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Going Beyond “On-line” Orientation -- Tips for creating an onboarding experience that enhances your culture

Onboarding new employees has become an important topic and significant focus for leaders in today’s workplace environment. Traditionally, managers have focused on recruiting top talent but lost bandwidth when it came to thinking about the critical process of integrating new employees into the company beginning with their day one arrival.

An initial investment in onboarding new employees with buy in from the top down through the entire organization will ensure the return on investment associated with recruiting and training, increase retention and enhance your organization’s culture.

The following are a few reminders for implementing or refreshing a highly successful onboarding plan.

Offer Clarity

Leadership should be prepared to provide direction for the positions that new employees are coming into including areas of responsibilities, team dynamics and culture, as well as offering opportunities for them to contribute in a meaningful way as quickly as possible.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Create a welcoming and effective work environment for new employees from the moment they arrive. This sends an important message about the organizations’ commitment and makes the employee feel like an essential part of the team.

o   Are they greeted by a manager and introduced to team members, leadership and other new employees?

o   Is their workspace and computer set-up?

o   Are they immediately able to login to internal systems?

o   Are they scheduled for baseline training, with opportunity for team discussion, after initial orientation?

Set Milestones

Managers should set time aside time with new employees to discuss 30-60-90-day milestones for success and answer any questions about the first few days or weeks on the job. This will help ensure that employees understand if they are making sufficient progress in a timely manner and will minimize surprises or conflicts. 

Share your Roadmap

Offering employees a roadmap for learning and growth opportunities within your organization is an important step in the development process. Sharing key pieces of information about the company can help employees see what role they can play in contributing to the organizations’ success.

o   Where is the organization heading?

o   What is the overall mission and strategy for growth?

o   How is success defined?

Define Roles & Rules

Clearly define the important roles and rules of the organization early in the onboarding process. This helps set expectations and clear guidance on relationships, social norms, boundaries and opportunities for connections that are essential to building a sense of belonging. Empower the employee through a discussion of role clarifications to provide guidance regarding decision making and boundary management.

Use the Buddy System

Partner new employees with co-workers or buddies to build rapport and enhance communication and collaboration. Establish this as an informal coaching relationship throughout the first several weeks of the employee’s tenure with the organization and consider carving out a portion of a work product for the new employee to take ownership of thereby underscoring the feeling of adding value from the start.