3 Tips For Successful New Employee Onboarding

Frontloading Your New Employee Onboarding: How To Improve A New Hire’s Time To Productivity

Onboarding has been a buzzword since the 1990s. Before companies really understood how to take advantage of good onboarding, they referred to this process as “orientation,” which was otherwise known as a daylong mishmash of half-hearted introductions followed by dry lectures about policies and procedures.

eBook Release: eBook: Final Boarding Call For Onboarding
eBook Release
eBook: Final Boarding Call For Onboarding
Check how to prepare new team members to work toward the potential for which you hired them.

Over the years, HR experts have helped transform this process into onboarding, a lengthier, more holistic process of integrating the new employee into the culture and values of the company while training them for performance, setting expectations, and measuring outcomes.

Getting Up To Speed: More Than Orientation

No one is able to perform and contribute at top capacity their first day in a new position. In fact, the first few weeks a new hire spends in the workplace are a critical time period that can help predict future engagement and retention.

The stakes are even higher when you consider the costs associated with recruiting, training, and integration. The longer it takes for an employee to adjust and start producing, the more those costs pile up. But without effective onboarding in the first place, employees are less likely able to perform well in the long run.[1][2]

It’s widely suggested that a new employee needs at least 90 days before he or she is fully integrated into the workplace—fully onboard. However, this isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule. While check-ins and feedback-based reviews should continue long after the initial onboarding, involving the right resources can help your new employees start contributing faster. New hires are an investment; a solid onboarding program helps that investment start showing returns.[3]

How can you boost your own initial onboarding program for better results? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Step Away From Sink Or Swim

It may be tempting to cut corners with onboarding through an informal system—one where new hires are given an orientation and then dive headfirst into a challenging work environment. However, this can be a problem for both the employee and the company at large. Some risks of this approach could include:

  • Increased stress and decreased satisfaction in new hires
  • A longer period of time necessary to build confidence and competency
  • Higher turnover rates (and, therefore, a waste of resources and effort spent recruiting)

Creating a formal, structured onboarding program instead of giving a sink-or-swim ultimatum reduces these risks and is usually more effective overall. In fact, most “best in class” onboarding programs are highly formalized and taken very seriously. Not only do these types of programs lead to more employee engagement, they can also help boost productivity.

2. Keep Company Culture At The Forefront

The social aspect of adjusting to a new position is more important than you might think. For an employee to reach their performance potential, they need to feel confident in their position as part of the team. By focusing on the company’s culture from day one, new hires can develop an understanding of how they fit in with the bigger picture.

Another important role that an introduction to company culture can play is by setting realistic expectations. New employees need to understand who and what they will need to know in order to be successful. For example, L’Oreal created a comprehensive onboarding system that helps new team members adapt to its “culture of confrontation.” The result? Employee turnover was slashed by more than half.[4]

The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared to play their part, the faster they will be able to make a meaningful contribution. Understanding company culture helps them understand how they fit within their team’s mission.[5]

3. Incorporate Mentorship Into The Process

Good leadership can make or break an onboarding system. There should be more of the company involved in the process than the HR department. The more members of management that take part, the easier it will be for the employee to get integrated.[6]

Even better—assign a peer mentor to the new hire to show him or her the ropes. This person can be the go-to for any questions that need to be answered, and a resource for solving problems on the job. This may cut down on the mentor’s productivity until the trainee is up to speed, but it provides an opportunity to flex their leadership and problem-solving skills.

Most importantly, this kind of connection is incredibly valuable as mentoring aids in helping new employees perform at a higher level.

If you want to learn more about how to develop a successful onboarding program for your new hires, download the eBook Final Boarding Call For Onboarding.

Additional Resources:

  • Onboarding outcomes from research of 400 companies with strategies to meet new hire expectations. (Human Capital Institute, 2016)
  • A closer look at the challenges inherent in bringing on leaders and steps to successfully integrate them into their role within the first few critical months. (Mark Byford, 2017)
  • Research reveals that encouraging employees to apply their personal strengths to their new jobs yields more engagement, productivity, and retention. (Daniel M. Cable, 2013)

Related articles:

1. A Fresh Look At New Employee Onboarding Programs

2. Best Practices For Successful New Employee Onboarding Outcomes

3. eBook: Final Boarding Call For Onboarding


  1. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (2016, March 14). NACE.
  2. Mueller, A. (2011, July 11). Investopedia. Retrieved from Investopedia: The Cost Of Hiring A New Employee
  3. The First 90 Days Are “Make Or Break”. (n.d.). Retrieved from G&A Partners: The First 90 Days Are “Make Or Break”
  4. Bringing new hires on-board: How L’Oreal changed its approach. (2014, October 9).
  5. Quick Base. (2014, October 17). The Fast Track. Retrieved from www.quickbase.com: Onboarding – Making New Employees More Effective Faster
  6. Leach, B. (2017, January 18). Employee Onboarding Best Practices to Reach You A-Game Faster.
eBook Release: AllenComm
The experts at AllenComm solve business problems with beautiful custom learning solutions. We bring creativity into instructional design. We change behaviors and influence choices. We build better training.