Five Tips For Better Onboarding

In the first of a three-part series focused on successful onboarding, Snow Magazine Contributing Editor Fred Haskett helps you refine your process assimilating and integrating new employees.

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Onboarding, or helping new hires become comfortable, productive members of your team, is no small task yet it is vital to your success.

Consider the facts:'

  • One in five new hires leaves within the first 45 days of starting a job;
  • Employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay for three or more years.

Even if you’re an onboarding expert, there’s always more to learn. So, here are five tips to help refine your onboarding process into a thing of beauty.

Tip 1
Onboarding never ends.


How long do you spend training, evaluating and acclimating your new hires? One day? One week? A month, or more? While 90 days is a good benchmark for being able to review the fit and performance of a new hire, remember that your employees are people who enjoy and appreciate any gesture that helps them feel more appreciated and productive. Recognizing and rewarding hard work in your organization with social events and perks should be considered part of your onboarding efforts — no matter how long the employee has
been with your business.

Tip 2
Day one is too late to start.
As the employer, it’s your job to project preparedness and professionalism to your employees, who then reflect the same back in the quality of their work. It’s standard to set up your employees’ work space, telephone and email accounts before they show up for work on day one. Go a step further and use e-signature software to knock out all that pesky onboarding paperwork, such as benefits approvals and IRS Form W-4, beforehand. That way, your new hire’s first day on the job is open for more training and more face time with new co-workers.

Tip 3
Not all onboarding happens in the office.
With remote and mobile workforces becoming more and more common, the office water cooler is quickly losing its status as the main social hub of your business. However, it’s still important to make sure your team gets informal time together to bond outside of work. Schedule some time during your new hire’s first week for a social outing, such as a happy hour, when they can get to know new co-workers outside of the work environment.

Tip 4
Tailor your onboarding approach to your company’s specific needs.
Similar to the previous tip, consider how new technology is affecting your hiring practices. If you need to add lots of new hires quickly, especially if they’re working remotely or on the go, sending your onboarding documents the traditional way with overnight shipping or printing, faxing and scanning can become prohibitively expensive. Look for tools that can help bridge that distance easily, like secure file sharing and e-signature software.

Tip 5
Onboarding is a two-way street.
“Culture” is the current favorite buzzword in HR circles, but culture isn’t created by your company alone. Your employees are essential for creating and maintaining a positive company culture, and as such, HR teams should look to involve your whole team whenever possible. During onboarding, make sure to schedule review time when your new hire can give feedback on your onboarding process and your company as a whole. You’ll gain trust and buy-in from your new employee, and improve your onboarding for future new hires at the same time!

Contributing editor, business coach and co-founder of TrueWinds Consulting Fred Haskett often writes about a wide variety of management issues, including planning, training, recruiting, and sales and marketing. You can reach him at