When a new employee starts at your dealership, what’s the onboarding process like? Better yet, is there a process at all? How an employee’s first day goes really sets the tone for what their experience with your dealership is going to be like going forward.

So often when someone new is hired it’s because either the business has grown and relief is needed or it’s to fill the spot of someone who has left. In either case, there’s a lot of work building up and the new hire is often rushed into filling the void — baptism by fire if you will. There’s certainly something to be said for learning by being thrown right into the thick of a job, but it also opens the door to confusion. Having to learn on the fly also means you’re not always learning the right way to do things.

I’m currently preparing to help train a new editor for another one of the magazines we publish. The experience has made me pause and look back on all the different types of “first days” I’ve had. One of the biggest things that sticks out to me looking back was whether or not it seemed like the company was ready for me to be there on day one. It’s important to set the time aside before the new employee arrives to prepare. If you’re not ready for them when they walk in the door, you’ll likely be off to a shaky start.

Most businesses have acronyms for departments, processes, programs, etc. Think about the alphabet soup that you spew out on a daily basis. Would someone who’s not familiar with your dealership have the slightest clue what you’re talking about? If you’re not sure, make a list of all the acronyms and what they mean. Having this source should help the new employee catch on faster. 

Are there people from other departments who will need to do some of the new employees training? Get those training times scheduled ahead of time. That way no one is feeling inconvenienced and can set aside the appropriate time to train the new employee fully, rather than quickly rushing through just the basics of a program or procedure. Make sure you’re giving them the information, tools and training they need to not only complete their job, but to succeed at their job.

A new employee likely has the experience or technical knowledge for the job or you wouldn’t have hired them. But, what they don’t likely know is your culture or the way your dealership’s “way.” Fill them in on the company vernacular and procedures that you might do differently then everyone else. Take them around to each employee and personally introduce them. Truly welcome them into the organization and make them feel part of the team right off the bat.

What sort of training has worked best at your dealership? Do you have someone specific set up to train all new employees or is it handled differently on a case-by-case basis?