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Posts Tagged ‘business insurance’

Small Business Insurance Misconceptions

Do you believe everything you hear about insurance when talking to fellow business owners? If so, you’ve probably been privy to—and maybe even regard as true—a few small business insurance misconceptions. Consider the following common mistaken beliefs to avoid.

Insurance companies never pay on claims.

While a common belief—everyone’s friend of a friend allegedly knows someone whose insurance company failed to pay up—it’s patently untrue. Your small business insurance policy is a contract. If that contract specifies certain types of damages caused by certain types of situations are covered, the insurer has to honor its obligations. Don’t let this misconception prevent you from investing in the insurance your small business needs.

Only big businesses need insurance.

If big companies were the only ones facing lawsuits, dealing with data breaches, or incurring damages in floods and fires, the belief might be true. But it’s not. According to Forbes, 71 percent of cyber-attacks are on small businesses. And according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nearly 40 percent of small businesses affected by natural disasters never reopen. You can bet a tornado or hurricane doesn’t care how many people you employ.

If I’m incorporated, I don’t need business insurance.

While a LLC (or limited liability company structure) can limit your personal liability by legally distinguishing you from your business, it doesn’t eliminate all potential danger. An angry customer or client could still try to bankrupt your company with a lawsuit. Should he or she succeed, you’d be left to start over at square one—unless you have appropriate small business insurance.

Small business insurance is too expensive for my budget.

Sure, every small business insurance policy requires you to pay a premium for coverage. But that expense is minuscule when compared to what you may have to pay out of pocket if a lawsuit or natural disaster strikes. You could lose your livelihood, your company’s savings, even your own personal assets all because you didn’t buy appropriate coverage. Keep in mind, you can bundle policies to reduce your premium costs. Risk management plans can also help you keep premiums low.

My single business insurance policy covers everything.

Chances are good that it does not. No single policy will cover every situation or loss. The only way to ensure full coverage is to purchase multiply policies designed to cover different types of liability (such as property insurance, equipment insurance and business-interruption insurance). Give us a call today to talk about your small business risks and ways to build adequate coverage.

Your Business Insurance Policy Isn’t Flood Insurance

Your Business Insurance Policy Isn't Flood Insurance

Many small business owners are under the mistaken impression that their business insurance policies will cover them for damages arising from floods. This is not correct. Just like residential flood insurance, commercial flood coverage must be purchased separately, in a dedicated policy.

The consequences of getting hit by a flood without owning commercial flood insurance are frequently devastating: 40 percent of small businesses hit by a flood never reopen their doors. The results are financially catastrophic to owners and sometimes to employees as well, who find themselves unemployed just as their community is affected by a severe flood.

What does commercial flood insurance cover?

Most flood insurance is sold under the auspices of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which has a standard set of benefits and exclusions. Commercial customers in low or moderate risk areas can choose building and contents coverage or a contents only policy. Those in higher risk areas naturally pay more, and may not have the option to cover contents-only. NFIP generally provides coverage for the following items:

Building Property Coverage

  • Damage to the building and foundation.
  • Plumbing and electrical system damage.
  • HVAC, water heater and furnace damage.
  • Built-in appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators.
  • Permanently-installed carpeting (over unfinished floors)
  • Permanently-installed book-cases, cabinets and paneling.
  • Window blinds
  • Detached garages (for up to 10 percent of total building damage).

Personal Property Coverage

  • Inventory/Merchandise
  • Computers
  • Machinery
  • Carpets not included in building coverage
  • Other business property
  • Business interruption. If you are out of business for weeks or even months after a natural disaster, business interruption coverage may be able to provide you and your family an income to live on. You may also want enough business interruption coverage to pay salaries of key employees and keep payments on leased equipment current.
  • Avoidable mildew and moisture coverage.
  • Cash, currency and stock certificates
  • Most automobiles.

What’s not covered? Mandatory insurance requirements

If you own a property that is securing a federally-backed mortgage and you live in an at-risk area, you are probably required to carry flood insurance as part of the terms of the loan. Check your mortgage document for specific language.

Is There Variance Between Carriers?

There is no significant difference between insurance carriers when it comes to National Flood Insurance Program policies. All companies simply resell the standard policies, which are the same for all carriers across the board. There is the potential for differences in underwriting, though the underwriting and pricing scheme is designed to be as standardized as possible, too. There are judgment calls that may crop up – for example, how to value that antique piano in the basement. That can make a difference on the margins, but for the most part there’s no benefit to shopping around for basic coverage. You can get the same policy from the agent you’ve been working with for years.

