Small business owners should never underestimate the value of loyal, talented, and hard-working employees, nor should they ever underestimate the tangible and intangible costs of employee turnover. I previously wrote about the steps small business owners should take when hiring their first employee. Once a new employment relationship has been created, focus must quickly shift to making the first 90 days on the job a positive and productive experience; otherwise, the relationship may be doomed to failure. Failed employment relationships can have a devastating impact on a small business and ultimately lead to its demise. Here are a few simple suggestions for navigating this critically important part of small business ownership:

  1. Have a Plan. Map out the onboarding process with detailed, bullet point agendas or milestones for their (i) first day, (ii) first week, (iii) first month, (iv) first 90 days, (v) first 180 days, and (vi) first year. An organized process will save time, money, and promote better outcomes. Make the onboarding process a creative and engaging experience for all involved.
  2. Tailor the Plan. One of a business owner’s responsibilities is to strategize ways of putting employees in the best position to succeed. When onboarding a new employee, consider specific attributes of the individual and his or her job responsibilities. Tailor that employee’s onboarding process accordingly. By doing so, an employer maximizes the opportunity to (i) make a great first impression and (ii) put the employee in a position to contribute to the success of the business as efficiently as possible.
  3. Execute the Plan. Having the best plan in the world is worthless (sometimes even worse than worthless) unless it is carefully and consistently executed. Be clear as to who is accountable for executing each aspect of the onboarding plan and follow up regularly to make sure the plan is actually being implemented.
  4. Avoid the Usual Mistakes. Be careful to avoid the same mistakes made by far too many business owners, such as: (i) trying to address hours of administrative and compliance-related tasks on the employee’s first day (i.e., spread out the “boring stuff”), (ii) failing to appreciate the importance of cultural and generational differences, (iii) not having a new employee’s office or work station meticulously clean and ready on the first day, (iv) not introducing a new employee to his or her immediate supervisors and team members; and (v) not engaging with new hires to share your passion for the business, vision for the future, and expectations for members of your team.

Like a good movie, the beginning of any employment relationship is critically important to its ultimate success. The time, attention, and resources invested in recruiting and retaining good employees will yield significant benefits over the life of your small business. Reach out to us at [email protected] or (804) 205-5162 if we can be of assistance with your small business legal, transaction, or compliance needs.

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