Top tips and tricks on successful onboarding

Onboarding programmes continue their rise up the HR agenda. Done well and there’s much to be gained in terms of higher job satisfaction, better performance levels and lower staff turnover. Done badly, and your new recruits are unlikely to make it past their first few months at your company.


According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a little planning is worth its weight in gold when it comes to successful onboarding. It reached out to the HR community for tips on practices to embrace and pitfalls to avoid. Please read on for a quick synopsis of the resultant insights.


Onboarding winners

– Having new recruits’ desks and IT systems at the ready – complete with welcome signs and/or business cards – instantly creates a good first impression. Being taken out to lunch by their teammates on the first day is the icing on the cake.

– Mentorship programmes, whereby new employees are matched to more longstanding members of the organisation, are a great way of helping new recruits to get up to speed on their role and their company quickly.

– Onboarding checklists, with week-to-week goals for new recruits to achieve, are extremely helpful for both managers and new recruits. The checklists may include scheduled training, team lunches, the opportunity to meet with key players beyond the immediate team, and check-ins with HR.

– Brief presentations of new employees to staff via the company intranet, for example, are on the rise. New hires are asked to send HR a photo and a paragraph introduction (or even a video clip introduction) which are then circulated internally. This enables existing staff to recognise their new colleagues and gives them something to talk about when they meet.

– Some onboarding processes begin with a questionnaire to find out interesting facts about their new recruits, including what their favourite sweet treats are, before their starting date. On their first day, they arrive to find their favoured pastry or cake on their desk, along with a three-day orientation agenda that includes a tour of every department. New hires are given a staff directory with everyone’s picture, email and phone number.


Onboarding losers

– Not having a new recruit’s computer, desk and/or IT systems set up and ready to go is a big no-no. It will instantly create a poor impression.

– Not allocating a team member to take new recruits under their wing for the first few days is a big mistake. It makes it difficult for them to make the personal connections that are so essential to the settling-in process.

– Not having any members of the interviewing team available on a new recruit’s first day is best avoided. If it can’t be helped, make sure another team member has been given responsibility for briefing them and being available for questions for the first week at the very least.

– Spelling a new recruit’s name incorrectly on their business card, email account or internal announcements is a major game-stopper!

– Stamp out bully boss behaviour on an ongoing basis. Be ruthless and consistent on this front or it will be very difficult to keep hold of your new recruits.

– Ensure mentors are properly briefed and have the right attitude. Nothing will send your new recruits running for the door more quickly than an unhelpful, condescending mentor (or line manager for that matter).


We hope that the above tips and tricks are helpful. If you’d like to add your voice to the conversation, please get in touch. We would, as always, value your input and be delighted to hear from you!