Are you a renter?

If you rent your business space, rather than own it, your landlord may carry a good deal of insurance on the property itself. But he will not typically carry any protection for your property, nor any improvements or alterations you made to the property. You will need to arrange your own separate coverage for that. That’s what the contents-only option is for.

What does it cost?

Premiums for businesses in lower-risk areas start as low as $567 per year for both building and contents, while contents-only coverage starts at $162 per year. Commercial coverage gives you up to $500,000 of insurance to protect your building and up to $500,000 to protect its contents.

Businesses in higher-risk areas will have to pay somewhat more for a standard policy. Premiums will be calculated based on the following factors:

  • Age of building
  • Building occupancy
  • Number of floors
  • The location of contents
  • Location in or out of a flood plain or other high-risk area
  • The location of the lowest floor in relation to the elevation requirement on the flood map (in newer buildings only). Recent data from Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and now Sandy indicate that older lower-elevation guidelines were inadequate to provide protection from hurricane storm surge.
  • The deductible you choose and the amount of building and contents coverage

You can estimate your premiums using this online tool from the National Flood Insurance Program.

How to Buy Flood Insurance

You can usually buy flood insurance through your property and casualty or business insurance agent or carrier. Almost all commercial flood insurance happens under the auspices of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is subsidized to an extent by the federal government.

Actuarially speaking, it is a particularly good deal for those in flood plains and other high-risk areas, because the federal guidelines ensure that premiums for these property owners are lower than what insurers would charge without the federal program.

Depending on your circumstances, the insurance carrier may require you to get a certificate of elevation from a surveyor.

While flood insurance is fairly standardized under just a few forms, there are important underwriting considerations that you will need to go over with your agent. For example, items stored in basements need special underwriting and pricing consideration, as does property in excess of the $500,000 cap.

Changing your deductibles can also have a significant effect on your premium.

Act Now

There is generally a 30 day waiting period before your flood coverage becomes effective. That means you cannot wait until the storm clouds are gathering before purchasing flood coverage. It’s important to act prudently to have coverage in place when the flood event happens.

Maximize Your Employee Retention — Know Your Top Performers

Maximize Your Employee Retention

As the economy improves and labor markets begin to pick up the pace of hiring, workers around the world are beginning to seek out new job opportunities. According to research conducted by HayGroup, a global management-consulting firm, worldwide employee turnover will reach 23.4 percent by 2018. The firm predicts more than 161 million employees are already preparing to leave their employers.

As any business owner knows, replacing employees comes with significant costs. In fact, a meta-analysis of studies conducted by the Center for American Progress found the median cost of turnover is equal to 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary. In the case of jobs that are very complex and require specialized training, turnover costs can be even higher.

While minimizing turnover throughout your workforce can reduce associated costs, there is another approach you may want to take. Experts suggest that the top 20 percent of employees in any company do 80 percent of the work. The middle 60 percent of the workforce tackles another 20 percent. The bottom 20 percent of your staff accomplish little to nothing.

You can maximize your employee retention efforts—and boost your company’s bottom-line—if you identify your top performers and focus on them. Once you know what a top performer looks like, you also know what to look for when replacing the average and below average professionals who choose to move on. Many of these ideal employees will share the following characteristics:

  • They have stellar references. When you called their past employers, their supervisors were eager to give them glowing reviews. Their LinkedIn profile included numerous endorsements and recommendations from bosses and associates at previous jobs. They may have even proactively included letters of recommendation with their resume.
  • They have defined goals. If you ask a top performer what he or she wants to be doing in five or 10 years, you’ll receive a well-articulated answer. These professionals are always thinking ahead and proactively pursuing the skill sets needed to achieve their goals.
  • They are ambitious. Top performers are interested in more than a paycheck. They thrive on the satisfaction and recognition they receive for a job well done and are always looking for ways to advance up the organizational ladder. Their employment history will show upward movement within organizations and across jobs.
  • They know how to prioritize. Your top performers juggle multiple projects with ease and avoid wasting time on distractions. They always meet their deadlines on high-value tasks.
  • “No” is not in their vocabulary. You can count on your top performers to tackle any task you send their way. They exude a can-do attitude while creatively and efficiently solving problems.

If you want to make the most of any opportunity, you must  identify your top performers, focus your employee retention efforts upon them, and look for professionals with similar high-quality characteristics to replace less valuable workers as they leave.

