Best Practices for Onboarding a New Hire

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6 tips for preparing your new superstar

You’ve gone through the difficult (and sometimes long) process of finding and hiring the perfect job candidate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your work is done. It’s important that you start off on the right foot with your new superstar to ensure she or he is happy in the new position, which in turn will make your company stronger.

In many ways, starting a new job is a lot like being the new kid in school. There can be excitement about the future, but also some anxiety about the unknown. New employees want to feel like they are welcome and that they will be making a real contribution. They also want to know they will be able to enjoy coming to work. After all, many of us spend more time at the office than anywhere else.

There are many things you can do to help retain employees, starting on the very first day. According to Constant Contact, “The first few weeks a new hire is on the job are some of the most crucial because you’re setting expectations and building their personal investment in your business or organization.”

Here are a few tips to make the onboarding process part of your employee retention plan:

1.  Draft an onboarding and orientation plan

No doubt you implemented a plan for the hiring process. You also need to develop a plan when it comes to onboarding new employees. Actually, this should be developed before the hiring process even begins.

According to, here are questions to ask:

  • What will their first day look like? Their first week? Their first month?
  • Who will they meet with and what topics will they discuss?
  • How will you orient them on their responsibilities? The team? The company culture? The market you serve? Your products and services? Your internal company systems?

2. Prepare a company manual

Once you’ve developed your plan, you’ll want to create a playbook to give to your new hires. It shouldn’t be too long; keep the information concise and on point. You can even give out the handbook before the first day so new employees can become familiar with the content before they walk in the door.

What should you include in the playbook?

  • An overview of the business structure and organization
  • Your mission, values, benefits, and company policies
  • A look at who your customers/stakeholders are
  • Talk about your culture to include:

• What does your company value?

• What are the goals?

• What is the working relationship between different departments as well as management?

• How is work presented and how is feedback given?

• Who will be directly overseeing daily operations?

  • Introduce each team member (consider including fun facts and a picture)
  • A list of FAQ: There are questions every new employee probably asks in those first few days/months. Compile them in the playbook so they have the answers right away.

3. Be ready to go on the new hire’s first day

There is nothing more frustrating or nerve-wracking for a new hire then to walk into an office on the first day and have nothing ready. No one is waiting to greet them. Their phone or email isn’t connected yet. They spend all day filling out paperwork or sitting in a cubicle waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Be prepared so the first day is one where they feel like an immediate part of the team. Greet them at the door. Introduce them to key team members or mentors right away. Have their communication systems already set up so they’re not waiting days in order to be productive.

4. Set a few attainable goals

Outlining goals on the first day/week is a great way to provide immediate direction. New employees want to know they have a purpose, and if they don’t have something that allows them to jump in right away, they could become frustrated. Be careful about starting with a goal they’re not ready to tackle, however. The key is to set attainable goals that can be accomplished quickly, perhaps within 90 days.

5. Meet to give feedback every week in the beginning

Once you’ve made a new hire, it’s important you don’t disappear the minute he or she starts the job. Communication is key in any successful relationship. Schedule a weekly appointment for the first 60-90 days. This is a time when you can both give feedback. Review things that have gone well and also point out potential problems. Note that these meetings don’t have to be long…about 15 minutes is ideal.

6. Introduce new hires to your customers/stakeholders

Despite the abundance of market research and data detailing every aspect of a clients’ needs and wants, there is still no substitution for a face-to-face meeting. Your customers/stakeholders can tell your new hire what they need better than anyone else and probably in less time. This will increase the engagement for new hires and also demonstrate the impact of their work.

Don’t let all the effort you put into finding that great new talent go to waste by driving them away with poor onboarding processes. Take the time to help your new hires immediately feel like part of the team and you will have a better working relationship in the long run.

Looking for a little help defining your organizations strengths and weaknesses when it comes to recruiting, onboarding, and company structure? Mankuta | Gallagher is a leader in organizational research and can provide insight into how you stack up against admired competitors and industry trends.