When it comes to bad hiring experiences, the focus tends to be on the actual hire and whether or not he or she is really a good fit for the company. What isn’t mentioned nearly as often as it should be, however, is the role poor onboarding (or complete lack thereof) plays in setting new employees up for success or failure. It is often what happens during those critical first days that determines whether a new hire will struggle or excel in his or her role. If your onboarding process leaves much to be desired, here are a few tips to help turn things around.

Hit the ground running.

You don’t have to wait until your new employee reports for his or her first day to start the onboarding process. In fact, getting the ball rolling prior to day one is strongly recommended. For instance, mailing out paperwork for your new hire to complete and bring with him or her on the first day can save a good deal of time and enable you to get right into the more important stuff as soon as possible.

Make introductions.

Starting a new job can be intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t leave it to your new hires to go out and make friends. Set them up with the right connections right away by making introductions to the appropriate parties around the office. Point out the key stakeholders and give new hires a clear picture of who reports to who and which roles are which. Help them to feel welcome and enable them to get to know some of their colleagues by arranging a lunchtime gathering or happy hour event.

Set the stage.

Regardless of the fact that your new hire may have decades of experience, don’t assume he or she will instantly assimilate into your company’s culture. Every organization is different, with different rules, etiquette, policies and procedures. Sure, your new employee will eventually figure these things out, but why not make it easier by articulating right from the outset exactly how business gets done in your company. Topics might include things like how meetings are held, how decisions are made and how challenging issues are handled.

Sweat the small stuff.

When welcoming a new member to the team, don’t underestimate the importance of bringing them up to speed on the little things. Where are the restrooms? What number needs to be dialed to get an outside line? How does the photocopier work? Where are the office supplies stored? What time are scheduled breaks? It’s often these little nuances that can be the most frustrating for a new hire in the beginning, so list them out and leave no stone unturned.

Set expectations.

Last, but certainly not least, spend some time going over the role of your new hire and exactly what’s expected of him or her. Tossing someone into the deep end without first teaching them how to swim is a recipe for disaster, both for the new employee as well as the company. Make sure you are providing your new team member with everything he or she needs to be successful, including a clear understanding of style and approach, and take as much guesswork out of the process as possible.

As a business owner or manager, hiring the right people is important. It’s equally critical, however, to ensure that those new hires are provided with the information and tools that they need right from the start so they can be successful. By incorporating the five tips above into your onboarding process, you’ll be able to get your new team members up to speed quickly and lay the foundation for a positive, productive working relationship.