For those employed at a fresh, new startup, or even a mature startup, the idea of spending resources on an area like new employee onboarding might seem questionable. The truth is, startups need successful employee onboarding programs more than anyone. The organizational costs of employee turnover are estimated to be between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary and with so many opportunities in the job market for job candidates today, startups need to find and keep top talent the first time around.
While that all sounds great, at the end of the day, suddenly having the resources to create successful onboarding programs for a company's startup is easier said than done. So, we sought the opinions of today’s professionals to help startup businesses understand some key factors they should include during new employee onboarding.
These answers originally appeared on Quora. Some have been edited for brevity and clarity.
The Startup Culture
“Impart the startup's culture and values. Every startup culture is different. While a new employee may have gotten glimpses of the culture through recruiting and marketing materials and through meeting team members during interviews, the onboarding process is a great opportunity to ensure that a new hire learns about the values that the team shares...A prerequisite to doing this effectively during onboarding is, of course, actually having a shared understanding internally of what defines the startup's culture, mission, and values.”
The Takeaway: What is so important about Lau’s statement is that it’s often assumed that new employees already have an understanding of the company culture and values when they are hired, but that might not always be true. Company culture and values should be emphasized and tied back to why the employee was hired to help your startup become successful. Hopefully, that’s something your startup’s founders already know.
Understanding the Workflow
“Get Them to Hit the Ground Running with Team Communication. To get your new hire to hit the ground running give them a small assignment -- that’s part of a bigger project. Show them where their team talks and shares files. Encourage them to read everything that’s been said and done on this project to get up to speed.”
The Takeaway: Getting new employees familiar with how the team functions and communicates is crucial to learning the culture, the workflow and how they fit in with their new company. The sooner they are able to see how their work affects the big picture, the sooner they can work towards the main goals of the startup.
Read more about the best ways to retain today’s job hoppers
Keeping Things Aligned
“Have sync up meetings regularly. Meet once a week (+/-, depending on your team’s needs) to help with any immediate questions and give guidance on next steps. Don’t let matters drag on until they are discovered. Efficiency is something that distributed teams sometimes struggle with, due to trouble iterating quickly, so extra effort has to be put in to actively work towards optimal efficiency.”
The Takeaway: It’s not just important to ensure new employees can communicate with their team. Whoever manages new employees should try to communicate frequently; making sure the new employee has learned the job correctly, has the resources they need and feel comfortable communicating any concerns with their work or their team.
Planning for the Future
“Take them serious, make it clear what is expected of them and what development opportunities they have if they achieve certain milestones. They want to be proud of their impact, so emphasize what impact they can have and show them how working for you will set them on a clear and great professional path.”-
The Takeaway: It’s never too early, especially for a startup, to spend time managing the current and future performance of a new employee. In fact, having career discussions will keep them thinking about the future and what it’s going to take to get there.
Working for a startup is an exciting opportunity, but it might also be considered risky. If you run or work for a startup and you’re wondering if new employee onboarding is worth it, just remember these tips from professionals who once asked themselves the same thing.
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