Onboarding New Employees: Maximising Success

By 4 October 2022 No Comments

As the world’s labour market continues to shift, the companies that retain key talent and invest in their teams will also be the ones that invest time, money and effort into new employee onboarding.

The goal of onboarding should be to reduce the time it takes for new hires to feel at ease with their new responsibilities and to excel in their roles. This is only possible if onboarding procedures are strategically created with this purpose in mind. But with the emergence of remote and hybrid employment, onboarding has grown much more complex. According to HR respondents in a Workable 2020 poll, the top recruiting problem during the epidemic was remote onboarding or training, and to this day it remains a challenge for numerous companies.

Why investment in onboarding is critical

According to the Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, despite great onboarding being critical for long-term success, more than one-third of businesses lacked a formal onboarding procedure, whether remote or not, even before the virtual shift.[1] On top of this, companies often underestimate how long it takes a new recruit to become skilled in their position. While the average onboarding programme lasts 90 days, it usually takes new hires 12 months to attain their full performance potential.

So, if you want to increase talent retention and overall performance, you must enhance the onboarding process for new hires. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees strongly feel that their company does a fantastic job of onboarding newcomers.

Are you surprised at these stats? Probably not…

There is a lot of opportunity for improvement as a staggering 88% of respondents agree that their companies fail to deliver on the promises made during recruitment.🤯

These figures are extremely alarming especially for businesses that hire remotely, as it can cause your employees to have less confidence in their new roles, create lower engagement levels, and increase the chance of them leaving when they spot a new, more interesting position elsewhere.

Meanwhile, organisations that execute formal onboarding programmes can experience a 50% increase in new hire retention and a 62% increase in productivity. Additionally, according to the onboarding research from Gallup, staff members who have a pleasant onboarding experience are almost three times more likely to feel prepared and supported in their roles, which boosts their confidence and enhances their capacity to carry out their roles effectively! 🤩🥳

In short, a more comprehensive onboarding programme results in:

✅Less stress

✅Improved talent retention

✅Improved performance and career effectiveness

✅More organisational commitment and employee happiness

5 top tips to help you improve your onboarding procedure

The five tips listed below can assist you in developing strategic onboarding procedures that prepare new hires for success and enhance employee retention.

1. Pre-boarding ✔️

If you only engage with a new hire on their first day, you are already falling behind on your onboarding strategy.

Pre-boarding, in its simplest form, refers to any procedure your business has in place from the time a candidate accepts a job offer until their first day on the job.

When done well, preboarding creates excitement, fosters a strong employer/employee relationship, and equips new hires with the skills they need to succeed. Making a solid pre-boarding plan should be a top priority because it is crucial to setting up a wonderful first day and beyond.

Plus, you don’t want your new hire to change their mind about joining you during their notice period, which can vary between one to six months!

Here are a couple of ideas for you to consider:

  • Personalised welcome gifts

Holiday greetings written by hand and gift baskets help to maintain and grow client relationships, and it’s no different with your new hires, especially during preboarding.

  • Invite them to ‘pre-boarding hangouts’

For new hires, an informal gathering with team members is a terrific way to start establishing connections before their first day, so consider including these in your plans. In addition, you may want to nominate someone on your team to serve as an onboarding buddy throughout the whole pre/on boarding process rather than just inviting a new hire’s direct reports, managers and other colleagues.

 2. Set clear goals and measures for success regarding your onboarding strategy 📈

You should first assess your onboarding goals before starting a brand-new onboarding programme. Talya N. Bauer’s four Cs — compliance, clarification, culture, and connection — should all be incorporated in your goals when you are assessing your current strategy.

The Four C’s of onboarding:

  • Compliance is the lowest level which entails educating staff members on fundamental legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  • Clarification means making sure that workers are aware of all the requirements for their new positions.
  • Culture is a wide concept that encompasses giving employees a sense of the official and informal corporate rules.
  • Connections refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.

The Four C’s are frequently referred to as the foundation of an effective onboarding process.

After you’ve established a set of objectives that consider all four Cs, it’s time to choose how you’ll measure success. Your measurements should contain both quantitative indicators (such as the proportion of new workers still employed at your organisation after a year) and qualitative data (like feedback from new hires about their onboarding experience).

 3. Create a diverse onboarding team 👥

Create an onboarding procedure that includes team members from relevant departments, important stakeholders, and the business owner if you want to enhance the employee experience at work.

