Pet Care Business Owner: How to Onboard New Staff Successfully

First Financial Bank
Onboarding can make all the difference in your employee’s and your organization’s success.

Techjury reports that, “A great onboarding experience ensures 69% of employees stick with a company for three years.” And when it comes to the pet care business, successful onboarding and employee retention may even make a difference for the animals your organization is caring for.

Here’s how your organization can create and implement a successful new employee onboarding process, from before day one through their first year.

First, understand what onboarding is.

Onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee to their job duties, work environment, and work culture. This process helps to flatten the learning curve that all new employees experience and ramp up productivity quickly and efficiently. Onboarding starts even before your new employee’s first day with the hiring process, and then runs through orientation, training, goal-setting, and performance reviews.

Ensure a smooth hiring process.

The hiring process includes all the paperwork and logistics that need to be taken care of before your new employee can start working. In the pet care business, this may involve insurance forms and safety training in addition to both the standard plus job specific certification and employment verification documents. If your hiring process is disorganized, overcomplicated, or is drawn out over weeks—your new employees will take note. But according to Officevibe, candidates with a positive hiring experience may actually put more effort into the job once they start. Incorporate these tips into your hiring process to improve the experience:

  • Confirm that they have the information needed. Rather than sending over loads of paperwork and requests with little context, take time to explain the purpose of each item. This can help ease any confusion and make the new employee feel like they are part of the process rather than subjected to it.
  • Provide a point of contact. Not all questions can be answered with an employee handbook. Assign someone who can help support your new employee throughout the hiring process. Maybe it’s their manager or an HR representative.
  • Give a first day preview. Help your new employee feel prepared for day one by telling them where to go, who they’ll meet, what they’ll do, and what to wear.

Set up an informative, but not overwhelming first day.

The first day at a new job can usually be described as a whirlwind of people to meet, processes to learn, and somehow even more paperwork to sign. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take note of these tips to help make your new employee’s first day successful:

  • Take them through an orientation. Familiarize your new employee with the processes, procedures, and safety protocols they’ll need to follow on a day-to-day basis.
  • Give an initial training of their job duties. Show your new employee how to complete each task and have them help you do it. When they’re on their own next time, they’ll feel more confident going into it. This is a great time to set expectations for the job and your new employee’s performance.
  • Discuss what the rest of the onboarding process will look like. Letting them know what to expect next can help them feel more prepared and set them up for success moving forward.

Keep it going.

It’s reported that nearly half of all hourly workers leave their job in the first four months. So onboarding shouldn’t end when your new employee is trained and all paperwork is signed. You need to keep them engaged, motivated, and continuing to learn. Onboarding should be a collaborative and ongoing process throughout the first six months to a year. Think of it as a probationary period. Here’s how to keep your new employee engaged in the onboarding process:

  • Set goals. After your new employee’s first week on the job, meet with them to discuss goals. Do they want to learn a new skill? Earn a promotion? Have an open conversation about what the path looks like to accomplish those goals.
  • Talk about milestones. Set milestones with your new employee to help them stay motivated and continue working toward their goals. Communicate any organization-wide milestones with your new employees and let them know how their job contributes to everyone’s success.
  • Have regular check-ins. Whether at a groomer or pet hotel, it can be easy to keep heads down, working hard. But checking in with your new hires regularly can help them feel valued and keep them engaged. Check-ins are a great opportunity for you to provide feedback. Being honest about any mistakes or underperformance early on will give your new employee time to correct these things before their first performance review.

Need guidance on effective way to set and manage to goals effectively and equitably? Leverage an established approach like SMART goals to give you a structure that gives you and the employee a clear focus.

Review and complete.

A performance review signifies the end of the new employee onboarding process and is typically at either six months or one year after their start date. Use this time to have a conversation about work performance and goals. Keep these tips in mind during your next review:

  • Provide constructive feedback. Talk openly about what went well and what didn’t. Then, come up with a plan of what they should work on and how you can help. If they thrive in one aspect of their job, but struggle continually with another, you may want to consider that there may be a better role for them that plays to those strengths and allows you to get more value from the work relationship. This isn’t always possible, but when it is, the employee is more likely to enjoy the new role and give it their all.
  • Discuss goals and milestones. Congratulate them on the milestones and goals they accomplished, and talk through any they haven’t reached yet. Ask if their goals are still the same, discuss the path to achieving their goals, and ask if they have any new goals for the next year.
  • Talk about compensation. Employee performance reviews are a great time to discuss pay and compensation. If you’re planning to offer a raise, be clear about what that means and why they deserve it.

Hiring and onboarding new staff successfully is one of the most important investments your organization can make. It’s key to employee satisfaction and retention, which will inevitably create a positive ripple effect throughout the rest of your organization and even impact your clients. A thoughtful and well-planned employee onboarding process helps remove the guesswork from a new employee’s journey to success at your organization – and helps you gain a productive employee quicker.

Keeping track of your business may require a CRM. Not sure what that is? Learn more with this article. Want to chat about your expansion and growth plans? Contact us.

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