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Employer Guide to Employee Onboarding

The employee onboarding process is your chance to turn initial employee anxiety into excitement. Far from being just about completing paperwork, it’s your chance to create a welcoming and positive experience for all the amazing talent you have attracted to your business.

A recent survey found that new hires who had completed structured onboarding programs were 58% more likely to be with the company after 3 years. An effective onboarding system could therefore save your business a lot of additional expenses in the long run.

What is employee onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into your pet care business. It typically involves a lot of logistics and paperwork, but it’s also about helping your new employee fit into their role. At the end of the process, the employee should feel welcomed and supported.

The onboarding process can involve many different steps such as an orientation and training. Exactly what that looks like will depend on the new employee's role. For example, a new dog grooming employee will have a different onboarding experience from a new receptionist.

New employee onboarding

Onboarding a current employee into a new role within your organization is usually easier than onboarding a new hire. The current employee is already familiar with the company's culture, and most of the necessary paperwork such as insurance and payroll is already completed.

New employee onboarding, on the other hand, includes all the administrative tasks but also strategies to keep new hires engaged and connected emotionally to the company.

Source: iStock

5 Steps to onboard a new employee.

Onboarding a new employee can be exciting and stressful. An onboarding checklist, specific to your pet care business, can be used to make things more streamlined. It also ensures all of the important items are taken care of during the initial onboarding process.

Step 1 - Get everything ready before their first day.

The onboarding process should start even before the new employee sets foot in the building. To ensure a smooth start, it's important to prepare their workspace beforehand. If you need to add a profile to your employee onboarding software, be sure to do that before their first day.

Get onboarding materials ready. Documents like the employee handbook, benefits information, and company policies can be sent over electronically before the start date. This is one of the many benefits of going paperless.

Step 2 - Introduce them to the team.

A recent study found that work relationships have a huge impact on how a new hire understands their role and responsibilities. Socialization promotes constructive feedback and discussions about how the newcomer’s position fits within the company as a whole.

When the new hire arrives, introduce them to the team. It’s a good idea to have their manager and a few of their team members on hand for a quick introduction. Introducing them to everyone early ensures that they can find help when necessary. Early introductions can also calm first-day nerves.

Step 3 - Review the company’s policies.

Even though the new hire was sent their contract and employee handbook prior to starting,  it’s a good idea to go over the finer details in person during their induction.

Important items to detail include:

  • Dress code: What is acceptable and what must be avoided.
  • Vacation days:  How much notice must be given and whether vacation days can overlap with other team members.
  • Sick days: How to notify the company when they are not coming in due to an illness.
  • Benefits: How to properly access and use their company benefits.
  • Shift durations: Does your new hire have to clock in and out, and how flexible are their start and end times?
  • Compensation: When is payday, and who is best to contact if the payment doesn’t look right.

A recent survey found that 85% of new employees found their onboarding process helped them better understand and effectively use their benefits. Explaining the finer details of the company’s policies during the onboarding process can help to increase overall employee satisfaction.

Step 4 - Provide training.

On-the-job training through shadowing a more experienced team member is a great way for new hires to learn the ropes and improve their skills. This is particularly important for new dog groomers who will be learning technical skills.

Hands-on training also allows new hires to contribute to the company right from the get-go which can increase their job satisfaction.

Step 5 - Provide feedback.

A good onboarding program should provide continuous feedback and support. Encourage new hires to ask lots of questions and provide them with regular feedback through both constructive criticism and praise.

It’s also important for onboarding programs to establish clear expectations for new employees. This includes setting goals, outlining job responsibilities, and communicating the company’s culture and values.

Source: iStock

Employee onboarding best practices.

Effective onboarding is crucial when setting new employees up for success. While following the steps above, here are some best practices to also keep in mind:

  • Stay connected: Check in with your new hire often so you give them lots of opportunities to ask for help and clarification.
  • Assign a buddy: Consider implementing a buddy system by pairing new hires with a friendly colleague or mentor. Newcomers with a buddy reported being better socialized, less anxious about their job, and more satisfied with their onboarding process.
  • Get the paperwork out of the way: When possible, have new hires complete the necessary paperwork online before their start date.
  • Provide a workplace tour: Give them a quick tour of where everything is and don’t forget to tell them where the bathroom is!
  • Essentials only: Don’t overwhelm the new hire with too much information on their first day. Instead, focus on high-level items that they need to know. You can add the rest in later.
  • Don’t skip training: It may seem tempting to skip training under the assumption that your new employee knows what they are doing, but you likely have a preferred way of doing things that the new hire will need to learn.
  • Set clear expectations: Don’t be afraid to set clear expectations about performance from the beginning. These goals help your new hires know what’s expected of them from day one.

Over-communicate: Some things may seem very logical to you, but try not to assume your new hire knows all the ins and outs like you do.

Source: iStock

How can PetExec help with onboarding?

If you want to make onboarding even easier, PetExec offers several employee management features for you to take advantage of.

PetExec’s extensive employee schedule features allow you to integrate your new hire into the company quickly. Breaks and lunch times can be easily scheduled and accessed through any device. This means your new hire isn’t reliant on another employee telling them when to go on their break.

The calendar feature allows everyone to see exactly when and where your new hire is working. You can see at a glance in which room your new hire is located and whether they have been paired with their buddy.

The time clock module allows the new hires to easily clock in and out of their shifts. They don’t have to find a manager before starting which can be frustrating for new hires.

When it comes to training, PetExec provides onboarding sessions, how-to articles, guides, videos, and the ability to purchase coaching sessions. Additionally, if your new employee needs extra help, they can reach out to PetExec directly through chat (9 AM-7 PM ET), phone, or email for friendly assistance.

Source: iStock

Commonly asked questions.

How to attract and retain employees?

Attracting and retaining top talent requires a multi-pronged approach. Work environment, competitive compensation, and opportunities for growth are all vital for attracting and retaining employees.

Factors that can help attract and retain employees include:

  • Offering competitive compensation and benefits
  • Fostering a positive company culture
  • Creating a strong company brand
  • Streamlining your hiring process
  • Focusing on skill and potential - not just qualifications
  • Providing development opportunities
  • Promoting a healthy work-life balance
  • Regularly recognizing and appreciating your employees
  • Encouraging regular feedback and communication

How long does it take to onboard a new hire?

Smaller companies with simpler roles often have a 1-2 week onboarding process. However, larger companies with more complicated roles may take months to completely onboard an employee.

Plus, onboarding never really stops. The average employee at a pet company will probably be up to speed after a week or two. However, you should continue to provide feedback and promote your employee’s development for the whole time they are with you.

How can I keep employees engaged during onboarding?

To keep your new hires engaged during the onboarding process, try not to overwhelm them with paperwork. Instead, give them a small project to complete that has a real impact on the company.

Encouraging active learning is also great for maintaining employee engagement. When possible, allow a mentor to train the new employee while doing real work. If you can help it, don’t make your new hire sit through hours of boring online training modules.

Keep the process social, too. Introduce them to key team members and mentors right away so that they can start building those relationships. Getting the new employee connected to their co-workers is vital to onboarding.

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