Data Breach Insurance — What You Need to Know

Data Breach Insurance

At one time or another you have likely received an email informing you that you will need to change your password for one of the websites you visit. The trigger for these advisories is often a data breach, a nightmare scenario in which a hacker gains access to consumer data, which could include personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and addresses.

Consumers are understandably upset when this occurs, and are often victimized once the hackers sell the information they have gathered to individuals who can run up their credit cards or otherwise wreak financial havoc. The consequences for a company whose data has been breached are often dire. Since hackers often steal data that belongs to thousands of customers, the expenses can run into the millions of dollars. Medical databases are not the only targets, however. Anyone suspected of storing customer financial information can become a victim.

Data breach insurance protects against a company’s losses in the event a breach of data security occurs.

If you decide to purchase it, make sure that your policy covers fines levied by the state, as otherwise you could be left without the amount of financial protection you need. Note that some data breach policies include access to professional assistance to help you comply with regulations and implement practices that can further protect your company.

Many policies provide protection against lawsuits arising from stolen data.

Since the victims cannot sue the hackers who sold the data, they will often look at the next best option – your company. Since a data breach could result in multiple lawsuits, the peace of mind is likely worth the premiums you will pay. Your policy may also offer assurance that forensic services will be paid for in the event you need to gather data to protect yourself in a lawsuit.

Some policies also provide reimbursement for money your company has lost due to the inevitable interruption in business that data breach events cause.

If customer data is stolen during the holiday season, for example, and your business sells smoked turkeys, the financial loss you will experience during that time could be an amount equivalent to your entire profits for the year. While you struggle to reestablish your company’s reputation and deal with notifications, your financial needs will be taken care of if you choose a policy that has this provision.

Insuring your company against data theft is not the only step you can take to protect yourself, however.

Evaluate your data security practices (have you updated your passwords recently?), ensuring that current anti-virus and malware software is installed on all computers, that a network firewall is in place, and data is encrypted. These steps can go a long way toward protecting your organization against financial loss and can help to reduce your liability in the event that a customer initiates legal action.

IBM Survey Busts Millennial Workplace Myths

IBM Survey Busts Millennial Workplace Myths

As a small business owner, you’ve probably spent hours reading about the changing face of America’s workforce as Baby Boomers retire and Generation Y—or the Millennials, born between 1980 and 1993—take their place. Most reports would lead you to believe that managing a multigenerational workplace is difficult, and that Millennials—with their penchant for technology and drive to advance their careers—are likely to start a perhaps unwanted revolution. But a recent survey conducted by IBM has something else to say.

The multigenerational study surveyed 1,784 employees in 12 countries and six industries, comparing the preferences and behavior patterns of Millennials with those of previous generations, namely, Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964). The findings revealed that Millennial workers actually want many of the same things their older colleagues do. Their attitudes are not, in fact, that different from other employees. For example, consider the following common myths most employers believe about Millennials and the study’s contradictory revelations.

Myth 1 – Millennials have different career goals and expectations than older workers do.

When given a range of career goals to rate, including “do work I’m passionate about” and “start my own business,” all three generations were quite close in their responses. Millennials and Baby Boomers were actually closer in response rankings to each other than either was to Gen X. And they all want financial security, seniority and the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people.

Myth 2 – Millennials expect recognition and constant acclaim.

Millennials grew up during a time when children’s sports organizations began awarding trophies to everyone on the team, doing away with “losers” and making everyone a “winner.” Their parents told them they could become whatever they wanted, and some have said this generation has unrealistic expectations as a result. However, the IBM study found that they don’t really expect more recognition at work than Gen X or Baby Boomers do. They focused their definition of a “perfect boss” more on a manager who is ethical and fair than one who always recognizes their accomplishments.

Myth 3 – Millennials are addicted to social media and want to do everything digitally.

Millennials are adept at surfing the Internet, communicating via social media and text message, and interacting digitally with the world at large. However, they actually prefer face-to-face contact for a number of things including learning new skills at work. They also easily distinguish between their personal and professional lives, using social media accordingly. While 27 percent of Millennials reported never using their personal social media accounts for business purposes, only 7 percent of Baby Boomers kept their online personal and professional interactions separate.

Myth 4 – Millennials are job hoppers who are likely to leave your company for lack of passion.

