Friday, December 14, 2012

SOP Friday: Employee On-Boarding

All too often, we hire a new employee and then don't give any thought to what happens when they actually show up for work. Now, I don't think a new employee should be 100% up to speed and profitable on the first day, but they SHOULD feel welcome and feel like they're joining a company that knows what it's doing. And they should not feel like they are in the way because no one knows what to do with them.

It's pretty easy to create a positive first-day-on-the-job experience. But you need to put some effort into it.

There are actually three phases of the new-employee on-boarding process: Before they show up; the first day on the job; and the training portion of their first few months on the job.

(Note: Nothing in this post will address the hiring process. I've addressed that elsewhere. See Hiring Your First Employee, Hiring Process, Hiring vs. Outsourcing Technicians, or just search my blog for the term "Hiring.")

So . . . you've agreed to hire someone. It's good for everyone if you can actually be prepared to bring that person onboard. Here are the three major stages of the on-boarding process.

Before The First Day

Of course you need a New Hire Checklist. But more than that, you need to print out eleven documents in total (see the graphic):

1. New Hire Checklist
2. "Week One Week Two" plan for training and orientation
3. Welcome 2 KPE - Employee Orientation
4. Confidentiality Agreement
5. Memo on confidentiality
6. Employment Terms memo
7. Emergency Contact form
8. Drug Free Workplace Policy
9. KPE Property sign-out form
10. Federal tax form W4
11. Federal immigration form I-9

Some of these are just forms (#3 - #11). #1 is the master checklist to make sure all of these get completed, along with other on-boarding activities. #2 is a detailed plan of action for the first two weeks of employment. It includes information on training, setting goals for the quarter, etc.

In other words, item #2 takes a good deal of effort. You have to prepare this before the day the new hire shows up. Note that, in the graphic, there are three different versions of document #2. There are different two-week plans for technicans, administrative assistants, and sales people.

The New Hire Checklist includes things like this:
- Business Cards Ordered
- Company logon / email created
- PSA Account created
- RMM Account Created
- Payroll Information prepared
- Keys required     Yes / No
- Order Phone (if needed)

- etc.

Of course this will be different for your company. Customize as needed.

First Day of Work

On the big day, plan to give the new employee a tour (no matter how small your office is), followed by a half hour or so of filling out paperwork.

I think the titles of most of the forms above make sense. Here are a few notes.

Form #3 - New Employee Orientation - includes click-by-click instructions for logging into your network, checking Web Mail, logging into the PSA, logging into the RMM, setting the alarm system, remote access, etc. Basically, you should give the new employee a "cheat sheet" for all the things they need to know.

On confidentiality: Every employee should sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that they will keep all of your company data - and your clients' data - secure and confidential. We put a copy of this in the employee's file, give them a copy, and we put a copy in a separate folder where we keep all non-disclosure agreements (in case a client asks). On the employee's last day, we give them a copy of this agreement with a reminder that they need to keep this information confidential.

If you've got company T-shirts or mugs, make sure you give the new employee one.

Training / Probationary Period

In addition to all of that, you need to prepare a 30-60-90 day plan of action. It doesn't have to have a lot of detail. But you should lay out all the training and goals you want to establish for this employee.

The first week, the new employee should go to lunch with a different person or group each day. This helps them meet their co-workers, company managers, etc. And, to be honest, it gives your staff a chance to give the newbie a different perspective on how your company operates.

During this period, you need to have a plan for introducing the new employee to all of your employees, all of your clients, and as many Standard Operating Procedures as you can.

You should have some kind of formal training process for your tools (PSA and RMM). In addition, if you require a certification from CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, etc. you need to have a training program for that.

On top of all that, you should set some "quarterly" goals for the new employee so that both of you know what is expected and how well the employee is progressing.

Note that I refer to this as the probationary period. Your Employment Terms Memo should state very clearly that there is a 90 day probationary period (or whatever works for you). This allows you to agree to some very clear goals with the new employee. It also prevents surprises if you should need to lay off the employee before the 90 days are up.

There are many pieces to the hiring puzzle. With a little effort and preparation, you can create a great on-boarding experience for your new employees. It will also be good for your company in the long run because you'll know that every employee has the same basic training and introduction to the company.

Comments welcome.

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About this Series

SOP Friday - or Standard Operating System Friday - is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business.

Find out more about the series, and view the complete "table of contents" for SOP Friday at

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Next week's topic: Helping Clients with Audits - Security and Insurance


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