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Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

Drive employee engagement and retention with a robust 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. HR must ensure that managers 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.

Our Advice

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.
  • Work with managers to ensure that they are aware of their critical role in onboarding and to ensure a consistent onboarding experience across the organization.

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan

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.


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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: 4
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Design a holistic, impactful onboarding program which moves beyond orientation to acclimate, guide, and develop employees to be successful in the organization.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Synthesize and evaluate onboarding data from multiple sources (onboarding metrics, new hire survey, feedback) to identify areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Acclimate employees to the organization by placing the emphasis not on signing documentation, but on understanding the company’s history and strategy and developing networks within the organization.
  • Design a clear process to guide employees by providing clear role expectations, feedback, and coaching.
  • Create purposeful development programs to cultivate key competencies for new hires and drive success in their new role.

Course Modules

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Module 1

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Module 2

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Module 3

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 onsite 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.




Brainstorm current onboarding challenges.

  • Identified current onboarding challenges.

Map the current onboarding process.

  • Illustrated the current onboarding process.

Confirm employer needs.


Identify employee needs.

  • Defined employer and employee needs.

Define the problem statement.

  • Determined problem statement.

Identify gaps in the onboarding process.

  • Outlined current onboarding process and identified gaps.

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.




Examine EVP alignment with onboarding.

  • Highlighted EVP alignment in the program.

Update administration activities.

  • Recorded administration tasks required.

Identify company information key elements.


Brainstorm socialization activities.

  • Identified new acclimate activities.

Identify new hire performance management guidelines.

  • Defined guide activities.

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.




Review development needs to support new hire success.

  • Appraised development needs.

Identify high-impact development initiatives focused on new hires.

  • Selected new develop activities.

Identify timing and responsibilities.

  • Assigned timing and responsibilities.

Review and customize supporting tools.

  • Customized supporting tools.

Create an action and communication plan to prepare to launch new program.

  • Created action plan.

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?
Try Our Guided Implementations

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