10 tips for onboarding new employees that will set them up for success (2023)

10 tips for onboarding new employees that will set them up for success (1)

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, and one specific area it impacted was the workplace. From layoffs to the great resignation, the workplace is in a new era that’s just beginning. These changes have impacted the whole working world, but one field that may not receive enough attention is human resources.

Many HR responsibilities revolve around recruiting, hiring, and firing employees. That’s just a part of what HR is responsible for, though. HR is also where employees go in case of tough times in their personal lives. They help define the company culture and facilitate the benefits and perks of working for that company. HR keeps employees happy and healthy.

One of the greatest challenges HR professionals face in the wake of COVID-19 is onboarding candidates after hiring them. Many things contribute to employee turnover, but successfully onboarding candidates is a great way to improve employee retention and maintain strong employee relationships.

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As writer Anna Baluch said, “Onboarding employees is an important part of the hiring process. With an effective onboarding strategy in place, you can acclimate new hires into your culture and provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. It’s essential if you’d like to retain employees, reduce turnover and maximize productivity.”

1. Allow an Adjustment Period Before the Start Date

Give new hires time before they’re expected to adjust their routine and start showing up at an office every day. The new hire can take the chance to adjust their routine to fit the new schedule, get some fresh clothes if they choose, and make other personal preparations.

The company can take this time to get any equipment the new hire will need set up while creating their internal identification information like a company email, a company security card, and whatever else they may need for access.

“New hires shouldn’t feel bad asking for a few weeks to get themselves ready to tackle a new role, especially because so many people are hired from one job into the next,” says Christy Pyrz, chief marketing officer of Paradigm Peptides. “Even with remote hires, there’s typically a two-week period between the offer and the start date.”

A grace period is vital if a candidate plans to relocate. For instance, someone in the suburbs hired into a role in an office downtown may want a few weeks or even a month to find a place closer to the office building so they can make the commute in the morning. Any type of relocation, no matter how big or small, should be considered for quality candidates who have received an offer.

The perfect candidate might not live next door to the office. If the last few years have taught us anything, this is one of the easy lessons to pick up on. Good talent lives all over.

2. Don’t Overwhelm Them

Overwhelming new hires with too much work all at once on their first day, or even in their first couple of weeks, won’t keep them excited or interested in working at that position.

As Ryan Rottman, co-founder and CEO of OSDB says, “It’s no fun to walk into a first day and already feel like you’re drowning with the amount of work needing to be done. Instead, set candidates up for success by easing them into their roles with a manageable workload. One of the secrets to keeping employees around for decades is ensuring they feel fulfilled with their work. This is a balancing act between challenging them and setting them up for achievement and success.”

Ease new hires into their role with a manageable workload they can realistically accomplish. As time passes, and the new hire isn’t so new anymore, they’ll have a better idea of their role and function in the organization as well as how much work they can take on. At that point, load their plate up and let them thrive.

3. Let Them Meet the Team and Get Acquainted

Whether remote or on-site, letting new hires meet the team is integral to setting them up for success. Many organizations have candidates meet the team during the interview process in a peer interview. This is a good way to check the culture fit with a potential candidate and to see how their personality meshes with other team members.

“Fostering collaboration is rooted in teamwork and comfortability. If people aren’t comfortable with one another, facilitating open collaboration will be much harder. Managers will often host a team lunch or another team activity after making a new hire just to allow everyone to meet one another, even if it’s just for a brief conversation,” notes Joshua Host, CEO of Thrivelab.

Coworker camaraderie is also beneficial to the organization in a variety of ways. It indicates higher levels of collaboration that can lead to more productivity, stronger earnings, and a slew of other benefits. Letting new hires get acquainted with their immediate coworkers will help accelerate their acclimation to the workplace culture and their role.

10 tips for onboarding new employees that will set them up for success (2)

4. Offer Support But Don’t Micromanage

In a new hire’s first few days, they need a chance to find their groove. However, they are still a new member of the team. This can put managers in a difficult position because they need to offer the new hire enough support and encouragement to facilitate successful integration. Still, they also need to be wary of hand-holding and micromanaging.

