If you want to get the employment relationship off to a good start, then there’s no substitute for a thorough and well-organised orientation. Just like any other relationship, the initial period is critical for developing a mutually successful employment relationship. Here are two important things to consider when taking new staff through orientation at your small business:
Encourage staff engagement:
The most productive and loyal staff are those that empathise with the goals of your business. The common buzz phrase at the moment is staff engagement, which means that staff that identify with your business, and have confidence and trust in you, will be prepared to put more effort and time into your business.
Therefore, orientation is as much about selling your vision for your business to new staff as it is telling them what is expected of them.
Make sure you give them the grand tour, explain the history of your business, and the reason why you believe it’s a good business. Get excited about your business and your staff will also be excited!
Outline your performance standards:
Orientation is also about the nuts and bolts of the employment relationship. That is, the Wage–Work Bargain. Performance standards don’t just fall down from the sky, so design a structured system to define, measure and reward good work performance in your small business. Ultimately, the value that you obtain from the wages that you pay staff is measured in their individual performance.
A good performance standard will have variable characteristics dependent upon the nature of the job, but it should have a clear relationship to goals of the business: a clear line of sight between the performance of the tasks and the objective that the business has set for itself.
For example, you might pride your business on the quality of the goods or services that you provide your customers and, as such, a performance standard for staff may be the consistency of the standard of goods produced or services provided. The standard could also measure the rate of errors in deliveries or information provided to customers. Set the standards of work early in the employment relationship and you should reap the benefits as the employee gains confidence and experience. Discover more key focus points for staff management and other HR responsibilities in Paul Maguire’s HR for Small Business for Dummies.