Talent Retention: How to Deliver Outstanding Employee Onboarding


When new employees show up for you … you need to make sure you’re showing up for THEM in return.

How you both show up in the first days, weeks, and months will ultimately shape the relationship and success of that employee for years to come – if you’ve managed to hold onto them past the first days, weeks, and months, that is.

With The Great Resignation still lingering in the air, one of the most important things businesses can do is to start planning on how to actually RETAIN good employees.

This should start when you begin recruitment and by initiating an incredible, well-thought-out, strategic New Employee Onboarding system (NEO).

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding refers to the comprehensive, systemic process of bringing new employees on board and can last (ideally) for 12 months. A successful onboarding process has clear, well-documented, and deliberate steps that integrate that new employee into their new role over time.

Whether in-person or hybrid, onboarding helps employees to quickly assimilate with company culture, policy, and workflow while integrating into the social connection needed for overall team cohesiveness. Studies show that how employers handle the onboarding experience is absolutely crucial when it comes to long-term retention.

Successful onboarding empowers employees with the information, resources, relationships, and tools they’ll need to feel comfortable, confident, and successful in their new roles.

How to Plan Your Onboarding Strategy

Although systems will look different for every business, there are a few steadfast considerations that should always be made when designing and implementing a successful onboarding process.

1. Define the timeline: 

Carve out a clear onboarding timeline, considering the entire scope of desired outcomes and the new employee’s level of experience when setting realistic goals. As a general rule of thumb, onboarding should carry forward for at least 6 months and, ideally, through the first year.

2. Define the scope: 

What ultimate outcomes do you want to see from this employee over the next year? What tools and resources will they need to be successful in these outcomes? Work backward from the big picture to define the fine details of the information, education, and key team members that will need to play a role in the onboarding.

3. Get organized: 

New employees will need clear deliverables, outlines, documents, resources, and paperwork organized in advance. If your business uses internal apps and programs to communicate and stay organized, set up these profiles and access them in advance so they can jump in.

Demonstrating this level of organization will set an example to new employees that it is a critical part of the operations and will help them to prioritize and organize from the start.

Introduce Key Staff Members: 

New employees need to feel a part of the social network and team. This means introducing them to key team members early on and clearly defining everyone’s roles and responsibilities. Ideally, new employees will be paired with a mentor within the first week who will act as their go-to during onboarding.

This person should be outside of the employee’s reporting circle and should be a long-term employee.

Your Onboarding System Outline

So how should an onboarding system take shape – regardless of the intended outcomes?

StellaPop has put together an outline of what the first days, months, and year should lookin’ like with a successful, engaging onboarding system.

During Recruitment

Onboarding begins during recruitment when potential employees begin to imagine what working in the business might look like. Recruitment should clearly define what your company is looking for and stands for and what role employees will play toward your business’s value, mission, and culture.

The First Day 

The first day of onboarding is the most important, clearly introducing objectives, priorities, company culture, and key team members (and their roles or seniority). Employees who are introduced to the culture and social parameters of the business will feel more comfortable and confident early on.

Set expectations, have a clear schedule, and introduce information in a controlled, intentional way.

The First Month

Check in regularly with new employees over the first month and beyond. While it’s important to help new hires dive in and feel productive, managing workflow it’s critical to their happiness, success, and satisfaction in the role.

By the end of the first month, make sure that new hires have a mentor within the organization and are given the opportunity to share how they are settling in if they have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

The First 6 Months

The first six months are the most critical for a new hire, with nearly 90 percent of employees deciding whether to stay or go within that time frame.

Regularly check in with employees during the first six months providing thoughtful feedback on their progress, contributions, place, and importance of their role. This is a key time to uncover any potential bumps in the road or opportunities for the business to improve.

The First Year 

The end of the first year is pivotal, helping businesses and employees to look at planning for the future and for long-term development.

At this point, traditional onboarding strategies focus on retention, satisfaction, and successive planning. This is a great time to discuss compensation and promotions, helping employees feel stable and secure in their roles.

Let StellaPop help you find your dream team! 


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