First impressions matter.

What is onboarding?

New employee onboarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.

In on-boarding both the “big things” and the “little things” matter. Having a formal orientation program and a written onboarding plan are key best practices. However, other more subtle, factors matter as well. Is the new employee greeted warmly on their first day? Does the new employee have a functioning workstation right away, including all systems access? Does someone take them to lunch the first day?

The most important day on the job for a new employee is the first day

What does successful onboarding look like?

Reach out to new hires before their start date - If new hires are getting the silent treatment between accepting your offer and starting the job, you’re already sending the wrong message.

Maybe it’s a welcome email from HR walking them through their first day, or a phone call from their manager. Whatever the medium, you should reach out to new hires before they begin, so they’re not going in completely blind.

Make their first day memorable - You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so ensure that their first day is a positive experience

  • Have their desk already set up with everything they need (security  card, passwords, stationary, phone list etc.)
  • Give them a welcome package (At Charterhouse we give a reusable coffee cup, notebook, coffee card etc)
  • Schedule a lunch with the team
  • Send a company-wide email introducing your new hire to them
  • Keep their schedule tightly structured (at least to start)
  • Provide new hires with a clear schedule of the on-boarding process, so they’ll know what to expect. Include dates of any scheduled training, meetings, check-ins, or important events
  • Get the whole company involved
  • Prepare the team for the arrival of their new colleague – this can help create a more welcoming atmosphere
  • Assign a buddy. This should be someone who has been in the organization for a while and knows how everything works
  • Organize informal meetings with key stakeholders. For example, CEO, other managers, colleagues from other departments

Set expectations early and often

  • Setting defined (but realistic) expectations for new hires from the beginning - and communicating them clearly - can help workers evaluate their own progress and prepare for what’s to come
  • Make sure to give regular feedback to new employees so they know how they’re doing
  • Encourage new hires to give their own feedback. Engage in regular and open conversation with HR
  • Be consistent in how you implement on-boarding so that all employees receive the same information at the same time

Benefits of successful on-boarding

Employees are less likely to leave a company when they are engaged workers. Onboarding helps introduce new employees to the company and engage them with company values. This means they’re much less likely to leave your organization to look for an organization that better fits their work culture.

As new employees go through the onboarding process, they quickly get up to speed with the employees who have been with the company for longer. This lets them reach higher productivity levels much faster than if they had to figure everything out on their own.

Proper onboarding procedures include training for employees. Training provides people with the knowledge they need to excel in their job role. New hires are also taught about the mission and culture of the company, which helps them align themselves with these values.

Being a new employee can be very stressful. Employers can reduce this stress by providing all the information that their new hire needs to fulfill their role.

Without successful onboarding procedures, companies spend enormous amounts of money on employee turnover and loss of productivity. On-boarding increases employee engagement and helps get them up to speed with seasoned hires much more quickly. The process benefits new hires, existing hires, and the company alike.

90% of new hires decide to stay or leave their company in the first six months. 
Get on-boarding right and retain the talent you've worked so hard to attract. 

This article was first published on 12 October 2018 by Renata Bradnock -