Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

Drive employee engagement and retention with a robust program that acclimates, guides, and develops new hires.


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Your Challenge

  • Onboarding is often confused with orientation and given only superficial treatment.
  • To truly achieve the benefits of onboarding, the program needs to effectively acclimate, guide, and develop new hires over months, not days.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Onboarding that contains effective orientation, performance management, and development has a significant, positive impact on new hire engagement.
  • Onboarding is a continuation of the candidate experience and should begin once the employment paperwork is signed. If you wait until the employee’s first day, you miss the opportunity to build on the excitement generated during sourcing and selection – often stalling the new hire’s enthusiasm and their acclimation.
  • Adult learning principles get top billing in onboarding because they dramatically increase retention in both the short and long term.

Impact and Result

  • Implement an onboarding program that addresses all three critical components – orientation, performance management, and development – as each has a significant, positive relationship with new hire engagement.
  • Positively impact employee engagement and retention through the use of a well-designed onboarding program.


  • George Bradt, Executive Onboarding Expert, Chairman, PrimeGenesis
  • Shara Gamble, Director, Human Resources, TAMKO
  • Chris John, Consultant, HR Client Relations, DTE Energy
  • Shaun McBride, Director of Global HR Services, McCain Foods
  • Melissa Nurse, HR Representative, Black & McDonald Limited
  • Flora Pasini, VP, Human Resources, Altus Group
  • Sharon Scibek, VP, Human Resources, Capital Financial Group
  • Doris Sims, The Succession Consultant, and Author, Creative Onboarding Programs
  • Debra Wooten, Talent Manager, Walton County Tax Collector

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Get to Action

  1. Assess current onboarding efforts

    Understand the organization’s internal data to support the effectiveness of the current program.

  2. Develop an organization-wide orientation plan

    Find clarity surrounding the plan and individual tasks included in the new-hire orientation process.

  3. Standardize the new-hire performance management process

    Modify the new-hire performance management process and update templates.

  4. Plan for new-hire development success

    Modify new hire development process and update templates.

  5. Implement and communicate the new onboarding process

    Complete planning for how to deploy onboarding initiatives and how to measure success.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Assess current onboarding efforts

  • Call #1: Review rationale for doing the project and discuss the effectiveness of the current onboarding program.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Develop an organization-wide orientation plan

  • Call #1: Walk through the various elements of the orientation process.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Standardize new-hire performance management process

  • Call #1: Review the three components of the new-hire performance management process and how to modify them to meet the needs of your organization.

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Plan for new-hire development success

  • Call #1: Review the new-hire development process and how to support managers through each activity.

  • Guided Implementation #5 - Implement and communicate the new onboarding process

  • Call #1: Review communication plan and program implementation.

  • Call #2: Follow up on project metrics.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Assess Current Onboarding Efforts

The Purpose

  • Identify current practices within the onboarding program.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Awareness of the current program and where there are gaps or weaknesses that need to be addressed.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the challenges currently being faced by the organization as a result of current onboarding practices.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Map out current onboarding practices.
  • Current onboarding practices mapped out.
1.2 Review qualitative and quantitative data, and identify gaps.
  • Internal data reviewed to further assess the existing onboarding program.
  • Areas of opportunity within the current program documented.

Module 2: Develop an Orientation Plan

The Purpose

  • Design an effective and engaging orientation plan to kick off the onboarding program.
  • Identify how onboarding supports your employee value proposition.
  • Create effective and impactful socialization initiatives to best acclimate new hires.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Orientation process optimized.
  • Effective socialization initiatives for new hires developed.
  • Clear onboarding guidelines for managers created.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Brainstorm orientation challenges and plan to effectively manage them.
  • Administrative items mapped out.
2.2 Establish accountability for administrative tasks.
  • Accountability established.
2.3 Determine how you will communicate your employee value proposition in orientation.
  • Alignment with why employees chose to work for your organization.
2.4 Design socialization activities to engage your new hires with the organization.
  • New hires socialized.
2.5 Organize activities with key stakeholders to create a memorable welcome.
  • Mandatory and optional orientation activities identified.

Module 3: Standardize New-Hire Performance Management Process

The Purpose

  • Formalization of the new hire performance management process as a key component of onboarding.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Creation of clear onboarding guidelines for managers.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Design goal setting process.
  • Review guidelines and process modified and standardized.
3.2 Design check-in guidelines.
3.3 Design formal review process.
3.4 Customize for specialized employee groups.
3.5 Define compliance process.
  • Process for ensuring manager compliance defined.

Module 4: Plan for New-Hire Development Success

The Purpose

  • Identification of key competencies for new hires. Selection of relevant development methods for new hires.
  • Selection of relevant development methods for new hires.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Establishment and optimization of core development practices for new hires.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Identify key competencies.
  • Key role competencies pulled from your competency framework and job documentation.
4.2 Prioritize competencies for the first year on the job.
  • Development timeline created.
4.3 Select appropriate development methods.
  • Development methods selected.

Module 5: Implement and Communicate the New Onboarding Process

The Purpose

  • Preparation for and execution of the new onboarding program launch.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Implementation of revised program following announcement of the program to both managers and employees.

Activities: Outputs:
5.1 Brainstorm communication plan inclusions.
  • Communication plan developed.
5.2 Customize Manager Feedback Form.
  • Feedback mechanism prepared to evaluate program success.
  • Follow-up initiatives designed.

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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Search Code: 78584
Published: September 22, 2015
Last Revised: February 7, 2017

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