We all know that it’s an employee’s market and candidates are becoming much more picky on where they decide to work. They know what they want and today, they demand more out of an employer than they ever have in the past.

With fewer candidates available in the marketplace, hiring the right ones the first time – and keeping them – is more important than ever. What can your company do to complete a successful onboarding process with its new employees? Keeping these five keys in mind will ensure your employees stay engaged and feel like they are becoming a part of your organization during their onboarding period.


Create a 90-day plan

Regardless of the length of your onboarding process, create a plan that shows a candidate where he or she is today and where he or she is expected to be three months from today. Create a strategy that helps the new employee begin to understand what will be expected of them and how to execute those expectations.

The plan should include ways to help the new employee learn the company’s core values and culture and should have check in points to ensure the employee stays on track. An important component of the 90-day plan is to make sure the new employee meets as many co-workers as possible so they can make connections and  understand each person’s role within the organization.


Schedule one-on-one interviews with key staff members

A key initiative to get to know co-workers on a personal basis, and better understand what each person does is to schedule one-on-one interviews with co-workers. A simple 30-minute block of time will allow a new employee to make personal connections, while getting a basic understanding of each person’s job duties. A bonus benefit that usually arises is while getting to know a person’s job duties, the new employee tends to begin to develop a better understanding of how the organization operates as a whole.

At this stage, the employee is an information sponge. They absorb everything they can. The more interactions with others they can have during this important time period, the better prepared and more grounded they will be when they are out of their onboarding period.


Have regular meetings with direct manager

There is no such thing as too much communication between a new employee and his or her direct manager during the onboarding period. The two should converse daily, allowing the new employee to ask as many questions as possible and provide unique insights about the company from their fresh perspective.

A weekly one-on-one scheduled meeting can cover more formal topics, including review of the 90-day plan and tracking progress toward goals. While not to be mistaken with micromanaging, the manager should be accessible to the new employee and encourage asking questions to avoid impeding progress.


Give assignments that teach

While onboarding time frames can vary from days to months, onboarding is a time where a candidate begins to acclimate with and explore his or her new company. As that person is finding their way through your organization, you also want to get some productivity from this worker. Assign tasks that create learning experiences while producing results.

When I came on board at TTI Success Insights, the goal was to produce two blogs a week. But those blogs needed to tie into our company strategy and serve a meaningful purpose. Most importantly, the blogs needed to get noticed in the outside world.

While writing was something I had a lot of experience with, search engine optimization (having your content found through searches such as Google or Bing) was a fairly new concept to me. I was given assignments to not only write my own blogs, but to review other blogs and study how the composition of the blogs aligned with how the content matter may be searched. This helped me to learn as I produced content.


Set attainable goals

Mindset is vitally important when it comes to whether or not a new employee is going to stay for the long haul. Early on, they may be optimistic about the possibilities this new company possesses, but not yet being entrenched with the company, they keep their options open. Making sure they get some quick, easy wins will help build their confidence and encourage them to progress forward. Set goals, but make the goals relatively easy to attain.

Recognizing the employee for these wins also goes a long way in building the employee’s confidence and giving them a positive standing among his or her co-workers.



Onboarding is not all that different than dating. A person knows in a relatively short period of time whether the person they are dating is a match. The same holds true in the workplace. A worker will get a sense of whether or not the company is a match as they begin to understand the company’s culture, strategy and overall vision. Keeping your new employee engaged and feeling as if they are an important part of the team is vital to ensuring they stay on with your organization and become a long-term, productive member of the staff.