Since the success trajectory of a new recruit is established in the first two weeks, you want to expose each new starter to as many top team members as possible. First days of work are absolutely critical because those are the days when the person that is joining you is the most receptive and willing to learn from anyone you introduce them to.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that new team members will also communicate with parties outside of their immediate team. However, it’s not often clear to new hires how they will interact with these individuals or how to approach them. By creating a list of names with notes on each person’s background and significance to the business, managers or ‘buddies’ can help develop those connections. It is your responsibility as a manager to make sure that these connections are handled properly.

A crucial introduction that is frequently missed in the first three days of your new team member arriving, is the one between your new hire and the company’s business owner.  The business owner is the best person to talk about the ethos/philosophy of the firms, and plans for the future. By introducing new hires to the business owner, you may help them feel like they belong in the organisation and reinforce the notion that they are an important part of the team and made the right decision joining your firm. 

If your business is smaller, arrange a coffee meeting for the new hire(s) and your company’s leader. If this isn’t realistic due to company size, geography, or time constraints, try organising a special celebration with other team members.

Finally, make sure that the manager checks-in with the new joiner on a regular basis to ensure that the onboarding is going smoothly and to receive and give timely feedback!

4. Create a sense of community 🙌

According to a recent study, 30.0% of adults say they feel lonely at work. This feeling of loneliness is heightened for new joiners, who frequently have the feeling of being a stranger in their own role, which increases their likelihood of quitting their job.

New team members desire connections that make them feel affirmed, valued, and included. They value direct communication and honest feedback, especially from managers and leaders. They want to network widely, be mentored by knowledgeable and experienced colleagues, and have an opportunity to ask plenty of questions.

During their first year, new hires can feel more confident and less alone if they have either a mentor or a buddy. They are then more likely to feel embraced and welcomed! And it doesn’t have to be all formal! Consider inviting them for a cuppa or a virtual hang!  ☕ It probably will mean a lot more to them than you can ever imagine.

5.  Virtual/hybrid working 💻

Employers who are unfamiliar with remote work may feel intimidated by a virtual onboarding process. Additionally, if new hires primarily interact with their colleagues via a screen, it may be far more difficult for them to adapt to the workplace culture and develop personal connections. But establishing a virtual onboarding process isn’t as challenging as it might seem. Here are a few tips:

  • Lean on technology to offer a comprehensive social experience

Creating a social ecosystem for new hires to immerse themselves in can help combat the biggest fallout of remote work: loneliness. Starting a new job in a remote setup can be challenging, so a buddy system works very well in a remote setting too. In fact, 56% of new hires who met with an onboarding buddy reported feeling up to speed and productive in their role. Not only that but, an onboarding buddy who is not their manager provides a safe space to ask those “silly” questions any new person might want to ask.  

  • Make the most of recordings

Explaining things in writing or having numerous meetings can be very time-consuming. To help your new starters with complex tasks and questions that they may have, consider recording short videos, which may include a recording of your screen demonstrating how to undertake a specific task with your voice over. They are a great time saver and a brilliant training resource.

  • Balance learning and doing

Employees now have more freedom over where, how, and when they work thanks to the impact of COVID-19. By structuring asynchronous activities in a way that supports both learning and production, you can give new hires the freedom to organise their initial weeks. In our experience, practical application is critical so make sure that your new starter has time to experiment with what they’ve learnt.

  • Incorporate some in-person training

Even when working virtually, it’s good practice to incorporate some in-person training. Just a single day can make a big difference in helping to establish closer connections and create opportunities to ask questions that your new starter may not have the confidence to ask in the first weeks of employment when all contact is virtual. Most of us would agree that virtual contact has a different quality to an in-person interaction, so it’s worth investing time and effort into making this part of your onboarding.

Conclusion 😉

Although most companies have an onboarding programme, few employees report having a positive onboarding experience. The onboarding process needs to be reinvented as success in the post-pandemic workplace is dependent on it.

It is crucial to develop a strong onboarding procedure for new joiners, especially at a time when businesses are finding it difficult to retain talent. Managers can boost new workers’ engagement and confidence while also creating an atmosphere that keeps talent for years to come by developing smart onboarding programmes.

In other words, if leaders want to compete for talent, let alone keep it, they must design an onboarding process that is nothing short of extraordinary!

Best of luck creating yours but if you need help, we have some resources that might help you. 👇 👇 👇

­­­­­­­­If you are a member of our Master Practitioners Club, here are some of the relevant resources that you have access to:


  • Creating a great onboarding & offboarding experience


  • Onboarding Plan
  • Training Needs Identifier
  • Development & Training Plan

If you are not a member already why not consider joining us now !

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