January 28, 2020

I Am Waiting for Two Phone Calls and Writing a Blog About Onboarding

By Paul Bieber

The Mets said I came in second place for their managerial search. Oh well. The two calls are the Red Sox, where I am on their short list for a manager, and from our daughter, who is nine months pregnant and due any minute. Her actual due date is today, Tuesday, so Elaine and I are glued to the phone.

Onboarding is a term used to describe a new baby, oops, that’s not right. Onboarding is the concept of bringing a new employee into your company and getting them quickly acclimated to their new environment. There are many things to do in onboarding a new person. Why is there a rush? Because the most common reason people give for leaving a new job within the first month is that they felt alone and didn’t understand how they fit into your company. There are three parts to the onboarding process.

First is going over their paperwork and teaching them about your insurances and benefits. Second is meeting people and third is the actual job training. Do a proper onboarding in this order and your chances of employee retention are greatly increased. Let’s talk about the paperwork and benefits today.

Every state has different laws and paperwork alongside the federal requirements. Make sure your employee knows which taxes are coming out of their check. Sounds easy and it should be, except for if someone is new to your state or someone is new to our country and this is their first job here. Some states allow all electronic paying, while others say an employee must get a paper check if they opt for that. I had a very good employee who received strong raises each year. One day I happened to run into his wife and she asked me a question: Why hasn’t my husband received a wage increase in the last three years? I asked her to discuss this with her husband and scurried away as fast I could. It turned out that he cashed his check, raises and all, and gave his wife a certain amount of money, in cash, each week, for household expenses. She had never seen his check or a payroll stub. He finally told her, she left town for a month or so, and finally came home to a very contrite husband.

The most important part of this section is explaining your benefits. Most employees do not know the full extent of their company’s paid or sponsored benefits. Explain how an employee is paid. Can they get direct deposit? And how does your time-keeping system work? Do you offer an employee-funded IRA? When does eligibility for that start? Can an employee split his or her paycheck with part going to a regular checking account and maybe 5% to a savings account for a rainy day-fund? Do you assist them with setting up a checking account so they can have direct deposits?

Next are your insurances. In detail, go over your health benefits. Even if benefits don’t begin for a month or two out, sell them now. Explain their cost to participate and how much you are contributing. Go into detail explaining the good parts of your plan(s). Give them their participation booklet so the new employee can take this home to read or share with a partner. Go over short- and long-term disability insurances and what qualifies and what doesn’t. Also, explain your safety program in depth and the consequences of a violation of safety rules. Does your insurance cover dental, vision or other programs? What are the caps on these programs? These usually require separate paperwork. Go over this and have the paperwork filled out at home.

That’s enough for today. I’ll go into more depth on my next blog after Elaine and I meet our new granddaughter.