6 Important Onboarding Tips to Build Employee Engagement

Onboarding Tips to Strengthen Employee Engagement

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.


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.

Assigning a Mentor: A hand-picked mentoring relationship is also extremely helpful to your new hire. New employees feel secure knowing that you care enough about their well-being to ensure they have someone to turn to with their questions.

Orientation is a process, not an event. 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 and at a level that your new hire will feel comfortable seeking their assistance and learning the ropes when it comes to communication protocols, policies, procedures and guidelines as quickly as possible.


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 by all the employees in your company. Values inconsistently adhered to are the number one cause of failed business relationships.

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.


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


Pay cheques can turn cold rather quickly where care and concern for an employee’s emotional and professional well-being is overlooked. 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.

Every new employee should have a scheduled plan for learning their job. This 90 day training program should be clearly laid out and documented, and will often form the first of their performance benchmarks.

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

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.

#6 Onboarding Plan  – ENGAGEMENT

Workers are more likely to stay where attention to personal relationships, even at the cost of regular wage increases, is prevalent from the top executive down in a company’s culture.  Asking questions and actively listening to your employees is the foundation of employee engagement.

Understanding whether (or not) your team likes their work and the company as a whole, and from there where they see their career goals fitting in with the goals of the organization, is essential. 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.

More 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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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google