Onboarding for Small Businesses: The Three Essentials

Onboarding for Small Businesses: The Three Essentials

Congratulations! After months of reading over resumes and interviewing hopeful candidates, you now have one or more eager worker bees ready to buzz to work...or so you thought.

Now standing between you and success is the process of onboarding your new staff. We all know that onboarding is not why you started your business, but the financial facts are firm. Employee turnover costs businesses thousands of dollars a year in advertising, training costs, and customer service errors as new hires travel the bumpy road of getting acclimated.

You’ve spent tireless hours getting to this point, so don’t let tax and accounting formalities throw you off your game! We’re here to walk you through the three key stages of onboarding and give you a few tips about how to bolster your relationships with your employees — without getting sucked into a vortex of stressful paperwork.

Be prepared before the hiring process starts.

You know your business better than anyone else, so who better to introduce it to fresh eyes? Every business brings unique core values, goals, and logistics to the table. Your employees will thrive if they can understand your vision right off the bat.

Your vision isn’t just your passion and enthusiasm, though. Take the time to write down what you expect from your employees and what they can expect from you. Be detailed about everything from thrilling vacation pay to intimidating 401k enrollment so that you are prepared for your future employees’ questions. You want to create a system you can replicate in the future so that no training starts from scratch. 

Speaking of starting from scratch...make sure you have your Employee Identification Number (EIN) registered with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) so that there are no hold-ups once you start. You’ve been dreaming about seeing the money start pouring in and so have your employees. Don’t make them wait!

You might even walk yourself through the onboarding process for practice. Remember, a worker bee with no instructions just flies in circles, but a worker bee with a leader who knows their way around a W4? That bee is destined for greatness.

Assign a point of contact and get paperwork out right from the start.

Sometimes miracles happen, but chances are, you need your new employees to start work two weeks ago. Assign a point person for your new staff member to go to throughout their onboarding process. That person might not be you, but they should be someone you trust to walk the employee through everything they need to do before starting their first day.

You’ll have a million last-minute fires to put out as lead bee, but keep in mind that while filling out the onboarding forms, your new hire will also be getting a sense of how your business interacts with its employees and pondering if this is the right hive for their needs.

The necessary onboarding forms may vary a bit by business, but these are the principle forms you need to be versed in:

  • W4 or W9 (for independent contractors — if you’re unsure, see our blog on the difference between the two): the necessary IRS tax form for your employee
  • Employee Identification Form: also known as an I9, this form confirms your employee’s identity and eligibility to work
  • Background Check Authorization Form
  • Direct Deposit Form
  • 401k Application
  • Medical Insurance Registration Form
  • Dental Insurance Registration Form

It can be a lot to handle, but with a checklist of documents by your side and a little accounting, you can move on to the far more exciting phase of starting the work. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions during onboarding:

  • How and when do I get paid?
  • Do I get benefits? If so, how do they work?
  • What do you expect in terms of scheduling?
  • If I’m working two jobs, how much in taxes will you take out?
  • What will my first day look like?

This leads us unsurprisingly into the next step: 

Make the first day a success for you and your new hire.

The first day of any new job can be overwhelming, but if you’ve had success in the first two phases, this step should fall right into place. Once again, the two aspects to success are preparedness and communication.

Have an employee welcome package ready to go. This package should include hard copies of all the forms the employee has ideally already filled out (be safe, not sorry!), a run down of the company, detailed information on scheduling and payroll, and any role policies and responsibilities. You’re likely going to train your new hire on everything in the packet, but this gives them a reference to look back over at the end of the day.

Most importantly, keep communication open. You are the lead bee and your workers will have questions from day one to day one hundred as your vision shifts and grows. Make sure you are able to work together to achieve that goal, and always have accurate information to give them when asked. The team makes the honey!

Onboarding for the future.

We know that no one starts a new business to be an accountant unless they’re, well… us. But recent studies have shown that successful onboarding can increase hire retention and productivity by 70%, so the investment benefits speak for themselves.

You may not have the power to stop all turnover, but you can learn how to speed up the onboarding process, save valuable time and money, and create a solid foundation for your employees.

Contact Know Your Numbers Accounting PLLC today for specialized services for your small business. We’ll teach you everything you need to know on the accounting side so you can get back to ruling the beehive.

What issues do you face financially when hiring new staff? Let us know below.




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