5 Tips to Creating Onboarding Programs

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Engaging and retaining talent is an ongoing issue for managers. Without thoughtful, carefully planned onboarding processes for new employees, your organization risks decreased productivity, increased turnover, and lost revenue. 


Do you want to create a new onboarding program or invigorate an existing one? There are numerous ways to go about it, but to begin, consider these five steps to create or refine your approach: 

  1. Have a plan. By interviewing current employees and getting suggestions about their best and worst experiences when beginning employment (not just with your company), you can create a road map. Identify what as worked to increase employee engagement, and what could be improved.
  2. Start before they do. There are many simple, genuine ways to express your company’s appreciation for new hires even before they begin. Create press releases, blog about the talent they are bringing your organization, and publicize how your organization will benefit from their expertise. Send letters or cards from executives and teammates welcoming their arrival. Make them feel welcomed and appreciated from the very beginning.
  3. Set the tone. You may need to work with existing employees and managers to help them understand the purpose and importance of creating or reinvigorating a program for new employees. Without their involvement, your efforts won’t have the long-term traction and buy-in needed to succeed.
  4. Consider day one. How will your new hire enter their environment on day one? It’s critical to have a plan in place that demonstrates thoughtful consideration and a welcoming tone. Too often new employees spend countless hours in HR filling out paperwork. Then they are shuffled off to train with others who do the jobs they were hired for. There are many ways to improve this process.
  5. Follow up. Ideally, you will have a plan for the first 90 days (and beyond) for this new employee. Check in frequently, whether through lunch meetings or other informal means, to gauge their engagement, evaluate your program’s effectiveness, and get any initiatives back on track, if needed. New hires will appreciate your interest and attention to their success. 

For more information, join me in the Essentials of New Employee Onboarding workshop offered through ATD.

About the Author

As owner of Talent Seed Consulting, Stacy leverages 20 years of experience in identifying opportunities and implementing learning solutions for associates at all organizational levels. She has developed and delivered blended learning approaches, led learning and development teams, implemented learning technology initiatives, and designed and managed leadership and succession planning programs. She is a past president of the Midlands Chapter of ATD, and has written articles and publications for ATD and Learning Solutions magazine, and contributed content for Huffington Post, Fast Company, Forbes, US News & World Report, Mashable, and Chief Learning Officer magazine, among others. You can connect with her through LinkedIn:

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