When you welcome a new employee to your team, you have already invested a considerable amount of time (and probably money) into selecting them. So it makes sense to give them the best chance of settling into your business and contributing.
At the same time, as their employer, you have significant responsibilities for how your new employee behaves in the workplace. It’s critical that you have a process to cover off every expectation you have of them.
Start with your Letter of Engagement.
This should clearly outline all the details around their employment. When they start, who they report to, what they are paid, their hours of work etc.
This needs to lay out what are your expectations of the employee in this role. It should be attached as a schedule to the Letter of Engagement. Both you and the employee should refer to this frequently during probation, to ensure that any skills gaps that emerge are addressed with training. Tip: When a team member changes roles, then a new Position Description should be issued.
Policy and procedure manuals.
This manual (or manuals) should detail everything that an employee needs to know about working for your business. From HR policies on uniform, how to apply for leave, expected behaviour in the workplace through to procedures on locking up the office, carrying out a manufacturing process or how to post on social media, for example.
Workplace safety manual.
Sometimes this is included in a Policy and Procedure manual and sometimes it is stand-alone. It should clearly detail your expectations of your employee to adhere to all workplace safety requirements including reporting any potential hazards. Any hazards and risks specific to your industry and your workplace should be addressed.
The letter of engagement, position description and all manuals can be sent to the employee before they commence with you, so that they have the opportunity to read the manuals. Make sure you include a document where they sign that they have read and understood the manuals and keep that on file.
Induction and orientation
The first day, first week, first three months in fact – are daunting for a new employee. Make a real effort to ensure they aren’t left floundering. An employee who feels insecure may walk out the door.
Welcome them and make sure that all your team members know who they are.
Have a checklist that is signed off, ensures that every aspect of their onboarding is covered within a short period of time.
Starting with setting them up on the payroll then giving them the tools they need to hit the ground running. This will vary from safety equipment to a computer, server access, email address. Organise a timetable for them to spend time with those people from whom they need to learn their role.
Remember, it’s not just about their role: they also need to know about your company, your values and your culture of respect. They need to be immersed in what you stand for. It’s also about the branding, your colours, the products, your client service expectations. Explain why you have certain rules and requirements rather than just demanding them.
A thorough induction and orientation provides a solid basis for developing team members who are productive, effective and want to stay with your organisation.
Ticking off all the legal aspects of employment will help protect you from workplace wrangles and possible legal actions down the track.