ATD Blog

Beyond Recruiting: Keys to Engaging New Hires

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Companies spend a staggering amount of time and money recruiting, screening, and hiring great people. This isn’t a new trend, or even a particularly surprising one. It’s well understood that good companies make the leap to greatness through engaging the right talent who have a compelling vision. What’s surprising, though, is how many organizations think their job is done once their new “superstar” is sitting at her desk on day one.  

No matter how talented they are, no matter how carefully you’ve checked their references, and no matter how thoroughly you’ve vetted their credentials, the first day is a steep learning curve for a new hire. The key to getting off on the right foot is a structured onboarding process. 

Two Components of Successful Onboarding 

Whether you’re leading your own team or you’re responsible for the results of multiple groups under your supervision, developing a smooth process to help orient and acclimate new people to the organization is critical. So what are the key components to successfully integrating and supporting the great people you hired? It’s actually pretty simple, and comes down to two main ideas: 

  1. Clear Expectations: Most people come into a new job wanting to be successful. But without clear goals and expectations, they might have to guess what’s most important. The very first thing every new employee should get is a clear understanding of what’s expected of them from a performance perspective.
  2. Consistent Feedback. Particularly in the first 90 days, feedback is critical to the success of a new hire. While new relationships are forming between team members and managers, it’s important to schedule time each week to check in and see whether things are still on track. This feedback process is a two-way street – the new hire needs to be able to share their experience and ask questions, and the manager needs to share information and small changes to keep the onboarding process on track. 

Accounting for Culture 


Each organization has a unique culture and a set of unwritten rules and expectations that employees learn over time. For small startups, that culture is typically entrepreneurial and rewards those who take initiative and try new things. However, for a highly process-driven or regulated organization, those same behaviors may be completely unacceptable. The goal of a healthy onboarding process is to minimize the time it takes for new employees to understand and become comfortable with the culture of the team they are on, and the organization as a whole. 

High-performing companies are actively developing and propagating their culture throughout the daily activities of the organization. The key to successfully transitioning a new recruit to a fully engaged member of the team lies in establishing a strong culture in your organization, and helping new hires make the transition into the team as smoothly as possible. 


Bottom Line 

Performance management is all about what happens once you land great talent. It’s about supporting and engaging a smart, skilled, qualified person throughout their tenure—and ideally making that relationship as productive and long lasting as possible. To help new hires transition to, be sure to: 

  • Develop a structured onboarding process is critical to transition new hires into engaged, high performers. 
  • Set clear expectations and consistent feedback are the keys to a smooth transition. 
  • Understand that company culture is unique, and becoming part of the team can be tough. Be clear and consistent about your core values, and make sure they are communicated clearly throughout the organization.
About the Author

Katy Tynan is the bestselling author of practical guides to career transitions, and an internationally recognized expert on how work is evolving. In a world where 70 percent of employees are disengaged, Katy helps organizations ditch out of date management practices and create an inspiring, engaging culture.

Over her 20 year career in IT and operations consulting, Katy has advised hundreds of organizations on how to find innovative solutions leveraging technology and human capital for competitive advantage. Katy has been part of multiple successful startup exits including Winphoria Networks (acquired by Motorola in 2003) and Thrive Networks (acquired by Staples in 2007).

Katy is currently Managing Director of CoreAxis Consulting, a leading talent strategy and elearning and training firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Katy is the author of Survive Your Promotion! The 90 Day Success Plan for New Managers, and her most recent book Free Agent: The Independent Professional's Roadmap to Self-Employment Success.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.