According to Soji James, lead expert certified personal trainer at 1AND1 Life, “Most professionals are autonomous as it is. Trying to micromanage someone today is just non-productive. If your goal is employee retention and a low turnover, hire good managers who stray from micro-management. If you notice this becoming a trend, maybe investigate some management training programs.”

From a manager's perspective, it can be tempting to micromanage a new hire because they want to be supportive and helpful. However, being too on top of a new hire can make them feel frustrated and stifled.

5. Onboarding in a Remote Setting

Work-from-home and remote work positions come with their own onboarding challenges. If you’re onboarding new hires in a remote setting, be communicative and available to answer new hires' questions.

“Onboarding in a remote setting relies on strong communication skills from both the HR rep and the candidate,” says Susan Kim Shaffer, president and co-founder of Pneuma Nitric Oxide.

Depending on the company, a remote position will also come with equipment, too. This could be a laptop and monitor, a cellphone, or even an entire computer. In these instances, the new hire must know what equipment to expect and when they should expect it to arrive. Not only that, but the company may have to give them a grace period on their start date, depending on the shipping time of any necessary equipment.

6. Create Itineraries for New Hires

If you want a new hire to thrive, make sure they know what the coming weeks will look like for them. When should they expect to be fully autonomous? When will they meet their coworkers? What tasks and trainings need to be completed?

“The more clear you can be with your new hires, the better,” says Bryan Jones, CEO of Truckbase. “Tell them where they have to be and when as much in advance as possible, so there are no surprises in the onboarding process.”

As part of these itineraries, you can include specific milestones and objectives they need to meet, as well as general projections for when they should expect to be able to accomplish those skills.

7. Make Sure Your Training Materials Are Prepped

Ideally, you’ll have your entire onboarding process prepped and planned out before you even make a new hire. That can include all the documents they’ll need access to, any informational videos they might be able to use, and even a list of everything they’ll need to get done.

As Max Schwartzapfel, CMO ofFighting For You notes, “All too often, onboarding can feel rushed and slapped together. That’s not a great impression for your new employee. Instead, make sure you’ve prepared all the materials they’ll need well ahead of time.”

While this might seem like a time sink at first, it’ll help save you time down the road. You’ll be able to reuse the resources you’ve prepped for this new hire for future employees, and you’ll be more likely to retain this employee.

8. Assign Them a Buddy

Starting a new role can be daunting, and finding your place in a company’s culture can be even more challenging. Alleviate this by assigning your new hire a buddy or mentor to help guide them through their first few weeks or months in their new role.

“Setting up a new employee with one of your best existing employees can pave the way for them to succeed at your business,” says Matt Masiello, chief marketing officer of BabyBuddha. “They’ll have a go-to person to ask questions and bring ideas to, and you’ll know they’re in good hands.”

Both employees can benefit from this pairing, so it’s worth trying. Even if you choose a mentor in a different department as your new hire, they’ll have a gateway to the rest of the company.

9. Help Them Plan for Their Future

Your new hire might not know exactly where they want to go in your company just yet, but it’s worth setting aside some time to discuss potential growth opportunities with them early on. Nothing needs to be set in stone, but having the initial discussion early shows your new hire that you intend to keep them around for the long haul.

As Christian Kjaer, CEO of ElleVet Sciences says, “Begin a relationship with your new hire by talking to them about their hopes and dreams for the future. Plant the seeds of growth and then revisit the conversation once they’re trained.”

Learning about your new employee’s goals and dreams can be a powerful asset in their training because you’ll know to gear them toward opportunities they’d be interested in. Once your new hire is fully trained and onboarded, revisit the conversation and create a concrete growth plan.

10. Encourage Them to Ask Questions

Anyone starting a new position is bound to have questions. It’s their trainer’s job to encourage them to ask the right questions — and to reassure them that there are no wrong questions. Asking questions is inherently vulnerable, so it’s important to let them know they’re in a safe space.

“Encourage your new hire to ask any question they might think of,” notes Asker A. Ahmed, director of iProcess Global Research. “Who knows: they might accidentally reveal a glaring problem in one of your systems or suggest a way to change things for the better in doing so.”

Make sure your employees know that they’re there to learn in their early days, and that’s okay.

A Few Final Thoughts

Strong onboarding practices are essential to employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity. In the new era that includes many remote and hybrid employees, onboarding new hires in a way that sets them up for long-term success is more important than ever before.

