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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Onboarding Tips for Managers

By Lisa Mullen, Global HR Operations Manager, Saba Software

Remember the days when recruiting and onboarding employees were labelled an “HR thing”? In a way, they still are, but in a much different and more powerful way. As the world of work continues to change, employers need to do more to help people be great at what they do. This means looking at the many different ways organizations have the power to create a great work experience for its people.
Bersin by Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report explains the need to improve the complete work experience for employees by bringing together the various HR, management, and workplace practices that impact people. According to the report: “A productive, positive employee experience has emerged as the new contract between employer and employee. Just as marketing and product teams have moved beyond customer satisfaction to look at total customer experience, so is HR refocusing its efforts on building programs, strategies, and teams that understand and continuously improve the entire employee experience.”
Looking at a complete picture of the employee experience means considering all factors that contribute to employee engagement, contribution, and well-being. After all, every organization wants the best for its people. And this effort starts with the recruiting process and works its way through onboarding—something that many organizations still struggle with today.
Statistics from industry analysts like Aberdeen Group show that companies with little to no onboarding processes are less likely to retain employees, and only 32 percent of companies say that they have a formal process in place at all. In addition, a recent Glassdoor for Employers report shows that Clearly, it is better in the long-term to have a formal onboarding program in place.

Creating a meaningful work experience requires a delicate balance between the technology and analytics tools we have at our disposal and the personal connection that’s critical to talent management. Consider the role of a manager or team leader: They end up having the most one-on-one interaction with new hires, so their approach during the onboarding phase can greatly contribute to a more positive, complete work experience.
So, what can individual managers do to better onboard their new hires? Here is a checklist of simple things managers can do that go a long in way in providing new hires with a great onboarding experience:
1-2 Weeks Prior to Start Date:

  • Call or send an email to your new hire sharing your excitement that they are joining your team.

  • Get the paperwork process started with HR so all forms are completed prior to the employee’s first day.

  • Ensure the new hire’s computer, email and phone are set up, and that his or her desk has all the supplies they’ll need. Decorating the white board with welcome messages from the team adds a nice personal touch.

  • Ease first-day jitters by making sure the new hire has all the information they’ll need to know for the first day (e.g. schedule, parking details, security access, etc.)

  • Add new hires to any newsletters or distribution lists ahead of time so that there are a few items in their inbox that they can review upon starting.

First Day:

  • Send an introductory email to the team that provides background on the new hire. Include not only the employee’s experience, but fun facts that show his or her personality.

  • Give the new hire a tour of the office, making informal introductions as you go. If your new hire is in a different office, it’s important for you to arrange to physically be there to greet them on their first day.

  • Have lunch with your new hire and make sure they have a co-worker to eat lunch with each day of the first week in order to help build relationships.

  • Deliver some branded company swag to the new employee or have it waiting in the office for when they arrive.
  • Throughout the first week, schedule introductory meetings between the new hire and the colleagues with whom they will be working with frequently.

  • Show your new hire how to use the company’s social and collaboration tools for connecting with colleagues and finding quick answers to questions, in addition to following the company’s social media channels.

First Week: 

  • Give your new team member an opportunity to communicate their value early on. Ask about what will help them feel good about their work and talk about previous accomplishments and how they can find the same level of success or higher in their new role.

  • Discuss short and long-term performance goals, starting the new hire off with some “quick-win” small projects. Additionally, discuss your new employee’s career goals, assigning opportunities that are aligned with both organizational objectives and his or her targeted career path.

  • Plan 15-30-minute debriefing meetings at the end of each day for the first two weeks so that you can answer any questions that the new hire might have.

  • Assign a mentor who can provide advice to the new hire for the first 30, 60, or 90 days.

First 90 Days:
  • Ensure onboarding is integrated closely with learning and personal growth by connecting with the HR department to develop training and development programs to track the new hire’s progress.

  • Check in with the new hire frequently, with more formal sit-downs at 30, 60, and 90 days, to ensure they are feeling comfortable and confident that they can accomplish what they have set out to do.

    Regular one-on-one meetings are important for all employees, but increasing the frequency during the new hire’s first 90 days can go a long way building a stronger relationship.

  • Ask your new hire how his or her role compares to what they had expected and what was described throughout the interview process.

When recruiting and onboarding are part of a broader talent management strategy that support business objectives, companies can design and implement an effective onboarding program that engages new employees and sets them up for success early and often. The goal is to bring people on board and help them achieve success quickly. While we are all busy with our day-to-day work, taking the time to provide a great onboarding experience will help you understand what employees need bring their best effort to work on a consistent basis. The only way to do that is by getting off to a good start by introducing your performance management strategy up front and having regular conversations about learning and development and performance.

Lisa Mullen is the Global HR Operations Manager at Saba Software. She has over 15 years’ experience working in HR across various industries and specializes in employee relations, training and development, and recruitment.


  1. informative post! I really like and appreciate your work, thank you for sharing such a useful facts and information about informal employee relations process, keep updating the blog, hear i prefer some more information about jobs for your career hr jobs in hyderabad .

  2. On-boarding is a very important theme for me... Thanks!