New employee onboarding: Steps you can’t afford to miss

4-minute read

Doing a bad job of greeting and integrating new employees is a sure way to turn them off, hurt their productivity and maybe even send them out the door.

Research shows the worker retention rate can be increased by as much as 40% with a solid orientation program. So it’s important to extend a warm welcome and give your new hire everything they need to do their job.

Here are steps to ensure successful employee onboarding.

Pre-Start Day

  1. Make a plan—Together with your team, create a standard orientation plan covering the first few weeks and months on the job. Spread out orientation and integration activities over a few days or weeks instead of bombarding them with meetings and information on the first day.
  2. Assign a mentor—With the help of the employee’s supervisor, pick a mentor or buddy who will chaperone your new hire for the first few weeks or months, answering questions and helping them get integrated. Give the mentor time off from their other tasks, if needed. Also ask other team members to help welcome and settle the employee.
  3. Set up the workspace—Prepare a neat and organized workspace for the employee with all needed equipment or material—for example, a desk, computer, phone, tools, pens, notebook, safety equipment or company attire.
  4. Check in—Contact the employee before his or her first day to see if they have what they need to begin and discuss any concerns.

Day One

  1. Greeting—Make sure the mentor and supervisor are on hand to greet the new worker upon their arrival on day one. The employee should get a tour of the premises, including their workspace, equipment, bathrooms, eating areas, parking spots, etc. Make introductions to your team, especially people they will work with directly, union representatives if applicable and, when possible, the president and senior executives.
  2. Present an orientation package—Give the employee an orientation package that includes a welcome message from the president; the job offer or employment contract; policies and procedures; and company background material, such as your vision, mission statement, marketing material and an overview of your strategic plan. Also provide any needed passwords, ID, business cards, keys, company attire and devices or equipment.
  3. Introductory meeting—The supervisor and/or mentor should go through the orientation material and answer any questions. Review other specifics, such as meeting schedules, production requirements, training, administrative processes and unique aspects of the company culture. Time should also be made for the employee to fill out paperwork, if this hasn’t already been done—for example, employee information forms, tax forms and non-disclosure agreements.
  4. Lunch and informal gathering—The supervisor, mentor and/or other team members should have lunch with the employee for at least the first few days. Also consider holding an informal lunch or after-hours gathering for the employee.

Week One and Beyond

  1. Train and integrate—During the first week and after as needed, the supervisor and mentor should ensure the employee gets any needed training on equipment and processes. Also start integrating the worker into job tasks.
  2. Follow up—Supervisors and mentors should check in with the employee daily for the first week to see how integration is going, answer questions and monitor training and work. A more in-depth meeting with the worker can be held after a week to review integration, ensure a good understanding of responsibilities and business processes, and ask if they’ve experienced any disappointments or surprises. Also, seek feedback on your orientation process and overall operation—the employee may have valuable input. Follow up again after the second week, and after 30 and 60 days.
  3. Review performance—A formal employee meeting may be held after 90 days, which can include a performance review. Be sure to conduct such a review prior to the end of the probationary period, if applicable. Also review the mentor’s and supervisor’s work to hold them accountable.


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