Talent Acquisition

9 Effective New Hire Onboarding Strategies

  • January 25, 2024
  • Keisha Drechsler
  • Approx. Read Time: 9 Minutes
  • Updated on January 25, 2024
9 Strategies for Effective New Hire Onboarding

New hire onboarding is critical to helping your new employees integrate into the company. To make the most of this transition period for your new hires, it’s important to have a strategy in place. 

This guide provides effective tips to help you develop an ideal onboarding strategy for your organization. It covers the following topics: 

    • Onboarding is the process of guiding a new hire's transition from a candidate to a fully productive employee. 
    • Developing strong and effective onboarding strategies has the power to improve retention, enhance candidate engagement, and boost productivity. 
    • The onboarding process should start well before the employee's first day on the new job. It’s important to connect with new hires as soon as the candidate accepts the job offer. 
    • The primary goal of the onboarding process is to integrate new hires into your company and its culture to help them feel like part of the team. 
    • A powerful employee onboarding program should go hand-in-hand with a comprehensive hiring process that includes tactics such as structured interviews, instant background checks, and pre-hire assessments. 

Employees who have a great work experience during the first 90 days on the job are 10 times more likely to stay with the company. Despite this, more than 60% of organizations don’t have an onboarding strategy in place. 

At a time when many organizations are struggling with the ongoing labor shortage and growing skills gap, taking steps to improve employee retention is paramount. 



Key Takeaways 

Here’s what you need to build effective onboarding strategies: 

        • Making your company culture a key component of the employee onboarding process can help a new employee quickly integrate into the company and the role. 

        • New hire training is critical to helping new employees better understand their role and expectations of the job. 

        • A strong onboarding process starts before the new employee’s first day. Pre-boarding allows your company to start the engagement process as soon as the candidate accepts the job offer. 

        • Using a mentorship program can help new employees feel a sense of belonging and allow them to meet and interact with co-workers faster. 

        • Creating a resource hub for new employees allows them to quickly find the information they need without trying to figure out whom to ask. 



Table of Contents 

  1. What Is an Onboarding Strategy? 
  2. The Importance of an Effective Onboarding Strategy 
  3. 9 New Hire Onboarding Strategies 
  4. Streamline the Hiring Process 
  5. FAQs 

What Is an Onboarding Strategy? 

Organizations use onboarding strategies to help new hires transition into the workplace, including integrating into the company, culture, and their role. The goal is to create a seamless and positive process for new employees. 

While new hire onboarding includes basic steps, such as reading company policies, signing paperwork, and taking a tour of the location, it involves so much more. When done right, onboarding can help new hires better understand their roles and responsibilities and make them feel part of the team.


The Importance of an Effective Onboarding Strategy 


Whether you realize it or not, you likely already have some type of onboarding strategy in place. 

For some organizations, onboarding consists solely of having the new hire complete the required paperwork. However, this limited effort doesn’t help to enhance the new hire’s experience or prepare them for their role. 

On the other hand, when you have a comprehensive onboarding process in place, it can provide several benefits, including: 

    • Enhance new hire engagement: With average employee engagement rates hovering around 30%, employers can’t miss the opportunity to use the onboarding process to boost engagement with these new workers even before their first day on the job. 
    • Create a positive onboarding experience: A strong onboarding strategy can provide a better candidate experience and help your organization strengthen its employer brand. 
    • Boost productivity: Onboarding can help integrate your new employee faster, resulting in increased productivity rates. 
    • Increase retention: When you build an onboarding strategy that improves engagement and the candidate experience, you can see a significant increase in employee satisfaction and new hire retention rates. 


9 New Hire Onboarding Strategies 


While this is not an exhaustive list of ideas, below are the top nine tips for building an effective onboarding process at your organization.


Effective Onboarding


1. Use preboarding

If you’re waiting until your new hire’s first day on the job to make a connection, you’re wasting invaluable time. An effective onboarding approach should begin when the candidate accepts the job offer. 

Any job offer acceptance should be immediately followed by a welcome email to the new hire. This letter can include critical next-step information and begin the engagement process. 

For instance, you can provide a checklist of all essential forms that must be reviewed and completed before they start. You can also include a list of important documents the employee should bring on their first day, such as official identification, Social Security number, and banking information. 

Making this connection as early as possible can help make a positive first impression and enhance the candidate experience. It can also help alleviate some first-day anxiety your new employee may feel. 


2. Have set outcomes and goals for the new hire


The last thing you want to do is spend time and money acquiring the right talent and then fail to set clear goals and expectations. Never assume that your new employee understands what’s expected of them or what the company’s goals and vision are. 

Instead, use the employee onboarding process to ensure your employees understand job-specific goals and company-wide objectives. Set clear goals and objectives for each new hire so they know exactly what’s expected of them. 

In addition to setting goals, it's important to explain what tools the company uses to measure outcomes. For example: 

        • Do you conduct new hire reviews at 30, 60, or 90 days? 
        • Do you have set sales quotas that must be met quarterly? 
        • Do you have individual, shift, or company-wide production goals? 