In actuality, according to the IBM study, Millennials change jobs for the same reasons Gen X and Baby Boomers do. These included “enter the fast lane” (make more money or work in a more innovative environment), “shoot for the top” (take on more responsibility), “follow my heart” (do work they are passionate about), and “save the world” (have a positive impact on society)—in that order. Additionally, 75 percent of the Millennial survey respondents indicated they had held their current position for three years or more, indicating they are no more likely than other generations to jump from one job to the next.

Is Your Employees’ Financial Stress Affecting Your Business?

Is Your Employees' Financial Stress Affecting Your Business?

More and more employees are worrying about their financial situation. This, according to the American Psychological Association, comes at levels that are higher than what is deemed acceptable. Younger people, parents, and those living on an income of less than $50,000 experience the most financial stress. If the describes your employees — then it’s something you should be concerned about as it affects your bottom line.

Negative Impact on Health

Not surprisingly, financial stress has a negative impact on health. On top of the list of many employee concerns is that to in order to make ends meet, many people no longer prioritize their healthcare needs.  Add this worry on top of medical conditions brought on by stress and it’s a self-feeding loop.

In a recent study, some have considered not seeing the doctor (9% of the respondents) when the need arises. The fact that a slightly higher number of people (12% of the respondents) have skipped going to the doctor altogether is even more alarming.

Stress also has repercussions on the social lives of people. In fact, 31% of adults with partners say that money is often a source of conflict in the relationship.

These numbers paint a telling picture. Despite recovery from economic recessions, many people still cite financial stress among their top concerns.

Income Gap Factor

Higher and lower-income households also experience a gap in the stress levels they experience. This is in stark contrast to stress levels a few years ago when there was nothing to suggest a significant gap was present.

But now, a clear gap has emerged with lower-income households citing higher stress levels compared to higher-income households.

Despite an overall reduction in stress levels, the average person still deals with higher levels of stress that is deemed healthy. This means otherwise productive members of the workforce may become a problem for businesses.

Negative Impact on Business

Beyond affecting their personal lives, financial stress on employees also have adverse effects on businesses. Among the negative implications are:

  • Absenteeism – Employees worrying about their finances tend to use  more of their sick leave and don’t go to work as often.
  • Lack of focus – Despite being present at work, they spend more time on unrelated activities such as talking to creditors and exploring their options. Moreover, many lose their focus and think about their finances up to three hours per day.
  • Low productivity – Several studies point out that companies stand to lose as much as 20 hours of productivity a month for every affected employee. This translates to around $5,000 of added cost per employee per year.
  • Health issues – As mentioned earlier, financially-stressed employees forego their healthcare needs. In turn, this leads to health issues that affect productivity and quality of work. This also contributes to fatigue, sleeplessness and anger.
  • Higher insurance rates – Stress in general can cause serious medical issues such as heart disease, eating disorders and substance abuse among others. For this reason, it is quite common for insurance rates to go up for companies with employees experiencing stress-related illnesses.
  • Workplace conflicts – Employees who are stressed out are less able to contain their personal issues at work. This results in incomplete tasks, tardiness and even accidents.
  • Dependence on employee benefits – Because of financial trouble, a significant number of employees may turn to the company’s benefits programs to help with their needs. Increased borrowing and frequent requests for pay advances are some of the telling signs of this. In turn, this could drive up costs for the company.
  • High turn-over rates – Financially-stressed employees may seek employment with better pay. This forces companies to get new hires that may not have the same experience and expertise. High turn-over rates forces the company to adjust constantly preventing them from relating with their staff.
  • Lack of commitment – Regardless of how much they make, employees experiencing financial stress are less contented with their pay. This could lead to a lack of commitment to their work and dissatisfaction towards their employer.

Financial stress isn’t just a stress for your employee — it’s  a stress on your bottom line as well. This issue should be dealt with sooner than later to improve their sense of well-being. An employee who feels secure tends to perform better and becomes a valuable asset to your company.

Business Interruption Insurance: The Basics

Business Interruption Insurance: The Basics

A windstorm causes major damage to your office roof. A fire destroys a portion of your warehouse. A flood reduces key pieces of your equipment to rubble. These and other disasters can strike your company at any time, preventing you from carrying on with business as usual. You now have a cash flow problem: you cannot sell goods or services until you’ve made necessary repairs and replacements, yet you still have to meet payroll and cover rent, taxes and other expenses. This is when you need business interruption insurance.

What is Business Interruption Insurance?

While your general business property insurance policy will cover the direct loss of property in the event of an accident or other disaster, it may not cover the income loss your business will experience while you’re making repairs and replacements. Business interruption insurance, on the other hand, will reimburse you for profits lost during a forced closing of your facilities.

