New Employee Onboarding Process For Small Business Guide

Employee onboarding is essential because it lays the foundational experience for new hires, setting the tone for their journey within the organization. A well-executed onboarding process ensures employees feel welcomed, understood, and integrated into the company culture from day one. Onboarding provides new hires with the necessary tools, training, and insights to perform their roles effectively and fosters a sense of belonging and alignment with the company's values and objectives. In addition, onboarding can help protect your business by ensuring your new employee understands and commits to your values, directions and terms of employment. 


Small businesses without an HR department face unique challenges in onboarding new employees. Primarily, there is no one to guide you how to onboard an employee properly. 

Thus, we created this straightforward onboarding guide to help you navigate the process. This guide is a step-by-step checklist for onboarding your new employee. 

Important: This guide to the employee onboarding process begins after you have completed your interviews and have now decided to hire a candidate. 

1. Before the First Day: Extending the Job Offer

Creating an excellent first impression is essential. So is protecting your company if things don't work out. The journey begins with the job offer and the employment contract:

A. Make a Personalized Job Offer Letter: Include personal congratulations, role details, and the company's enthusiasm. Be transparent about expectations, culture, and the onboarding process. Please read our guide to making job offers here

B. Make an Employment Contract: The employment contract is your opportunity to eliminate unneeded risk by clarifying the terms and conditions of employment and by contracting out certain common law liabilities: Read our guide to making employment contracts here

C. Preparing for the First Day: Make the new employee's integration into the company seamless:

  1. Onboarding Kit: Prepare a welcome kit memo containing all the essential information you want the employee to know as they begin their new job. 
  2. Workstation Setup: Ensure computer and email access and other vital tools are ready for the employee to use on day one. 
  3. Assigning a Mentor: Match the new hire with a colleague/manager/supervisor to guide them. This could be yourself if you are a small firm. Tell the employee in their above-noted onboarding kit about this mentor and that they should contact this person if they have questions. 
  4. Communicate the New Hire: Tell the rest of your team about your new hire and advise them of the start date. Also, consider posting on social media about your new hire. This can be a great way to broadcast your value. 
  5. Data Housekeeping: Add the new employee to your roster or your HRIS system. Also, add your new employee to your payroll.

D. Personal Welcome: Make the new hire feel at home:

  1. Friendly Greeting: A warm welcome when they walk in the door helps alleviate first-day anxiety.
  2. Office Tour: Introduce the office environment.
  3. Team Introductions: Facilitate introductions to foster relationships.

E. Provide Essential Tools: Supply all necessary tools like computer and email access. 

F. Orientation: Provide a comprehensive orientation:

  1. Company Culture Overview: Emphasize core values, mission, and culture.
  2. Overview of Policies: Hand them your company policies, and discuss the important ones, especially concerning safety. 

2. The First Week: Building Foundations

A. Training Programs: Tailor training according to the new employee's needs/role/seniority:

  1. Role-specific Training: Customize short training modules based on the key things your employee may be doing at your workplace that are obviously unfamiliar to them. 
  2. Software and Tools Training: Familiarize them with company-used software/tools/equipment.

B. Foster engagement and integration:

  1. Regular Check-ins: Maintain communication to address any questions or concerns. This step is very important. Remember, even if they're a star, your employee doesn't know anyone in the whole office. And they need to learn how all your systems and processes work. 
  2. Networking Opportunities: Organize social gatherings or team lunches.
  3. Feedback on Onboarding: Gather their feedback on the onboarding process.

3. The First Quarter: Ensuring Continued Success

A. Performance Reviews: Ensure alignment and growth:

  1. Regular Feedback: Provide feedback on their performance, good or bad.
  2. Identify Training Needs: Assess if they need additional training or support.
  3. Address Concerns: Promptly address any issues or concerns. Everybody makes mistakes. If you tell your employee about your concerns now, the problem can improve before it becomes a habit. 

B. Career Development: Promote continued growth:

  1. Career Planning Discussions: Encourage dialogue about future goals.

Automating the Onboarding Process

Consider leveraging technology to streamline onboarding. Modern HR Workflow Automation Software automates various onboarding steps. For example, goHeather automates employment contracts and job offers from local lawyer-made templates. Other HR tech software automates training, payroll, employee record keeping, time-off/vacation, benefits, and so on


Successful new employee onboarding is essential for forging a positive, productive, long-lasting relationship with your new hires. For small businesses, all these onboarding steps may seem too much. However, with careful planning, each step will take just a little of your time.

Begin by exploring professional employment contract solutions tailored for small businesses like yours with our software, goHeather. Invest in the start of your employees' journey, and watch your business grow and thrive.

Whether it's the personalized job offer, the professional employment contract, or the continuous support beyond the first quarter, every detail counts in making the onboarding process meaningful and effective. Your employees are not just assets but part of your business family. Nurture them from the start, and they will contribute to your success.

Build Local
Employment Contracts

goHeather lets you build local employment contracts from lawyer-made templates in minutes. goHeather's industry leading employment contracts come with a free e-signature feature and access to our dashboard for viewing all your employment contracts and key information for all the employees you contracted through the app.

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