Small Business Employee Onboarding Process

Did you know many of your employees know within the ten days if they will be looking for work in the next 18 months?

As a small business owner, your employees can make or break your business. Creating a great place to work starts before the first day. Having a formalized employee onboarding process can help retain top talent for your business.

Get your free employee onboarding guide here.

Why is Onboarding Important for Small Businesses?

Employee turnover is expensive, especially for small businesses. Research shows that the average employer in the United States spends $4000 on a new employee and it can take up to 24 days to hire and onboard them.

Small businesses with a formalized onboarding process have a 60% year-on-year productivity improvement. With a proper employee onboarding system, you can set your business up for success.

Creating an Employee Onboarding Program

Step one. You need goals. When you have goals, it’s easier for you to determine what you want to get from your new hire onboarding.

Your new hire onboarding program is something you want to be considering before you start the hiring process. The onboarding process starts as soon as your new hire has received their job offer. Engaging them from an early stage will make the onboarding process more effective.

According to Gallup, only 12% of employees think their company offers a good onboarding program. With the high correlation between new hire onboarding and employee retention, this is something you can’t afford to overlook. Why do 88% of employees think their company fails at the new hire onboarding process? It might have something to do with the fact that 58% of companies only focus on paperwork and processes during their onboarding program.

If you want your employee onboarding program to be successful, you want it to be strategic, focusing on the people within your business. When you have your goals, you want to create a structure around which to build your new hire onboarding program.

There are three areas you want to focus on:

  • Assimilation and Socialization
  • Documents and Tasks
  • Education and Training

Our free employee onboarding guide covers what each of these areas should entail.

Pro-tip! Incorporate a buddy system, this program has proven to improve proficiency as well as employee comfortability.

Setting Milestones in the Onboard Process

When you have your goals and program together, you need to set milestones. Without milestones, you won’t have a way of judging the success of your onboarding process. It can also help you identify areas you should improve for your next new hire.

You want to make sure you check in with your new employee at the end of their first day, with a first-week check-in meeting. Your milestones should revolve around a list of goals that you want your new hire to have achieved to determine their success in the role. You should establish a check-in template, where you can make notes of any concerns or feedback. These milestone check-ins are a two-way process between you and your employee.

Most businesses choose to set 30, 60, and 90-day goals. After each meeting, you adjust the later goals to reflect where your new hire is with their progress. After your 90-day check-in, your next milestones can come at the 6 months and 1-year stage.

Our free employee onboarding guide has a dedicated milestone section to help you structure your program with achievable goals.


Hiring a new employee is an exciting time for any business. You’re investing in another employee, hoping their skills and knowledge will help grow your business. You can make it a success by having a formalized new hire process that increases engagement and employee retention. If you want to take your business to the next level, your employee onboarding program is the secret to success.

Do you want to find out even more about new hire onboarding? You can download our free employee onboarding guide here.

About Payroll Services Focused on You

The one-size-fits-all services offered by so many payroll providers aren’t designed with you in mind. As a small to midsize business, you have unique needs. You don’t want nameless, faceless support and generalized solutions.

If that sounds helpful, we’d love to talk. You can get in touch at or at (407) 792-5447.

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