Limited Resources? 13 Easy Practices for Better Employee Onboarding


Small businesses have several benefits over larger companies, but resources aren’t usually one of them. This limitation can significantly impact the way a small business deals with new hires. While a larger company can dedicate weeks or months to training a new employee under an experienced team, smaller businesses don’t always have that luxury. The result is that these smaller enterprises have to be more creative with their onboarding. Below, 13 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) delve into this topic by answering the following question:

“When you have a small team, you don’t always have all the resources to onboard and train a new hire like you would at a larger company. So what’s one practice small businesses can implement to better onboard employees?”

Follow their advice to more effectively (and efficiently) onboard your new hires.

1. Ensure Constant Communication

“A lot of communication is key. It takes five minutes to check in via chat, phone, text or email and make sure you’re on the same page. Something else to consider is working on documented standard operating procedures (SOPs). Yes, it’s upfront work, but it can make a big difference for following processes. Plus the other person might find a shortcut or new approach to getting things done, which is always cool.” ~ Sean Ogle, Location Rebel

2. Document and Shadow

“Document the most integral aspects of the job and employ shadowing during the first couple of weeks. Financial institutions and other corporations also rely on pairing for new staff members, having them follow their steps closely at the very beginning. Once they pick up, ask them to help document the steps for the next hires and iterate accordingly.” ~ Mario Peshev, DevriX

3. Have a Solid Plan for Their First Week

“Ensure you have a solid plan for a new hire’s first week and that they know this plan too. Email them before their start date with what they’ll be doing that week and who they’ll do it with, alleviating their nerves and making everything run smoothly. When you’re a small business, your best assets are your existing employees. Buddy them up with a new hire to teach them the ropes.” ~ Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc

4. Define Objectives Early On

“Defining objectives and goals early on is ideal. So, if you can create a few core deliverables for the person you are onboarding and you have a good general idea of what they can do, then you might be giving them the best possible understanding of what they need to do to make it all work.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

5. Express Your Vision and Culture

“It is important to clearly express your company’s vision and culture from day one. Let your new hires know exactly how your company is working to achieve goals, why those goals are important to your brand and how your team is individually and collectively working toward them. Give them the tools they need to contribute positively, and make sure communication is always open and strong.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

6. Leverage Weekly Checkups

“Weekly checkups are great low-cost ways to improve the onboarding of new employees. It can feel intimidating to work from home if you have a limited sense of direction on what needs to happen next. Weekly meetings allow us to work on small goals and slowly ramp up over the first quarter they are with the company.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Implement Automation

“You can improve the onboarding process by implementing automation. This saves you time in the long run and helps you break down the process of finding the right hire. Training, forms and policy education are all areas that can be completed through automation so you don’t have to worry about it and can instead continue to carry on a smooth onboarding experience.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Create Employee Handbooks

“Onboarding processes can be exhausting. So, make it easier by keeping an employee handbook ready with all the relevant information in it. Based on the different roles, you can have different handbooks for each new hire. Add every little detail that you want your hire to know about their role. Then assign them a supervisor who can guide and train the new employee for their position.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

9. Use Screen Recordings

“We have the fun experience of being a small team that works remotely. One of our most practical solutions has been to screen record where we can and upload to Slack and our wiki system while tagging. This gives us the ability to show, talk and share for the future.” ~ Sean Hsieh, Concreit

10. Recycle Old Training Materials

“When I started my first business and had limited time and resources, I would recycle old training materials such as slideshows, templates and videos for similar positions to make the onboarding process more efficient. This saved me a lot of time on creating new videos, templates and presentations.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

11. Use Checklists

“You need to have specific checklists so that no detail is missed. Even if it takes a full month to get through them all due to time, you still need to have them in place. Training can take a long time and if it varies by candidate, you may miss something. So have a checklist that standardizes everything.” ~ Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

12. Engage Your Entire Team

“Engage your entire team in training. Chances are, if you are a small team, you are hiring for an integral role that might need to be a bit of a Swiss-Army-knife-style operator, helping multiple other functions. Shadow each team or team member whose role you need the new hire to understand for the architecture of your small business. In this way, they understand dynamics as well as their place.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

13. Have an Experienced Employee Take the Lead

“My local team is small. Our practice is to have a superior, usually, more experienced employee handle the process for a new hire in their department. They will guide the person through the basics for a few days, always remain available for questions and values and let them start with small assignments before challenging them. This gives the new hire confidence and knowledge of our systems.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7

Image: Depositphotos

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.