Hiring an employee can be a big step for a growing business. I’ve worked with a few clients over the past year getting things ready for a new hire. It can be a great relief to have help but also it can be stressful.
A typical scenario-the long time administrative assistant is retiring and you realize you don’t know the scope of the job. It’s unclear exactly what you need them to do. There’s little or no documentation on how things are done. It can feel like a big task to hire someone and train them for a job that you aren’t exactly sure what it really entails.
Here are ways to minimize the stress and maximize productivity to get you and your employee off to a great start.
1. Give them the lay of the land
Helping your new hire understand the scope of the business is a productive way to get things started. For instance, having a business overview or workflow diagram helps people get a picture of the overall business environment as well as where their contributions fit it. It also provides a roadmap of who is doing what activity and where their expectations fall.
Understanding the big picture of what your business is about allows them to:
- Understand where their works fits in to the flow of things
- Understand the impact their contribution makes
- Understand the people and process dependencies
As an added bonus, if you’ve never mapped out your business, it is a helpful process to go through as a business owner.
2. Be clear about what’s expected
Everyone likes to know they are doing a good job. Having written expectations and job descriptions clarifies for both of you what constitutes a job well done. Getting a handle on the job expectations ahead of time has big benefits. Having a realistic view of the job scope and responsibilities helps to hire the right person. Perhaps you really need someone to handle social media. Maybe you need someone with great communication skills to talk to people coming in. Maybe you expect them to do some bookkeeping. Writing down the job skills and expectations helps direct the hiring description and interview process. It’s also easier to compensate accordingly if there is a clear understanding of what’s expected.
3. Identify activities
It’s great if your new hire can start right off knowing what to do. It’s a big time saver for you and them to have a procedure manual and other training documents in place. It can take a lot longer for a new employee to get up to speed if the job responsibilities are getting defined on the fly. Not only are you using up your time, you are also using up your new employee’s time. You are paying them for the time it takes you to figure it out. It’s also good business for you to be known as a company that ‘has it together’ and is a good place to work.
4. Communicate your responsibilities
As their employer, it’s important to communicate what your role is in supporting them and let them know what they can expect from you. How are they getting trained? Who do they turn to if they need help? How often is their performance evaluated? Communicating with your employee helps create a productive working environment, someplace where they, and others, will be happy to work.