Among the many challenges of running a new company is the tricky matter of personnel. The product may be fantastic in principle, but without the right people behind you, it will cripple your company’s ability to get things done on time and deliver on your goals.
So, how do you make sure the new team member can work as effectively as possible, as soon as possible?
We have talked about HR tactics before with some tips that founders should think about when making hiring decisions. In this post, we dive a little deeper on the importance of onboarding, and how to go about it so you can make the most out of new talent.
Build a guide
Onboarding as a whole is the process of familiarizing a new team member with the organization, its processes, and its culture. So the first thing you should do is build a written onboarding guide that covers all the basics. It should include:
- An introduction to the company, and your vision of what you’re trying to achieve
- Details on the product or solution, and how they work
- Who your customers are, and how your market and sell to them
- The narrative of your brand, and how your new hire should describe the company
- How different departments function, who is responsible for what, and how they work together
- Administrative processes like booking holidays and feedback mechanisms
As a nascent startup, things are probably moving very quickly. Time and financial resources are always under pressure, so you might think that there’s just no time to sit down and write up an onboarding guide.
That would be a mistake.
Although it will take some time, and may mean delegating HR responsibilities throughout the existing team (such as who to talk to for holidays or office supplies), this is crucial to giving new members the resources to understand the company, and the foundations to start working efficiently.
Get involved, stay involved
An onboarding guide is only meant to outline the foundations of what the new hire needs to know about the company, so the specifics of their role will still need to be detailed. That’s why you should set up meetings between the new hire and the people they will work most closely with, so responsibilities and expectations can be communicated.
Being a founder who has had to scrounge and improvise to make your dream a reality, you might come to expect the same of your new hires. Besides, you have already written a guide, so what else do they need?
Well, as a founding member, you might firstly find that you are the best person to communicate your startup’s vision, and why your product is solving the problem that it’s solving. Secondly, the clearer you can make their goals and what you expect of them, the faster they’ll ramp up their skills to match.
Also important is ensuring that there are regular opportunities for feedback and questions. This gives you the chance to review how well they have taken on the training, and gives both sides the space to discuss how improvements could be made.
As they continue to become more integrated in the company, the new hire will become more adept at their role. A clear and comprehensive onboarding process will make this transition far more efficient, give the employee resources to refer back to, and ultimately, help you build a great team.