Onboarding Done Right Why It Pays to Invest Time and Resources

Onboarding Done Right Why It Pays to Invest Time and Resources


What are your hiring goals for 2023?

Hiring new team members can be one of the greatest investments, yet one of the biggest gambles you can make when growing your business. 

One bad hire can cost you thousands in training hours, client mistakes, and the time it takes to replace them.

If you’re looking to expand your team this year, you’ll want to make sure you’ve prepared yourself financially. To fully hire and onboard just one new team member, the cost can quickly start to add up, such as:

  • Advertising the job posting (Indeed or Linkedin ad spend for example).

  • Time invested (or paid for) to sort through resumes and schedule interviews. 

  • Time invested (or paid for) to interview candidates. 

  • Time invested (or paid for) to train the successful candidate(s).

  • Temporary loss in productivity or mistakes as a natural result of the learning process.

Not only that but adding a new personality to an existing team has a trickle-down effect on your other team members as well. Everyone has to learn how to work with someone new and overcompensate for their learning curve. 

Despite the significant financial impact that hiring new team members has on the business, many agency owners do not allocate enough time or resources to developing a streamlined onboarding process and end up wasting thousands of dollars on avoidable turnover expenses. 


Onboarding Done Right: Why It Pays to Invest Time and Resources

Onboarding Done Right: Why It Pays to Invest Time and Resources

Ensuring you have a successful onboarding experience doesn’t just impact your bank account. First impressions DO matter, and how much effort you put into setting new team members up for success will directly affect their future attitudes and quality of work. 


While you should follow an onboarding process that is true to you and your business, a successful onboarding experience should contain the following:

  • Clear Expectations: Job expectations, goals, and responsibilities are clearly outlined.

  • Physical Practice: New hires are given time to practice what they've learned to ensure they are comfortable doing it on their own.

  • Shadow Time: New hires have the opportunity to shadow a more experienced team member to learn how things work and how tasks are performed.

  • Goals and Metrics: Establish clear goals and metrics for the new hire so they have a sense of what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured.

  • Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress, provide feedback, and address any concerns the new hire may have.

  • Collaboration Opportunities: Provide opportunities for new hires to collaborate with team members and build relationships with coworkers.

  • Resources and Tools: Provide access to necessary resources, tools, and training programs to ensure new hires have everything they need to perform their job effectively.

  • Mentorship: Assign a mentor to the new hire who can answer questions, provide guidance, and offer support throughout the onboarding process.

  • Culture and Values: Introduce new hires to the company culture and values, so they understand the company's mission and how they can contribute to it.

  • Adequate Time: Budget enough time for new hires to absorb everything they need to know, without rushing them through the process.

There’s no doubt about it, onboarding a new team member is not an easy task. But by taking the time to establish a process that sets your team up for success, you will save your business thousands of dollars in the future.


Building a strong foundation

Not sure where to start with building your own onboarding processes?

It’s important to remember not to get too ahead of yourself. It’s important to REALLY think through the role(s) you’re thinking of hiring for and ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. When you skip this step, you end up hiring a person who will constantly struggle to meet expectations and burn out quickly. 

It’s important to consider:

  • What tasks this person will be taking over. 

  • The minimum required skill set and/or certifications the candidate must have. 

  • The team members they will be expected to collaborate with. 

  • What systems will they need to be or become familiar with? 

  • The maximum budget you have to invest in this role (which may dictate the level of experience you recruit for). 

  • A potential growth plan for long-term candidates in this role. 

These key details should be the driving force behind your onboarding process. 


Establish your non-negotiables 

To help you strategize, narrow yourself down to five easily quantified, non-negotiable points for each role that this new team member MUST have. For example:

  • No one is over-resourced: No one should be given more work than they can handle. To ensure that workload is being managed effectively, establish a workload limit for each role, (eg. a maximum number of projects or clients they can handle at a given time), and track workload metrics, such as the number of hours worked or the number of projects completed.

  • Projects are completed on time: This means that new hires should be able to manage their time effectively to meet project deadlines. To make this a quantifiable measure, you can establish a target for on-time project completion, such as 90% of projects completed on or before the deadline. You can also track project completion metrics, such as the average time to complete a project, to ensure that projects are being managed effectively.

  • Weekly project & KPI reporting: New hires should provide regular updates on their project status and key performance indicators (KPIs). To measure, establish a reporting cadence, such as weekly or biweekly, and require that new hires submit a report detailing their progress against KPIs and project milestones. You can also track reporting metrics, such as the percentage of reports submitted on time, to ensure that reporting is being done effectively.

  • All processes are documented: New hires should be able to document their work processes effectively so that others can understand and replicate them. Establish a process documentation target, such as 100% of processes documented within two weeks of completion for example. You can also track documentation metrics, such as the number of processes documented per week, to ensure that documentation is being done effectively.

  • Management of hiring and onboarding: New hires should be able to manage the hiring and onboarding process for their own team members effectively. To make this a quantifiable measure, you can establish a hiring and onboarding target, such as hiring and onboarding a new team member within four weeks of approval. You can also track hiring and onboarding metrics, such as the number of team members hired per month and the time it takes to onboard new team members, to ensure that hiring and onboarding is being done effectively.

Once you have established your non-negotiable elements of this role, it’s time to block your calendar for the next six weeks. 


Time blocking your onboarding program 

The longer a runway you provide your new candidates with, the more successful they will be. 


As a busy agency owner, it’s unrealistic to assume that 50+ hours of free time to dedicate to training a new hire will magically appear on your calendar. Unless you physically sculpt it out of your calendar, you will never escape the reactive cycle of rushed hiring → rushed onboarding → frustrated new hires. 


By budgeting just 30-60 minutes per day to spend with your new hires in their first six weeks, you will develop deeper relationships with your team, address problems early, and eliminate any financial waste throughout the onboarding process. 


A successful onboarding experience is critical for setting up new team members for success, and should include clear expectations, physical practice, shadow time, goals and metrics, regular check-ins, collaboration opportunities, resources and tools, mentorship, culture and values, and adequate time. It is crucial to define roles and responsibilities and determine the budget and requirements for the role. It is also important to establish easily quantifiable, non-negotiable points that the new team member must have to ensure their success. 


With a well-planned and executed onboarding process, you can help save your agency thousands of dollars in the future.

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