6 Employee Onboarding Tips Guaranteed to Build Engagement

Employee Onboarding Tips to Improve Retention Speed Up New Hire Productivity

To measure your company’s effectiveness in employee onboarding, let’s start with a few questions you should be asking yourself about an employee in their first six months.

These questions are designed to help you determine whether or not your current onboarding program is working:

Q 1. How long does it take for you to know when a new employee is going to be a long-term productive member of your team?

Q2. How long does it take for a new employee to exhibit the values and competencies that make you feel comfortable enough to have them work with a valued customer?

The importance of a good employee onboarding plan can no longer be ignored in a business world where “job hopping is the new normal for the millenials” (Forbes), and where absences from work are on a steady upward rise (HRReporter).

And if you don’t yet have an onboarding plan in place, here are some sobering statistics from Profiles International that might make you want to reconsider:

• 1/3 of people are job searching within less than six months of employment

• Almost 1/3 of externally-hired executives miss expectations in the first two years

Your 6 Point Onboarding Plan Checklist

The better your onboarding process is the faster your new hires will become productive member s of your team, and the more likely they will stay to become valuable long term business builders.


Regardless of whether or not you have a formal onboarding process, every company should have an Employee Handbook. Beware of too much industry jargon, do’s and don’ts, as this can be a sure fire way to put new hires to sleep, and deter longer term employees from properly using it.

Organizing this in an easy to follow reference format – and published online – will encourage your employees to have a link on their smart phone so they can find important information as needed on the job. This also gives more time for the new hires to focus on training with tasks at hand.


Relevant, interactive and fun should be the top of mind when getting your team involved with welcoming and integrating your new hire. Making your new hire feel they belong is at the very heart of employee onboarding.

Assigning a Mentor:

Orientation is a process, not an event. A hand-picked mentoring relationship is extremely helpful in your employee onboarding. New hires feel much more secure knowing that you care enough about their well-being to ensure they have someone to turn to with their questions.

And because new hires (should) have a ton of questions during their first few weeks and months, having someone on hand who they can feel safe asking even the dumbest questions, will make them feel a true part of your team.

In turn that mentor should be established in the company – not their boss, but someone at a level that your new hire will feel comfortable seeking assistance and learning the ropes about communication protocols, policies, procedures and guidelines.


The speed at which a great new hire becomes a productive team member is in direct proportion to the consistency in which your company’s values are demonstrated in your employee onboarding process, by all the employees in your company.

Values clearly communicated and consistently committed to throughout your organization leave little room for misinterpretation and set the stage for productive, aligned and focused work.


When putting your employee onboarding plan together, remember this: nothing makes someone feel more welcome than when you do things to prepare for them, and to make their arrival feel special. Depending on the role here are some common workplace essentials to have in place, ideally before your new hire is on board:

  • Email account set up
  • For sales and management personnel, a cell phone, gas card and company credit card in place
  • Computer with ready to use software, passwords and networking protocols in place
  • Security badge, keys, access cards

Wait just a minute … did you remember to tell your receptionist, or whoever the first point of contact is, so your new hire can be welcomed the minute they walk in the door on their first day of work?


One of the top causes of turnover, especially with young and upwardly mobile stars, is lack of formal development opportunities. Today’s hires are looking for employers who will invest in them in return for their commitment, drive and loyalty.

Let’s face it. An employee’s pay cheque turns cold pretty quickly when care and concern for their emotional and professional well-being is overlooked. When it comes to new employee onboarding, the sad truth is that many business owners and managers believe in training, as long as it doesn’t take them or their staff away from other more “important” things that need to get done.

Your 90 day training program needs to be clearly laid out and documented to avoid misinterpretation, and will often form the first of their performance benchmarks. Don’t expert your new employees to handle the same workload as your seasoned team does. Gradually building the size and scope of projects, starting out small with short deadlines, should give you an accurate measure of your new hire’s teach-ability and quality of output.

Be sure your training program is timely and relevant to their position and role in the company, and that you encourage employees to take part in after-hours education and workshops.

Onboarding Tip #6 – ENGAGEMENT

New employees are more likely to stay when they see there is attention paid (from the top executive down) to personal relationships, even at the cost of regular wage increases.  During your employee onboarding be sure to let them know that asking questions and actively listening to employees is part and parcel of your company culture, not just something you give lip service to.

Demonstrate that you understand what your team likes (or not) about their work and the company as a whole, and where they see their career goals fitting in with the goals of the organization. Your new hire will be looking for this when talking with your team during break times.

Yet asking these questions can be very tricky, as most employees won’t freely volunteer this sort of information for fear of losing their job or being bypassed for a promotion. Here’s where anonymous survey software is a great resource. A FREE and easy tool for this is SurveyMonkey. You can set up a core of ten questions to assess what some or even all levels of employees think about current workplace problems, concerns, and their wishlist for career development. That will give you meaningful insight and get you and your team off to some very important, and engaging, dialog.

Employee Onboarding Tips to Improve Retention Speed Up New Hire ProductivityMore insightful information for recruiting top employees, and for businesses and individuals looking to improve a career, can be found on Ashton & Associates Recruiters Blog. Subscribe with us to stay in touch.

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Barbara Ashton is the President and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting Inc.

Ashton & Associates Recruiting… Hiring Right. Every Time.

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