Recommended Reading: What You Need to Know About High Volume Hiring


3. Develop an orientation program


New hire orientation is a big part of employee onboarding. This stage involves introducing new hires to your company, culture, and specific roles. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of orientation for new hires. While a simple welcome letter or tour of the company is a good first step, it’s not enough to integrate your new employee to the company culture. 

Instead, orientation should be a well-thought-out program that introduces the new hire to the company and makes them feel like part of the team. This could include: 

        • Face-to-face meetings with company leadership 
        • Job shadowing opportunities 
        • Welcome videos introducing key players, such as the CEO or board president 
        • Time to read company policies and procedures 
        • New hire training program 


4. Create a mentorship system


A mentorship program can be a powerful tool that helps new hires integrate into your company and roles faster. It works by partnering each new hire with a seasoned employee. 

This is not the same thing as an apprenticeship, where the mentor may not necessarily provide training. Instead, the mentor's role is to help answer questions about company policies and procedures or let the new hire know who to ask to get the right answer. 

The mentor can also introduce the new hire to coworkers and explain the hierarchy structure in the company. When implemented and managed properly, mentorships can improve the new hire experience, speed up time to productivity, and boost overall retention rates. 


5. Maintain a resource hub for new hires

In many cases, new hires must retain large amounts of information in a relatively short period. It doesn’t take long for the onslaught of information to become overwhelming. 

You can keep your new hires from becoming frustrated while saving your HR team from repeatedly answering the same questions by creating a resource hub. Whether searching for information about health benefits, vacation pay, or paid time off, having a resource center that contains all relevant information can keep your new employee connected. 


6. Have a timeline for the onboarding process

Creating an effective onboarding process means having a plan in place from start to finish. This means that you should plan every stage of the onboarding process. 

For example, your preboarding stage should start from the instant the candidate accepts a job offer until their first day on the job. This could be 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months, depending on your company's requirements. 

On the other hand, the orientation period could last just a few days or for several months. It’s important to understand the needs of your company and to develop an onboarding timeline that ensures all these needs can be met within that time frame. 


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


7. Design learning exercises


New hire training is one of the most important components of the employee onboarding process. Each new hire must complete all training modules before being left on their own. 

When determining what learning exercises to use with your new hires, think about what’s most important to your company and what skills are needed to be successful on the job. 

For example, if you operate a manufacturing plant, safety training is paramount. However, if you manage an accounting firm, ethics and procedural training may be most important. 


8. Give them a clear overview of their responsibilities


If you’ve given your new hire a copy of their job description, does this description truly describe their exact duties and responsibilities? 

Take the time to review your job descriptions. Interview current workers and supervisors to better understand exactly what the job role requires. 

Additionally, make the most of your exit interviews by asking exiting employees what they wish they knew about the position before accepting the job. This combined information can help you update your job descriptions to ensure they provide clear and accurate information. 


Recommended Reading: Employee Offboarding Checklist for Easy Exits


9. Incorporate company culture into the process

When creating your onboarding strategies, it’s crucial to incorporate your company culture. In fact, your company culture should remain consistent and relevant throughout the entire onboarding process. 

For instance, if your company culture focuses on collaboration and teamwork, it’s important to feature this concept throughout the onboarding process. By keeping all aspects of your company culture consistent, you can work toward building trust with the new hire. 


Other Ways to Streamline the Hiring Process 


While a strong onboarding approach is an invaluable component of the hiring process, there are other key strategies, such as: 

    • Consistent communication: Be sure to create a strong communication plan during the onboarding process. This step can help new hires know what to expect at each stage of the process. 
    • Timely background checks: Conducting prompt and accurate background checks is a key component of the hiring process. It can ensure you’re hiring employees that match company standards and policies. 
    • Innovative HR technology: Innovative HR technology can help streamline the hiring and onboarding process to provide a seamless transition for new hires. 
    • Coordinated offboarding strategy: Creating an offboarding process for exiting employees is just as important as having a formal onboarding program. When developing an onboarding strategy, be sure to also create a coordinated offboarding strategy. 


Recommended Reading: Your Go-To Guide for Employee Offboarding Success 


The Right Partner


A comprehensive onboarding strategy is a critical part of the overall hiring process. Helping your applicants make the transition from candidate to new hire can improve the employee experience and retention rates. 

To help with this process, Cisive can provide effective resources and services to make hiring the right candidates easier. Speak to one of our Cisive experts today. 


Onboarding Strategy FAQs 


Q: How long is the onboarding process? 


A: The onboarding process can last just a few days, several months, or for the new hire’s first year. The important thing is to create a comprehensive onboarding process that can fully integrate your new hire into the company culture and role. 


Q: What are the three key components of the onboarding process? 


A: The three primary components of the onboarding process include: 

        • Communication: Effective onboarding strategies always include a strong communication plan so new hires know exactly where to find the information they need. 
        • Connection: One of the main purposes of a strong onboarding process is to help new hires feel connected with the company, supervisors, and coworkers. 
        • Culture: Your company culture should be accurate and consistent during each stage of the onboarding process. 


Q: What’s the most important step in the onboarding process? 


A: The most important step of the onboarding process is new hire training. It’s critical that your new employees know exactly what’s expected of them and how to handle all tasks before being left alone on the job. 


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


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