Onboarding Success

“Mind the gap” is a well-known phrase for passengers to take caution while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform. When new employees join your team there is a similar situation – new employees have a knowledge gap that must be intentionally addressed in their onboarding with your company.

As passengers mind the gap, managers should mind their onboarding.

In the past couple of years, we have been focused on talent acquisition through a virtual business model in a candidate-driven market. Even before the virtual shift, more than one-third of companies lacked a structured onboarding process, remote or otherwise. Companies are losing top talent because of lackluster onboarding.

Say what?!? The talent acquisition investment you made is walking out the door before they even get acclimated. It is crushing to all parties involved. Starting over is exhausting and costly!

The following five ideas can assist managers in creating a strategic onboarding process that sets new hires up for success.

1. Intentional Engagement Throughout the Journey

Call and welcome them before they start, send a company promo kit, and schedule breakfast, lunch, and social hours. Make sure they are included in company engagement events, like holiday parties. Be intentional in team building and getting them engaged from the start.

2. Introduce the People and the Brand (not just the work)

Sharing brand and marketing materials with new hires is a good starting point, If these materials include how the company started, what drives the team, the vision, the company personality, and guiding principles all the better. Schedule an introduction with the best person to tell your company story. This might be the CEO, founder, a partner, or even your best customer.

Set high-quality structured conversations with team members to share their strengths. Every employee has different strengths, and different work, and life situations. Employees that know each other well, will encourage high performance, efficient workflows, and results and want to stay!

3. Custom Built Onboarding

Great for more experienced hires. Rather than sharing what you think is important, build the onboarding curriculum together. It is likely they have done their homework about the role, and they have a list of areas they are curious to learn more about. Ask the team member to identify the most important things they want to learn about the organization and shape their onboarding around their needs.

4. It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

You want to reap the benefits of having a new team member but remember – don’t sprint to the onboarding finish line. Be intentional with timing and process with check-ins, short-term, long-term, and engagement goals. The average onboarding program lasts 90 days, but according to Gallup’s “Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees” report, it typically takes new employees 12 months to reach their full performance potential.

5. Onboard Internal Hires

You know what they say about people who assume. Don’t be that person. Even if your rockstar is tenured they might need to gather insights on their new role. For example, learning how the new department operates, observing teamwork to look for potential efficiencies, assessing assumptions, and acclimating to their new responsibilities before starting their position.


As the time-worn adage states: start on the right foot! An ill-fated orientation can stifle innovation or cause reluctance about the decision to join your team. The worse outcome, accelerate an employee’s departure before he/she masters their position. We have been placing high-caliber candidates for more than a decade. As a respected professional recruiting firm serving employers nationwide, our successful onboarding process delivers consistent results.

The cost of turnover is high, the Work Institute’s Retention Report found that nearly 40% of the respondents who quit their jobs did so within the first year. We are not combinatorial optimization experts, there are many reasons people might leave a new job quickly, however, we have seen a correlation between strong orientation and onboarding processes increasing spot-on talent retention.