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Small businesses are like families, both literally and figuratively speaking. From a literal standpoint, family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. GDP and 78 percent of all new job creation.

But even if your business isn’t a family affair, your startup probably shares a lot of similarities with families. For example, you may have launched your startup in your own home — and even if you’ve moved on into an office somewhere, that office probably resembles a home, complete with couches, fridges, a kitchen, and maybe even a company pet or two. Furthermore, that familial feeling often extends into your startup’s culture, where the lines between work and play are routinely blurred.

The problem is that, while the culture may feel comfortable to you and your current employees, it can feel quite off-putting for newcomers. That’s why it is especially critical for startup and small business owners to invest time in onboarding new hires and welcoming them into the family.

Give Your New Hires a Buddy

Startup onboarding doesn’t have to be an the kind of spectacular affair that you often see in the big corporations. For a startup, welcoming new hires into the business often entails the bare necessities — emphasis on “necessities” — to ensure that new team members get up to speed quickly.

One such necessity is a “buddy” — that is, someone who is knowledgeable and sociable and who can serve as the new employee’s go-to person for guidance, encouragement, and advice. New hires who have buddies will acclimate better, feel more confident, and ultimately become productive more quickly.

Help New Hires Achieve Quick Wins

Another confidence-building approach that you can and should try is gifting your new hires quick wins. Is there a project that the new employee can sink their teeth into quickly? The project should be achievable, but noticeable enough to warrant celebration when completed. Research shows that new hires who meet with early success tend to get up to speed more quickly and perform better over the course of their employment.

Schedule Face Time 

beachI realize that many startups rely on virtual workforces, which can be great things, especially for cash-strapped startups. However, it can be hard for a new hire to build a rapport with team members when they never meet those people face to face. New hires who build strong relationships onboard more quickly and perform better — but building such relationships is difficult to do when all your team members are hidden behind computers.

Fear not: There’s no need to abandon your virtual workforce. All you have to do is set aside some time for regular meetups that bring all or most of your workers into the same physical location together. This will ensure that new hires get the chance to forge ties with their fellow team members.

Collaboration Is Key

Another approach to welcoming your new hires into the family is to have them collaborate extensively with another employee on an important project. Research shows that working in tandem or having social support can help build confidence and make tough challenges seem surmountable. Allowing new hires to pair up on projects can really build their confidence and get them acclimated to the startup’s culture.

Failure to onboard your start-up new hires effectively can be costly. It can result in new hires who are slow to acclimate to your environment, which increases the time it takes them to get to full productivity. That is especially problematic in small businesses and startups, where everyone needs to carry their weight from day one.

Using these tips should help you welcome new employees into the familial fold, which will make them feel more confident and lead to full productivity in the shortest time possible.

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