Why do I need Business Interruption Insurance?

Losses without this valuable insurance product can be quite substantial. According to one small business insurance provider, the average claim is $1.36 million. That’s enough to put many companies out of business! The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agrees. Its data shows 40 percent of small business owners never reopen after a disaster.

However, companies with business interruption insurance coverage can survive on the supplemental income they receive until their operations are back to normal. They can use this income to cover everyday expenses and operational costs rather than draining their bank accounts and—potentially—still coming up short.

Additional business interruption insurance coverage is available for companies who want protection from the costs associated with reopening their business after the disaster (such as overtime and extra equipment) and those who worry about interruptions caused by their suppliers. Insurers generally label this add-on product as contingent business interruption coverage.

Where do I get Business Interruption Insurance?

If you purchase an insurance package that bundles business property insurance and general liability insurance together, your insurer may include business interruption insurance coverage. Confirm with your insurance agent that this is the case for your company. If not, or if you need more coverage than what your business insurance package currently provides, consider prioritizing this investment. It could be the only thing standing between your company and bankruptcy should a disaster cause an extended emergency shutdown.

Remember, whatever your business insurance needs, we’re here to help! Please don’t hesitate to call or email us your questions and concerns.

Add More Fun to Your Company Culture

Add More Fun to Your Company Culture

You know that nurturing a positive company culture is good for business. Not only does it help to attract high quality job applicants when you need to fill an open position, it also keeps your current staff engaged in their work. This means fewer absences, greater productivity and less employee turnover. But here’s something you may not have known: it can do all of that while still being fun.

Successful companies such as Google—with its nap pods, video games, foosball, and ping-pong tables—have proven it. They’re the best in their business, consistently ranking among top places to work and attracting more than 2.5 million job applicants every year. If you’d like to join them, consider these ways to add more fun to your own company’s culture.

Office Challenges: Whether you divide employees into random teams or pit departments against each other, competitions and fun challenges are a great way to build team member relationships and give your workers a break from job stress. You can do organize everything from chili cook-offs and track-and-field days to board game tournaments and kickball matches. The best part? Most of these ideas won’t cost you a dime.

Daily Fitness Opportunities: According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 55 percent of employees consider themselves overweight. Adding daily fitness activities to your company culture is a fun way to help them tackle the problem while showing that you care about their health and wellbeing. Suggestions include encouraging walking meetings, starting the day with group calisthenics, even working in teams to build enough strength for 50 push-ups. And again, all free!

Unique Celebrations: Sure, it’s nice that you recognize your employees’ birthdays with a card. However, wouldn’t your workers feel more special if you acknowledged their big occasions with a day off, paid lunch with the boss or personal token of appreciation? The same goes for holidays. Have a pumpkin carving party in October, host a company turkey trot run in November, and toast the first week of the New Year with champagne.

Make Time for Fun: While you don’t have to allow them to goof off at their desks, encourage your team to get away from their office, cube or workspace during their breaks and have a little fun. Equip the break room with toys and video games. Set up a basketball hoop or volleyball net outside. Your employees will return to work refreshed and with greater focus.

Get Out: Treat your workers to an occasional field trip. Interacting outside the office will help them to bond in new ways, strengthening departmental and company-wide relationships. You might organize an opportunity, go on a mid-week picnic or gather at the local watering hole for an early happy hour. Whatever you choose to do, getting out of the office is always exciting.

Policies Every Employee Handbook Should Cover

Policies Every Employee Handbook Should CoverYou wouldn’t expect a builder to create a structure without a blueprint. Nor would you expect your employees to succeed in their jobs without a clear picture of what you expect from them. Taking the time to ensure you’ve established a mutual understanding of expectations is actually essential if you want to employ workers who follow the rules of your establishment, get along with each other, and perform their jobs admirably.

Your employee handbook can support you in this endeavor—if you draft one that covers all the bases. Consider the following 10 policies every employee handbook should cover. Some will help your team perform at their best, while others will protect you should one of your workers ever file a claim against you.

The “At-Will” Employment Policy. This policy explains that you—or your worker—can terminate his or her employment with your company at any time and for any (lawful) reason.

The Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy. It’s important that your employee handbook takes a zero tolerance stance on discrimination and harassment. It should state that management will always take such complaints seriously and will never retaliate against the reporting parting. Don’t forget to describe options for reporting violations and consequences should an employee violate the policy.

