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Small business new employee orientation

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The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guide to Small business new employee orientation is a collaborative project created by users of the SmallBusiness.com WIKI. It provides an overview of basics related to this topic. Find more guides at The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guides Hub.


When you hire new employees in your small business, don't just throw them into their new position. Have a plan to welcome new employees and to show them everything from where the supplies are, to how and when their first paycheck will come. Establish a structured new-employee orientation program to set them in the right direction.

Checklist of new employee orientation items

Plan to go over the following with each new employee

1. Personnel and tax forms. Not everyone's favorite paperwork to do, but it is the law, of course. Forms like the new I-9 and W-4 are must-haves. You might also consider placing an employee handbook receipt in the new employee's personnel file along with tax forms and benefit information.

2. Employee handbook. You should have an employee manual (or handbook) that covers topics such as dress code, sick leave, e-mail policy and benefits.

3. Benefits. Though benefits will definitely be covered in your employee handbook, taking the time to talk about specific benefits is very helpful to new employees. This point in the orientation would be ideal for completing enrollment forms for health care too.

4. Coworker introductions. Sometimes small talk for the new employee is tough. But taking the time to walk them around and introduce them quickly to the established staff will help break the ice for future encounters. Perhaps the new employee graduated from the same high school as your office manager or just returned from a vacation at the same destination as your receptionist. Helping to make these small connections will speed the process at which your new employee is integrated.

5. Lunch. Your schedule as a small-business owner is full and busy, but taking an hour out of your day for a casual and friendly lunch after orientation would be a great way to ease the nerves and worries for the new employee. Use this time to answer any questions that might have come up during orientation. This would also be a great time to explain your company's vision, mission and culture.

The new employee orientation you establish for your small business will differ from that of the business next door. Industry specifics, safety, benefits and a dozen other topics vary from business to business. But by taking half a day to welcome new employees and get them started on the right foot, you're helping to ensure their success as an employee -- and your success as a boss -- from that first day forward.