Little kid holding up a first day of school sign

Are you onboarding employees effectively?

First impressions aren’t just for the jobseekers and new employees. Traditionally, employers hold all the power, with employees eager to please so that there’s no risk they’ll be let go. However, in recent times, this power has balanced out, sometimes even tipping in the employees favour. Organisations now need to do everything they can to attract great workers and stop them from going elsewhere.

When I career coach, I of course advise jobseekers to put their best foot forward in those first weeks and months of a new role but, in the same way, organisations also need to be thinking beyond those initial interactions – such as the interview process – to onboard new employees effectively in order to increase new hire retention.

According to a survey conducted by BambooHR, 31% of people have left a job within the first six months, with 68% of those choosing to leave within three months. It’s clear that employees make up their minds about their new role quickly, and will choose to leave if they feel it’s not the right fit for them, whatever their reasoning.

First impressions start before the first day

Pre-employment impressions matter and there are two things you can do before your new hire even steps foot into the building to begin their new role.

  1. Communicate expectations clearly – sending through an email with key information is important for new hires to understand what’s expected of them, when they start and what they can expect on their first day. Leaving new hires in the dark can put them on the back foot from the get-go, which can leave them feeling unsupported.
  2. Prepare the physical workspace – there is nothing more frustrating for new employees than getting to the office and discovering they can’t get started straight away because their IT isn’t set up yet or some other practicality isn’t taken care of. Before they come for their first day, managers can help employees’ transition by setting their desk up with a computer, passwords, business cards etc. It’s a nice touch to even do research beforehand to find out their coffee order and have it ready for them. They’re small practicalities but they help new employees feel comfortable, welcomed and supported.

7 ways to support your employees onboarding

Shared values – ensure your new employee understands the organisation’s values, with examples of what these values look like in action. They can better emulate these behaviours when they understand them fully.

Structure – be clear as to reporting lines and be sure to introduce new hires to go-to people for information and influence.

Style – make it easy for employees to be comfortable and express their own personal brand within the culture of the organisation.

Skills – give employees opportunities to put their skills into action and learn new ones alongside their team.

Strategy – set up 1 to 2 winning projects to energise those around your new employee to help them build trust, credibility and value.

Staff – set out the expectations of the role and clearly explain the context of the position so that new hires understand how they fit into the team and can see how they are useful to the organisation.

Systems – naturally, employees will get to know systems and processes as they go, but this doesn’t mean you should leave them in the deep end to fend for themselves. Provide information about the systems used and processes followed throughout the organisation so that employees can contribute effectively.

Successful onboarding is proven to improve the ‘stickiness’ of employees. New hires are likely to stay beyond that first week, first three months, first six months when they’ve been supported through the onboarding process. A poor onboarding process will see you tackling the offboarding process sooner rather than later.

Often, managers have been around the organisation for a little while so it can be hard to know exactly what a new employee will need to know to find their feet and feel comfortable in their role. Following the 7 points above and being thorough in communicating clearly, will mean that managers can present their organisation as one that cares and supports, giving the best impression to new hires and allowing these employees to love their job, staying on board for longer.

Do you need help with onboarding your employees?

We offer online onboarding programs that can help your new employees navigate those first few days, weeks and months making it more likely they’ll love their job and stay onboard past their probation period.


Check out our onboarding programs or book in for a free consultation to see how we can help.

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