Tips for Onboarding Staff
Onboarding staff. Some people cringe, and some people love it. No one should really love staff turnover and onboarding staff. It's normally a hellish process. The reason you have the three-month trial probation is that you need to train them up in that three months, and then if you don't, you're kind of stuck with them, and it's a terrible feeling. What we're going to be talking about today is making your onboarding processes is more refined so that it isn't a task that you won't hate doing.
Before You Begin the Process
Straight from the get-go, I do a certain process to find someone on SEEK. We do some very tricky things on SEEK to try and find people. What we do in our industry, it's very important to have a high level of attention to detail, and you want to make sure that the people that you're getting are fully reading the SEEK post. How we make this happen is by writing a page or page and a half long job post. We make sure it's excessive. Throughout the post, we write just once or twice, "If you do not email through to," the email address that we use, so employment@yourcompanyname or whatever it is, "Do not email through to this address, you will not be considered for the job." This is important to do in order to whittle down your applicants. A lot of people just apply to 100 jobs and think someone will say yes. If they're not going to go to the trouble to actually contact you, you shouldn't be going to the trouble to read through what ends up being literally hundreds of emails.
The Next Step
You've now got a bunch of people that have emailed through to you. You can use different tools such as Zapier and other integration tools that let you send an email back to them. We send out a few basic questions, such as, "Do you have your driver's licence? How long have you been in XYZ industry? What would you say is your primary, secondary, and tertiary interests in working with us?" By doing this you then get all this great data that you can then export into Excel, Google Sheets or whatever it is that you're using to be able to look at which candidates you find most appropriate. The onboarding process for a new staff member hasn't even properly started yet, but it has already become well more refined in only a few hours of work.
Documentation is High Priority
Documentation, documentation, documentation. It's so important. Whoever's in current job roles, and I mean everyone in your company, needs to start writing down the processes of what they do on their day-to-day. It can be anything from replacing the coffee filters to offboarding old hardware, or an old client, or any sort of thing. Anything and everything should be documented. Absolutely everything. We started doing this process, and within six months, we had more than 150 knowledge base articles on how to do things throughout our business. It builds quickly, and it is an expensive process if you're doing it properly.
Time to Onboard
Once you've got all that down pat, the onboarding becomes really easy. You look at the tasks that they need to focus on mostly, and you look at the different systems that they need to have logins into. If your IT company's half-decent, they will be able to integrate all of the different logins and passwords that you use into a single portal. This means there will be one password for everyone to remember, and that also means that there's one place for everything to be deactivated.
That is just as important. You want to make offboarding as easy as onboarding too. No one wants to spend their day going through 670 password changes over a 12-hour period with three staff members to change everything to make sure they no longer have access. Integrate all your systems together so that you can click the on and the off button very quickly and easily. It makes your whole setup more secure.
The onboarding process is a two-person step. You have one person that's going to be setting up all the different accounts and the procedures. That's the internal onboarding process for that new staff member. You then have the tasks that that new staff member needs to do once they've been onboarded. Maybe it's learning the different systems, learning the different utilities and tools, or learning where the bathroom is. Any of these things can be documented and they can view them if they have access to a portal. Your IT company should be able to jump in and help you set up so that you are on top of it.
Use the Documentation to Your Advantage
Everything becomes more straightforward with great documentation. The best bit about using a great-quality documentation setup is the value of your business goes through the roof. You have something tangible where you can show, "This is how this works." It means you can have key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow you to measure what people are doing and what people aren't. If they're not abiding by the exact instructions and processes that you've described, and they're going off the rails and doing it in a different way, you can easily issue a warning. You have the procedural documentation there that they're able to follow and make sure they're doing the right things. If you need more IT support to be able to do something like this, call out to them. See what they say. You shouldn't be spending all your time doing this. You need to have processes in place so it's nice and quick.
The Final Word
Your time as a business owner is valuable. I think it is the most valuable in the company. People are looking up to you, and you need to have time available to them. If you're too busy doing other stuff, you will not be focusing on the right things. Being able to document everything, even if the onboarding at the early stages is taking a little bit longer, means that it's a task that you don't have to do in the future. Document, script, automate, integrate. That's what you need to remember to do, and that is what's going to push you above and beyond your competitors and have you have a tangible, saleable asset when it comes down to selling your business. Stay good!