Think back to when you either started a new position with a company or when you hired a new subcontractor. What were the initial feelings you had? Did anything stand out to you to make you say, “YES! I am EXCITED to work with [insert name here]!” ?
Since we’ve started working with our business coach, one thing that keeps being brought to the forefront is the importance of making your new client or new subcontractor feel special and reinforcing that they made the right choice in working with you. It might sound simple and you might be thinking to yourself that obviously you already do that, but – do you?
We weren’t! As soon as we had this glorious Ah-Ha moment we wrote out a new onboarding process for new clients, which included all the steps to properly bring them on without having to hound them multiple times saying “oh, I need this, too!” because that just gets annoying and makes you look disorganized.
And while there are many ways to onboard someone, we thought we would share a few tips as it relates to onboarding both clients and subcontractors!
1. Write a process for every type of onboarding you do. Step by step, create your ideal process from after your discovery call (if you have one!) right through, including templates of Welcome Emails, what to do if they don’t sign a contract in a timely manner, all of that. Write. It. Down. [Note: this will also save you a ton of time in the future if/when you have someone working for you, you can simply hand over this document and they’ll know all the steps to bring on a new client and not skip a beat!]
[NOTE: In this initial Welcome Email that they receive, we also outline the ways in which they can expect communication, if/when updates on their contract time will be provided, invitations to join any select platforms / shared drives, etc. This sets the standard of what they can expect and outlines everything in a concise, to-the-point email. One thing we see all too often is that people will send a MASSIVE email with far too many details and words, in which many (including me!) will not read in its entirety. So save your time in the long run – put the effort into creating a template that you can reuse and slightly modify to tailor to each individual, setting the expectations and boundaries from the beginning.]
2. Once you’ve written out your Onboarding Process, test it on someone. From start to finish, note where there are any gaps or instructions that could be more clear.
3. Figure out how to make them feel special. For us, this includes a handwritten “Thank You” note and a gift card for something they’ll enjoy. It’s just a small gesture that makes you stand out from the crowd and allows them to feel welcomed and truly appreciated.
4. Come full circle and also create an Offboarding Process. While we may not want to think about offboarding clients or subcontractors, it’s a reality that we must face. Our business coach also stressed the importance of offboarding someone with grace and class, leaving a lasting impression that they’ll want to refer you to someone else or at least leave a lingering thought that might make them second-guess not wanting to work with you. This process should include giving them proper (written) notice, details of what access will be revoked on which date(s), any outstanding work / invoices, and simply tying up all loose ends. You still want them to feel respected and appreciated, so giving them the courtesy of this timeline demonstrates that you’re a true business person.
By extending these small courtesies to new clients and/or subcontractors, you very well might gain a long-term relationship or potentially new ones, from referrals.
As always, if you want to discuss more how to create a solid Onboarding + Offboarding Process (or any others!), we’re only a click away.