A new hire’s first days, weeks, and months establish the foundation for the rest of the employment relationship. Failure to take the time to acclimate new hires to your company culture, procedures, and expectations can lead to lower productivity and higher turnover. Consider these onboarding guidelines to help new employees get started on the right foot:

#1: Start early.

Once the applicant accepts your job offer and completes any post-offer screening, begin the process of welcoming him or her to your company. Send a letter or email confirming their start date, expressing your excitement that he or she will be joining the team, and letting the employee know that you’re available to answer any questions they may have.

#2: Assign a buddy and/or mentor.

Inform existing employees of the new hire’s start date and explain their role, areas of focus, and relevant work history. Assign a buddy or mentor to help the employee with their transition. Let your new hire know their mentor is available on an ongoing basis and train the mentor to help your new hire understand company policies and practices.

#3: Set expectations.

On the employee’s first day, provide him or her with an agenda for the first week or so. Review job responsibilities, objectives, and expectations and explain how his or her role contributes to the success of the company. Be sure the employee reviews your employee handbook and his or her supervisor sets aside time to discuss key issues, such as work schedules, timekeeping practices, how performance is measured, and dress codes. Obtain the employee’s acknowledgment of the handbook and retain it in his or her personnel file.

#4: Complete new hire paperwork.

Reserve time on the employee’s first day to complete new hire paperwork, including a Form I-9 and federal and state tax withholding forms. Keep in mind that you also need to provide new hires with the ACA Notice of Coverage Options and any required state and local notices. Additionally, have the employee complete a direct deposit authorization (if applicable), emergency contact form, and receipt of company property.

#5: Facilitate introductions and encourage interaction.

Introduce the employee to co-workers and explain everyone’s role in the company. To help foster strong working relationships, encourage new employees to learn about their co-workers by hosting a lunch or providing new employees with an opportunity to shadow more tenured employees. These introductions can go a long way in helping employees feel welcomed.

#6: Address training and development.

Ensure the employee completes required training, such as sexual harassment or safety training, as well as training on your company’s mission, culture, and procedures. Supervisors should also start a dialogue with new hires about their career interests and identify training and career development opportunities that may help them reach their goals.

#7: Check-in and provide feedback.

Regularly check-in with new hires to see how well they’re transitioning into their new role, and if they need any additional training or further clarification on workplace expectations. Supervisors should also provide performance feedback immediately following a behavior they’d like to reinforce or address. Also consider conducting a more comprehensive evaluation at regular intervals (such as every 90 days), especially during their first year on the job. Train supervisors on how to provide effective feedback and coaching.

#8: Evaluate.

Solicit feedback from new hires, and anyone else involved in the onboarding process, about their experience. Use the data to make improvements or adjustments. Since a primary goal of onboarding initiatives is to reduce turnover, make sure to track turnover in relation to the success of your onboarding program.


An effective onboarding process can help new hires feel welcomed and supported, which can lead to increased productivity and commitment.

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