Lee Enterprises newsroom and editorial were not involved in the creation of this content.


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10 tips for onboarding new employees that will set them up for success? ›

These have since evolved into the 5 “C's” of Onboarding: Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Connection, and Culture.

What are the 5 C's of employee onboarding? ›

These have since evolved into the 5 “C's” of Onboarding: Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Connection, and Culture.

What are the 6 C's of employee onboarding? ›

Officially, the 6 C's of employee onboarding are Compliance, Clarification, Connection, Culture, Confidence and Checkback.

What are the 4 C's of employee onboarding? ›

The four Cs are Compliance, Clarification, Connection, and Culture.

How do you make an employee onboarding successful? ›

Successfully Onboarding Your New Hires
  1. Create a Process. ...
  2. Take a Multimodal Approach. ...
  3. Seek and Incorporate Feedback. ...
  4. Give a Realistic Idea of the Job. ...
  5. Set a Comfortable Pace. ...
  6. Explain the Jargon and Culture. ...
  7. Get Involved.

What are the 3 most important elements of successful onboarding? ›

There are three keys to a successful strategic onboarding program: people, culture, and milestones and tasks. A consistent, and repeatable onboarding process requires few adjustments and benefits all stakeholders involved. Plus, you're more prepared to set your new hire up for long-term success.

What are the 4 pillars of the onboarding margin framework? ›

The Onboarding Margin requires success with program content along four key pillars: Cultural Mastery; Interpersonal Network Development; Early Career Support; and Strategy Immersion and Direction.

What is the 4 step onboarding process? ›

Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding. Phase 2: Welcoming New Hires. Phase 3: Job-Specific Training. Phase 4: Ease of Transition to the New Hire's New Role.

What is an onboarding checklist? ›

An onboarding checklist is a way for hiring managers to organize the steps involved in guiding new hires through their first days and months at a company. The checklist ensures that each critical stage of the new hire onboarding process is complete. It provides a starting point for procedures specific to a job role.

What is perfect onboarding? ›

The five Cs of employee onboarding can make new hires feel welcome, valued and comfortable at their new jobs. These include compliance, clarification, confidence, connection and culture. Companies that incorporate them tend to enjoy greater onboarding success than those that do not.

What are the 4 essentials of employee engagement? ›

Building engagement means participating in its four essential components: enablement, energy, empowerment, and encouragement. If you want to create a workplace of truly engaged employees, each of these four elements must be alive and thriving in your organization.

What is onboarding success factors? ›

What is SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding? SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding brings your supporting systems, processes, and people into an intuitive digital experience, accessible from anywhere, on any device. Enlarge. Manage employee onboarding, cross-boarding, offboarding, and rehire programs through a single solution.

What are the five key steps in order of the onboarding process? ›

1. Before the first day
  • Send new hire documents online. Send all the necessary documents prior to the first day. ...
  • Map out the first week. ...
  • Set up the desk, tech and software. ...
  • Get the team onboard and ready for the new hire. ...
  • Schedule ahead. ...
  • Take an office tour. ...
  • Discuss the first week's schedule. ...
  • Assign a mentor.
Jun 28, 2019

What is the 4 pillars rule? ›

The four pillars policy is an Australian Government policy to maintain the separation of the four largest banks in Australia by rejecting any merger or acquisition between the four major banks.

What is the affirmation level of onboarding? ›

Level 2 , the Affirmation, is where the supervisor sets the groundwork for employee engagement to affirm that the new hire made the right choice in accepting the job. Introduce new employees to others at the company. Try to introduce new employees to members of their team and other important people in the organization.

What are the 5 steps to create an onboarding program for managers? ›

A 5-Step Guide to Create an Employee Onboarding Plan
  1. Find Out What New Employees Need to Know. ...
  2. Determine the Most Effective Ways to Teach Them. ...
  3. Plan Pre-Boarding Activities. ...
  4. Include Social Integration. ...
  5. Plan for Regular Check-Ins.
Nov 8, 2019

What are the pillars of executive onboarding? ›

The four pillars to executive onboarding are: Taking charge of the team- through trust and assessing dynamics. Aligning with stakeholders- to build trust and credibility that will yield momentum. Engaging with the culture- to understand organizational norms and the executive level dynamics.


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