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A thorough onboarding program is an effective way to retain great employees. The times of utilizing a simple orientation process isn’t enough for new or transferred employees anymore! Businesses without an onboarding program are missing out on a crucial piece – and that’s bringing new workers into the company’s culture in a way they feel valued and wanted.

Onboarding programs can increase retention by 25% and improve employee performance by 11%. (Source:

Onboarding does not replace your orientation routine, but it does offer more insight and training to get people up to speed with the rest of your team. And creating one is not as hard as you think! Use these tips to start creating your own onboarding program …

Step 1: Plan Ahead

Your new recruit is excited about working for you! Don’t lose that enthusiasm by not being prepared.

Before they arrive on day one make sure their work area is ready to go. Nobody wants to spend the first day waiting around while their email or voicemail is set up. A lot of momentum can be lost in the first few days – leaving new employees feeling bored and like they’re already failing to contribute. Have everything in place and make sure all necessary equipment and supplies are stocked.

Along with that, select someone ahead of time to assist your new employee on the first day. He or she can help acclimate the new colleague to the company by making introductions, having lunch together, and being available to answer questions.

You’d be surprised at how often a new employee is left sitting at their desk not even knowing where to find the restroom! Current employees aren’t ignoring your new recruit intentionally – they’re just busy. So please pull someone aside and ask them to make sure the new person is properly welcomed into the group.

TIP: Keep it Structured & Easy to Follow

Make sure your onboarding program is structured, well documented, and that everyone is following it. Create a checklist for each manager. You could go a step further and create an onboarding folder or binder to help managers stay on track.

“Employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay with an organization for 3 years.” (Source:

Step 2: Give Reminders & Check-In

New employees are often overwhelmed after the orientation process. That much information at once can be a real overload! During the first week is a critical time to offer reminders of expectations, responsibilities, and goals. These can range from a quick email to a color-coordinated checklist.

Mass introductions are often unavoidable when new colleagues arrive and keeping names straight can be impossible. Another helpful tool would be a company directory (online or hard copy) that includes pictures and job descriptions. It can help people feel like a part of the team faster when they are not worrying about forgetting names.

Keep reviewing your company’s goals and objectives and make sure to point out how your new employee will be helping to achieve those goals. This is a great way to include them, but make sure to keep reviewing those goals! They’ve taken in a lot of information!

Tip: Schedule Meetings to Touch Base

Don’t forget to schedule a quick check-in meeting at the end of the day during the first week, a check-in meeting twice a week after for a while, and then at least once a month while your employee is getting settled in.

Step 3: Think Long Term

Onboarding is not a one-time process. Its function is to be a long-term program aimed at making employees fully embedded in the company culture.

This is where the onboarding process is different than an orientation process – it takes MONTHS if you’re doing it correctly. Your onboarding plan should look at how your new employee is trained, treated, and managed for at LEAST 6 months. Remember, it takes 8-12 months for a new employee to be up to speed and at the same capacity as their peers!

31% of new employees quit within the first 6 months. (Source:

Ongoing training should be conducted in the first three months. Capitalize on that new-employee momentum! Give feedback often and schedule meetings to help them improve performance. This not only helps achieve the company’s goals, but theirs as well.

Don’t Forget About the “Extras”

Know what new employees LOVE? Freebies from their employer – t-shirts, mugs, hats, anything with the company logo on them. Think about giving them a t-shirt or a mug on their first day. This lets your new employee show off their pride for landing a new job AND for working for your company.

Ready to Get Started?

Want to make sure your onboarding program is effective? Since 1998, hundreds of small, mid-size, and large corporations have turned to Westphal Staffing for their staffing solutions. With a combined total of 50 years in human resources, and staffing and recruitment, our team has a breadth of experience to call upon when you need talent solutions. Contact us today!