Communication, Compliance and Collateral: Asure’s Best Practices for Employee Onboarding & Compliance
“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” – Warren Buffett
As we continue to explore the eight HR best practice categories outlined in our Small Business HR Benchmark Report, our latest webinar focuses on Onboarding and Compliance. Some companies address these two elements of HR with a check-box approach. In contrast, HR expert Mary Simmons shares why every employee-centric touch matters, and how onboarding and compliance can be strategic differentiators for growth, richer engagement and more successful business outcomes.
Onboarding and compliance are two of the most critical elements companies must focus on when it comes to building a thriving, fast-growth business with engaged employees. Onboarding is when things get real. Well before day one of a new hire, during the onboarding process, employers are met with an opportunity to set their employees and company up for success by having set processes and systems, leaning into clear and supportive communication and ensuring compliance every step of the way. By committing to these elements, employers build trust and trust ultimately supports a strong company culture.
Let’s take a look at a few elements that illustrate how onboarding and compliance can make or break an organization.
Our research showcased that prepared employees are often happy employees, and a seamless orientation process helps lay the groundwork for just that. Our recent survey revealed that 75% of the growing companies use new hire orientation not just to share where the coffee machine is or how to fill out a timesheet, but to educate them about the company’s mission, vision, and values.
Our study found that 80% of the fast-growing companies have an employee handbook that has been updated in the last 12 months. So how does a seemingly simple, standard document lead to growth? A well-done employee handbook shows that a company is proactively thinking about employee relationships, committed to setting clear expectations and has defined policies in place that align with modern-day employment standards for top talent. Though employee handbooks are not mandated by law, they help employees expertly navigate their start at a new job and serve as an invaluable resource. And while it’s important to ensure employees have this document on hand, going through it is the most crucial element of onboarding. This simple act allows employers to begin setting employee expectations while also giving new employees a taste of company culture that can help them feel prepared and excited to take on their new role.
First Day Checklist
Crafting a first-day checklist and schedule is another important element to help set up a new employee for success. Beyond using this tool as a scheduling resource for the day, the document is a foundational asset to set up the employee for a productive intro into the company. It’s also a great way for the employer to ensure it is compliant and that all necessary employee forms are filled out accurately. Employers must think beyond the basics and use this checklist as an informational exchange asset to make the best first impression. An office tour, a meeting with their supervisor, or a formal seminar on how to effective communication in remote or hybrid environments are all solid checklist items for an employee’s first day. Companies should also plan to integrate meaningful activities into the checklist that illustrate a commitment to their team and help the new employee get acclimated with company culture.
While compliance is one of the most important threads woven through all elements of human resources-related topics, it is particularly critical when bringing on new employees.
Regardless of whether they’re fast-growing or shrinking, one in five companies we surveyed are at risk of a failed immigrations and customs enforcement audit due to discrepancies in I-9 forms. In simple terms, I-9s are used to verify an employee’s identity and require the employee to provide documentation that proves their identity and their eligibility for employment.
The three biggest issues we see when it comes to I-9 forms are:
1. Forms are not filled out within the first three days of an employee joining a company
2. Employers forget to inform employees that they must bring hard copies of approved identification with them to accompany the form
3. Employers fail to complete the forms in their entirety by leaving sections blank or forgetting to sign the documents
So how do companies ensure that simple but important tasks like correctly filling out forms and navigating in-the-field compliance situations are handled correctly? They must train their managers on basic HR principles. Because if they don’t, it can lead to expensive legal fees and lawsuits that could potentially lead to a company’s demise.
Some business owners think it’s exclusive HR’s role to deal with compliance or employee complaints. In reality, it’s critical that leaders throughout a company have a working knowledge of HR best practices to empower them to be effectively handle conflicts or issues that may arise.
Our study found that fast-growth companies are 22% more likely to train managers about HR laws like equal pay, the difference between non-exempt versus exempt employees, overtime laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act compared to companies that experienced a down year. When a company’s managers understand the basis of important laws it not only helps companies avoid fines and litigation, but also signals to employees that they’re working in a supportive, employee-centric environment.
It’s safe to say that when it comes to onboarding and compliance, following best HR practices can and will lead to company growth, and failure to do so can be grave. And, when onboarding new employees, it’s important to weave a company’s DNA into each and every element to set everyone up for success.
To learn more about these topics and other areas where companies can lean into onboarding and compliance best practices, check out our webinar here: Surprising Compliance Risks at 1 in 5 Businesses Surveyed; How Fast-Growth Companies onboard new employees.