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 – they and your team are your biggest asset. At the same time, as their employer, you have significant responsibilities for how your new employee behaves in the workplace. It is critical that you have a process to cover off every expectation you have of them.

Is your onboarding kick starting a successful relationship with your new high performing team member?

Letter of Employment, the employment contract - it’s a non-negotiable.

  • Clearly outline all the details around their employment.
  • Job title
  • Status – e.g. casual, permanent, part time, trainee
  • Who they report to and where they will work?
  • Any applicable award or Agreement
  • Probation
  • Rate of pay (inclusive or ex-super) and any promised reviews
  • Any allowances
  • Hour and days of work / Work from home
  • Leave entitlements
  • Confidentiality
  • Non-solicitation clauses (if applicable)
  • Workplace safety obligations
  • Termination of employment clauses
  • Safe Work Guidelines – e.g. COVID 19

Position Description

Purpose: Why have you employed their services? How does the team member know if they are delivering on their purpose to the business? This needs to lay out what your expectations are of the employee in this role. It is attached as a schedule to the employment contract. 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

Purpose: How are things done? 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, COVID vaccination requirements, carrying out a manufacturing process or how to post on social media , the use of virtual meetings – i.e. Zoom/Teams, 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 each 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.

Tip: The employment contract, position description and all manuals (online and hard copy, if applicable) should be provided to the employee before they commence with you, so that they have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their new place of work. A sign off to confirm they have received, read and understood all documentation and processes, is good business practise.

Tips on the onboard journey

1) The first day, first week, first three months in fact – are daunting for a new employee. Make a real effort to ensure they are not left floundering. An employee who feels insecure may walk out the door.

2) Welcome them, invest in them and make sure that all your team members know who they are.

3) Utilise a checklist which everyone signs off on that ensures that every aspect of their onboarding is covered.

4) Starting with setting up payroll, provide them with the tools to succeed from the beginning. This will vary from safety equipment to laptops, server access, an email address, and so on.

5) Set up a schedule for the rookie to spend time with those people from whom they need to learn their role.

6) Remember, it is not just about their role: they also need to know about your company, your values and your culture of respect.

7) Employees will be your future ambassadors if they are empowered to immerse themselves into what you stand for, in order to fully contribute to the business. It is also the branding, your colours, the products, your client service expectations. Explain why you have certain rules and requirements, rather than just demanding them.

8) A thorough induction and orientation provides a solid basis for developing team members who will be productive, effective and want to live your business every day.

9) Ticking off all the legal aspects of employment will help protect you from workplace wrangles and possible legal actions down the track.