Immigration Law Policy. Include wording in your handbook regarding your company’s commitment to only hire individuals who can legally work in the U.S. Outline the employment eligibility verification rules your organization follows.

Employment Classification Policy. Whether workers are defined as full- or part-time, exempt or nonexempt, determines their eligibility for overtime pay and some company benefits (such as employer-sponsored health insurance). Define these categories of workers within your employee handbook.

Time Off and Employee Leave Policy. Describe the rules for accruing and using vacation time and sick time. List any holidays for which your employees will receive pay. Clearly outline the steps your workers need to take to request time off as well as note whether unused time will carry over from year to year.

Meal and Break Policy. If an employee works more than a certain number of hours, employment laws dictate they must receive breaks and meal periods. Make sure your employee handbook covers these details as well as any related restrictions.

Timekeeping and Payday Policy. Your employee handbook should describe the rules and methods for recording time worked. It should also cover paydays, ways in which employees can receive their pay (check, direct deposit, etc.), and how final pay will be handled should you need to terminate an employee.

Safety Policy. Whether you’re running a small office or a large warehouse, your employee handbook should cover important safety and emergency procedures as well as the rules your workers must follow regarding reporting on-the-job injuries and accidents.

Attendance Policy. It will be difficult to reprimand an employee for tardiness, early departure or missed days of work if your employee handbook doesn’t cover your policies on attendance and punctuality. It may also be helpful to clearly define “excessive absenteeism” and the steps a worker must take to report a possible late arrival or unscheduled day away.

Employee Conduct Policy. Outline the standard of conduct you expect from your workers when it comes to drug and alcohol use/abuse, workplace violence, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and other common issues.

A comprehensive employee handbook will cover these essential topics (and more). If you’d like assistance drafting one—or want a third-party review of the employee handbook you’ve already created—we’re  here to help.

 

Lose Fewer New Hires with an Improved Onboarding Process

Lose Fewer New Hires with an Improved Onboarding ProcessAccording to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 50 percent of our nation’s hourly workers will leave a new job within the first four months. Half of outside hires placed in senior positions fail at their jobs within 18 months. Both statistics describe costly situations; a review of related studies conducted by the Center for American Progress found it costs a business an average of 20 percent of the worker’s salary to replace an employee who earns $75,000 or less a year.

Fortunately, the right onboarding process—starting before that first day on the job—can decrease expensive turnover as well as improve the satisfaction, commitment and performance of any new employee. Consider the following ways to improve onboarding at your organization.

  1. Post an accurate job description. If the description you’ve advertised for the job is inaccurate—e.g. missing details on skills required or performance expected—you may be setting any new hire up for failure. Before you even begin interviewing candidates for an advertised position, make sure you’ve covered all the bases and have a very clear picture of the professional most likely to succeed in the role.
  1. Brief your current employees. Prepare your team before the new hire’s first day. Describe his background, determine areas in which he may need training, and assign workers to facilitate the orientation and training process. Remember, few experiences feel as awkward as showing up for your first day on the job to discover no one knows who you are or what to do with you.
  1. Set up a workspace. Even if your new hire will be in training for a while, she needs a place of her own. Prepare her computer and phone. Set up her email account. Stock her desk with necessary supplies, and provide her with any essential safety gear. If she’s replacing an exiting employee and you don’t yet have a desk available, make sure she still has a place to store her personal belongings in the interim.
  1. Provide a warm welcome. Whenever possible, you should be on hand to welcome new workers on their first day. If you’re not available, choose another supervisor or senior team member to do so. Walk the new employee around the office or jobsite and introduce him to the rest of your workers while also showing him where he can find the break room, rest room and important offices.
  1. Follow an onboarding plan. Provide your new worker—and anyone else involved—with an itinerary for the first week. Include human resources-related tasks such as completing required documentation and enrolling in benefits as well as orientation and training activities. Set up daily meetings with the new employee throughout the week so you can check in and answer any questions or address concerns as they arise.
  1. Don’t forget history, culture and their place in the organization. There is a reason these professionals chose to work for your company—and it may have had little to do with pay. Teach them more about the history and mission of your business as well as your office culture and vision for the future. Remind them that you hired them to help you achieve that vision, and describe the ways in which they can use their skills to do so.
  1. Set expectations early. Make sure your new worker knows what you expect of her, both during the first week and the months that follow. Review and discuss the job description. Talk about individual goals and objectives. Consider monthly performance evaluations rather than a 90-day or six-month evaluation; they’ll enable you to resolve issues earlier.