June 15, 2021
Training and Development 20 October 2017
How to Implement a Successful Onboarding Plan
Isabella A

The first day of anything is typically a nerve-wracking day for most anyone. It could be that you don’t know anyone, you have no idea what to do and where to start, or it could be a combination of both factors and more. As scary as the first day might be for a new employee, it can be equally scary for the employer! 

Your new hire likely wants to make a good impression, but if they don't know their tasks and don't know who to go to for guidance, they'll probably end up doing things wrong! Not only does a less than smooth transition hurt productivity, but it will also make new employees uncomfortable and put management into a bad position. 

Worst case scenario is the employee may be so unhappy that they quit and leave a bad review about the company. This, in turn, can really harm your talent pool the next time you are recruiting. In addition, the time and money involved in hiring a new employee will be a bigger hassle than if you were to train the original hiree in the first place.

Spending the time and effort to develop your new employee will make the company a more desirable place to work, get them acclimated to the company culture, see better performances, and provide an overall satisfaction in the workforce. A good new-hire onboarding plan can help you attain all those things for your company. 

Here are some tips to implementing a successful onboarding plan:

Plan Ahead

The onboarding process should start before the new hiree even shows up to work. It can be helpful to establish a pre-work training program that will familiarize them with the company and settle into the flow of things. Notify them what documents they need to bring for filling out important onboarding or tax forms so that they can bring them in on their first day.

Be prepared to welcome them by having their logins, schedules, access keys, etc. set up and ready. Ensure that they have a workplace set out for them because no one wants to start a new job with nowhere to sit and do their work. By preparing everything beforehand, you ensure that the transition into your company is easy and stress-free for both sides

On the employee's first day, it can be helpful to walk them through their career pathway. For example, you could show them a welcome video and then lead directly into goals and training that will help them get started familiarizing themselves with the role. 

This is also a good time to determine a good mentor to pair with the new hiree. A mentorship program can help that new employee acclimate to the company culture, learn the tools in how to efficiently complete their work, and better understand the company goals.

In addition, sending out a welcome package will make that employee feel welcomed to the company. Consider throwing in a swag bag with items bearing the company’s logo, some of the best advertising a company can get is from happy employees. No matter what, the welcome package should always include a welcome letter and an employee handbook. Big companies like IBM, FanDuel, and Facebook take their onboarding starter kits very seriously

Ease them into the company

Although you might be a little short-staffed and want to throw the employee onto a project right away, this is something you should definitely avoid. As tempting as it is to start someone out with a big bang, remember that sometimes less is more. 

During the first week, take it easy. Give them a tour of the company and all the perks you have to offer. This is the best time to clarify the company’s vision and culture.  Be sure to set a time aside where they can review and fill out any paperwork necessary.

In the first week, you’ll want to set up a meeting with the new employee and their manager in which they can go over what is expected of them, goals, and succession pathways. Go over the details, even the small ones. What might seem small and habitual to the seasoned veteran might seem exactly the opposite of a new hiree. 

A good timeframe for the onboarding plan ranges from 30-90 days. Although you might feel like this timeframe is a waste of time and unproductive, consider this as an investment. To make money, you have to spend money. Remember, throwing someone headfirst into the company could potentially cost you more time and money in the long run. 

During this time period, good mentorship can be really beneficial. Don’t just stick the employee with one person, getting them familiar with all aspects of the company can be a good thing. The more someone knows and understands the ins and outs of the company, the better their work will be. 


Having a feedback loop is vital to the onboarding process. By providing them continuous feedback, that employee isn’t stuck in limbo not knowing whether they are doing a good or bad job. Setting clear expectations right from the start will help you avoid any mishaps that might happen in the future. 

Of course, remember to voice your concerns in a productive manner! Constructive feedback and positive reinforcement will help them fill the position properly, and it will make your employees feel appreciated and valued. Implementing a program of continuous performance from the very beginning will help you establish a healthy and productive environment for evaluation and feedback.

Besides just giving feedback, make sure to gather feedback from your new employee after they are finished with onboarding. Receiving feedback from new hires on what they think about your company’s onboarding process can give valuable insight on ways to improve and streamline the procedure. This will allow you to tweak your plans to make future onboarding even smoother.


According to a study by SHRM, new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program were 69 percent more likely to remain at a company up to three years. Losing an employee due to their experiences of being confused, feeling alienated, or lack confidence is a sign of poor onboard programming. 

Setting up a good onboarding program is key to producing a satisfied, successful employee with a longer tenure. This is the first thing they will “see” as they are hired on to the company. This sets the tone for how you want the company to look. 

Keep in mind that a solid onboarding plan doesn’t just end after the 90-day cap. A good onboarding program is a great way to set milestones for new employees.  That plan could be implemented with different milestones for the employee to attain. For more information on how to implement these milestones into the company culture, visit our Talking Talent Blog.

Isabella Ang is a content marketing specialist at ProSky, a company that gives you the ability to innovatively evaluate candidates and develop employees through succession pathways, so you can recruit, hire, and retain the best diverse talent & culture fit. When she's not working on her next or ongoing projects for ProSky; she spends her days rock climbing, practicing yoga, completing her degree in Computer Science, and tutoring writing skills.