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Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

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

  • Onboarding is often confused with orientation and given only superficial treatment.
  • Managers play a critical role in onboarding. Onboarding training for managers is critical to ensuring that they understand and are prepared to onboard new hires.
  • Due to the key role that managers play, new hires’ onboarding experience is often inconsistent across the organization.

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  • Get on-demand project support
  • Get advice, coaching, and insight at key project milestones
  • Go through a Guided Implementation to help you get through your project

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Critical Insight

  • Onboarding starts when the candidate accepts the job offer. It should be a continuation of the candidate experience.
  • As with the candidate experience, embed the employee value proposition throughout onboarding to build on new hire enthusiasm and commitment.

Impact and Result

  • Implement an onboarding program that addresses all three critical components – orientation, performance management, and development – over a series of months.
  • Consider the different stakeholders and which groups will be virtual versus onsite to design the best approach to the organization’s onboarding activities.
  • Work with managers on how to create an effective onboarding program to ensure that they are aware of their critical role in the process, ensuring a consistent onboarding experience across the organization.

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan Research & Tools

1. Assess current onboarding efforts

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

2. Design a plan to acclimate new hires

Plot administrative items and company communications.

3. Guide employees through performance management

Modify the new-hire performance management process and standardize to ensure manager compliance.

4. Develop employees for success

Identify remaining organizational and department development opportunities to support individual development.

5. Implement and communicate the new onboarding program

Assign onboarding program responsibilities and develop an action and communication plan before launching the program.

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

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How to complete this course:

Use these videos, along with the Project Blueprint deck above, to gain an understanding of the subject. Start with the Introduction, then move through each of the Course Modules. At the end of each Module, you will be required to complete a short test to demonstrate your understanding. You will complete this course when you have completed all of the course tests.

  • Number of Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

After completing this course, learners will be equipped to successfully drive employee engagement and retention through a comprehensive onboarding plan that acclimates, guides, and develops new hires along their onboarding journey.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Implement an onboarding program or improve their current one.
  • Successfully ensure everyone who should be involved in the process is aware of their involvement, and learners will be provided with tips on how to let others know what they are accountable for.
  • Work with and provide a manual for managers to create an effective and impactful onboarding program, ensuring a consistent onboarding experience across the organization.

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Course Modules

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Introduction: Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

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Module 1

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Module 2

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Module 3

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Module 4

Workshop: Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

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 delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Assess Current Onboarding Process

The Purpose

  • Identify current practices within the onboarding program.
  • Assess the needs of employees and employers.
  • Define the problem and opportunities to address it.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Evaluation of the current program and gaps that need to be addressed.
  • Understanding of the challenges faced by the organization and new employees.




Review insights and findings from data.


Brainstorm current onboarding challenges.


Map current onboarding and identify gaps in the acclimate, guide, and develop stages.


Identify employer and employee needs.

  • Defined employer and employee needs.

Define the purpose statement.


Define goals and metrics for onboarding.

  • Outlined current onboarding process and identified gaps.

Review and prioritize gaps for the acclimate stage.


Brainstorm and update administrative activities and resources.

Module 2: Develop an Onboarding Program

The Purpose

  • Identify key onboarding activities.
  • Ensure onboarding aligns to and supports the employee value proposition (EVP).
  • Create effective and impactful socialization initiatives to best acclimate new hires.
  • Form the new hire performance management process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Onboarding program optimized.
  • Acclimate and guide activities for new hires identified.
  • Clear onboarding guidelines for managers created.




Identify key company information for the acclimate stage.

  • Identified new Acclimate activities.

Brainstorm socialization activities and resources.


Review and prioritize gaps for the guide stage.


Identify new hire performance activities in the guide stage.

  • Defined Guide activities.

Review and prioritize gaps for the development stage.


Identify high-impact development initiatives.


Determine tools and resources need for the development stage.

Module 3: Create an Action and Communication Plan

The Purpose

  • Select relevant development methods for new hires.
  • Prepare for the new onboarding program launch.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Establishment of core development practices for new staff.
  • A plan to implement the revised program throughout the organization developed.




Add new activities into process map with swim lanes.

  • Selected new Develop activities.

Review and update the onboarding map.


Create onboarding checklists.


Create an action plan.

  • Created action plan.
Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan preview picture

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 5-phase advisory process. You'll receive 6 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

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: Design a plan to acclimate new hires
  • Call 1: Discuss methods of organizing administrative tasks, identify key company information, and design activities to socialize new hires.

Guided Implementation 3: Guide employees through performance management
  • 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: Develop employees for 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 program
  • Call 1: Review communication plan and program implementation.
  • Call 2: Follow up on project metrics.


  • 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 L. Scibek, SPHR, VP, Human Resources, Capital Financial Group, Inc.
  • Doris Sims, SPHR, The Succession Consultant, and Author, Creative Onboarding Programs
  • Debra Wooten, Talent Manager, Walton County Tax Collector