tools to help with remote onboarding:

  • Take care of HR-type paperwork that can be completed online. Avoid that blizzard of forms that usually greets new employees by emailing forms, which can be a big pressure reliever for new employees. Try to do this in one, neat electronic package, rather than dispatching what’s needed in a piecemeal fashion. It presents a clean, organized image of your company.
  • Help new hires learn names and faces and job titles before the first meetings. Hopefully, your company website, Facebook page, or blog contains pictures — both professional and casual – of staff. You can even explain the new employee’s relationships to the people they will be working with the closest before they even step foot in an office.
  • Distribute your policy handbook, recent copies of newsletters, and other materials that will help employees learn about your business and its day-to-day operations.

Congratulations! You’ve just saved yourself a lot of time with the onboarding process. And, you’ve helped new hires learn — at their own pace — what would normally be presented in mass the first day, which means that this information is more likely to be absorbed and retained.

2 – The human element — the onboarding process continues their first day

Here’s what’s left to do in person with new employees within the office. While COVID-19 has changed the way many small businesses work, some businesses will remain fully remote. But, if your business requires in-person officing, read on!

  • Humanize the company’s founding and founders. Speak to them about the founding vision, why the company started, and what problems the business is trying to solve today.
  • Make the new employee’s work area look presentable. Order their business cards in advance, as well as the door (or cubicle) nameplate. Put their name on as many things as you can – their paperwork, the company phone directory, a personal cover letter attached to the standard employee handbook, etc. It will make them feel welcome and a part of the team from the get-go.
  • Send out a team email introducing the new addition. Pass along anything you’ve learned that’s not on resumes that might help break the ice when the in-person introductions begin. Send a message that the new employee was needed, and that they play an important role in achieving the company’s overall mission.
  • Assign a co-worker to mentor the new employee. This shouldn’t be a boss-underling relationship, but rather someone with good people skills who can walk them through the company’s computer work-and-collaboration system, take them to lunch, and be available for questions. (If you are a smaller business, it’s ok to be the mentor to new employees.)
  • Give the new employee breathing room the first day or two. Despite all of the information the new employee may have amassed through their online prep work, they’ll still be getting bombarded with new information. Let them immerse themselves in their work areas and learn about the technology you’ve provided them – without being observed constantly.
  • Don’t assume the new employee absorbs everything they read before their first day. Schedule an hour their first day to ask them if they have any questions or concerns. Hand them a written job description, and if you can, share information about the structure and content of their first employee evaluation so they know how they’ll be assessed. Then, try to do an informal check-in once a month or so until the first formal review.

Need help with new hire onboarding from a tax perspective?

After all that, you might have forgotten about the tax to-dos for new employees. New hire onboarding can be a challenge in and of itself—but if you bring in tax challenges it can be even more complex. First, educate yourself on tax requirements when hiring employees. Then, as you read through the necessities, know that help is at your fingertips.

We’re experienced in serving businesses like yours. Our certified tax professionals are specially trained in taxes by Block Advisors. 

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