This Will Solve ALL Your Onboarding Problems

Did you recently join a new company and are struggling to fit in?

Are you an employer who is frustrated with spending so much time and money on hiring the right person who although highly suitable initially, does not seem to be working out ?

Are you a human resource professional wanting to support your new recruit and company through successful onboarding strategies?

Onboarding is a crucial organizational socialization program that helps a new employee acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors to successfully integrate into the culture, teams and organization.

Successful onboarding is very important to the recruitment and retention of a new employee. Getting it right is tougher than one might think and getting it wrong can be a huge monetary, time and even reputation cost to the company. The first 90 days will set the foundation for your new recruit so getting the first 90 days right is crucial to your operations, both from the company and the employee perspective.

Now let’s get into what needs to happen in the first 90 days!


Socialization is as integral to the nature of an organization as it is to human nature. After all, it is the people that collectively make up the organization. It is the process that starts from the first phone call to book in an interview. This is the way a candidate is first introduced to the company culture through the way the person at the other end of the line presents themselves and the company. The interview should be viewed as an experience, this will not only leave a lasting impact on the candidate but also enhance brand reputation.

It is important that new employees are socialized with their colleagues. Below are a few ideas to adopt and inspire you to create your own:

  • Lunch with their team on the first day or two

  • Buddy Program where the new employee is teamed up with an experienced employee to provide friendly support in settling in.

  • Frequent check-ins to make sure the new employee is doing well or if they need anything

  • Team building exercises, don’t forget cross functional teams

  • Include the new employee by brainstorming socialization activity ideas together

Welcome Kit:

The welcome kit is a wonderful concept to set the right impression before the employee even starts work. Once the employment offer is accepted and the start date agreed on, send your new employee a welcome package that includes all the information they will need to familiarize themselves with the company as well as some company branded freebies like a shirt, hat, mug, etc. You may include an employee handbook, any forms the employee needs to hand in on the first day, checklists, etc. This ensures the employee comes to work prepared on their first day. It also sets a good impression of the company on the new employee. Bonus tip, elegantly package all items into a company branded box and have it dropped off.

Employee ‘Real Estate’:

The employees desk area, cubicle or office is what I refer to as the Employee Real Estate. Imagine you are staging your home to sell, all the fine details you take care of from making sure the space is clean, tidy, has what it needs and is pleasing to the eye. Similarly, before a new employee joins, ensure that the new employee's space is spotlessly clean, has all the stationery and equipment they will need for their job, maybe even a decoration or two such as an easy to maintain plant. Don’t forget to add some company branded items to the space that would help to build brand loyalty through visual marketing.

Formal Orientation:

A formal orientation is when a new employee is invited to a meeting room where an experienced employee, usually someone from the human resource department, conducts a formal presentation on the company background, culture, values, roles and expectations. You may create a standardized presentation template to a general audience consisting of new employees from different departments.

The formal orientation can take place the day the employee joins however, I recommend doing a formal orientation once a month, provided someone new has joined your company that month. The welcome kit would provide the reading material to introduce the company policies and the informal orientation below will introduce the new employee to the company culture without adding information overload to the new employee thus preventing beginning the first step towards employee burnout.

Informal Orientation:

The new employee is introduced to their department, colleagues and shown around the office. They are given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their workspace and surroundings without being overloaded with tasks and work output expectations. This time and space to support the employee to explore their surroundings, meet with colleagues and socialize is vital before performance measures are put in place or work tasks are given.

Job and Task Orientation:

Once the informal orientation is complete, which could take anywhere from 1 to 3 days and even up to a week depending on the size of the organization, provide the new employee with a job and task orientation. Review the employment contract and confirm role understanding. Review the job description together, one bullet point at a time and for each task, teach what must be done, how it is expected to be done and performance expectations before moving onto the next task in the job description.

Performance and Expectation Management:

Review the performance management system with the new employee. Jointly (Direct Manager and Employee with support from HR) set 3 goals for the next 3 months. The direct manager, HR and department team member need to let the new employee know of expectations. It is difficult for your new employee to meet expectations or exceed them if they do not have a clear idea of what the expectations are in the first place. Have a Q and A round scheduled as there are bound to be some questions.

HR Check Ins:

HR is in an ideal position to conduct a scheduled employee ‘health checks’ to see how well the employee is settling in, any issues they are facing, brainstorming solutions and offering guidance. These 'health checks' are not of a medical nature and remember these are actually illegal in many countries. A representative from the HR department can check in at the end of the first day, first week, first month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year mark.

There is no strict rule in how long onboarding takes, however, follow my 90-day Onboarding Plan to ensure a successful onboarding.

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