Bringing new team members on board can be stressful both for a new hire and a manager. 

Done right, it can lead to a long-term relationship that’s good for both parties. Done wrong, it can result in frustration and costly firing.

To do onboarding correctly, there are five initiatives you should take in the first month to ensure a new employee receives the orientation and training he or she needs to do the job well, says Trevina Broussard, an associate trainer with Humetrics, of Houston, Texas, whose company recruits, trains and manages hourly employees and managers. 

Here are five concrete steps your management team can take to ensure new hires start right. 


Five Steps to Integrate New Employees

The first hour of the first day.  Select a start date and time that doesn’t coincide with your regular work routine. “Your goal is to leave a positive impression,” Broussard says. “New employees need to feel chosen, and they need to understand how important their job is and how it fits into the big picture of your operation.” That means you shouldn’t have a new hire start on a hectic Monday. Give the employee 45 minutes or so of your undivided time, orienting him or her to your operation and facility, break room, bathroom and safety equipment. 

End of the first day. Check back with the new hire at the end of the first day. Ask these questions to show the new person that they’re working for a caring boss and that you might even learn a few things from them:

  •  Do you have the training and tools you need?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns?
  • What did we do right? What could we improve?
  • What was the most frustrating, boring or confusing thing about today?

End of the first week. Check back after five or six days to assess the employee’s experiences, again asking questions to solicit their feedback to ensure they are on track. The first week is especially crucial.

First paycheck. Deliver the new hire’s first paycheck in person. This reinforces his or her importance to your operation. “It can also be used as a teachable moment if there are any red flags,” Broussard says.

End of 30 days. “By the end of 30 days, you should know exactly what you’re getting,” Broussard says. “Does this person live the company’s values? Has the person shown initiative and ability to work without supervision? Have you experienced any problems such as dependability?” Be open and clear to ensure you are on the same page.

The final question: Is this person going to work out? If you believe you’ve done everything you can to help them succeed, the answer becomes easy. “The most expensive person you hire is the person you fire. So fire fast if the employee is not working out,” Broussard says.