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7 simple steps for onboarding new employees

Quality new employees can leave an organisation within the first few months if an organisation doesn’t have a structured onboarding process. Other new hires may fail to live up to expectations or cause you problems for the same reason.

Like any new relationship, the first few months can be ‘make or break time!

Can you afford to have it go wrong when you’ve just invested so much in hiring them?

Why would your brand new hire decide to leave, or turn out to be useless or, worse still, make things worse than they were before they joined you?

Some reasons are

  • New recruits don’t receive clear guidelines about their responsibilities and the organisation
  • They were given insufficient training
  • Coworkers were not as friendly or helpful as they expected
  • They didn’t feel recognised for their contributions
  • There wasn’t an effective onboarding process

You can reduce your risk of having new staff walking out or causing you trouble with an effective onboarding process.

Onboarding is not something to be left until the day your new recruit starts work.

Get the early steps right or you may find you’re the only one showing up on their first day.

Before you recruit…

1. Onboard employees with a guide to working in your organisation

This is the reference point for all employees. You don’t need to make it too detailed or heavy. What’s most important is to let people know about what you do, why and with whom.

Describe the company culture, including what it takes to be successful in your organisation. This guide will also help you during the recruitment process to articulate why candidates would want to work for you.

2. Be clear about the role

If you don’t know what this job is about, how can you give candidates an accurate picture of what the work entails and the expected outcomes?

This onboarding step is essential for everyone.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing a good recruit will work it out for themselves, bringing their skills and experience to bear. A few stars may do this, but the majority prefer to know what they might be committing to before they start.


During recruitment…

3. Tell the truth

Paint an accurate picture of your organisation, its purpose and values, the role and your expectations. If you’ve completed steps one and two, this will be easy. If not, it’s not too late.

Just make sure you avoid the temptation to ‘talk up’ the job and organisation to attract an outstanding candidate. Down that path lies disappointment for both parties.

4. Choose carefully

Selecting a person for a role who doesn’t fit your culture may work in the short run, but sooner or later you will find yourself recruiting again.

No matter how skilled or experienced the candidate, if their values, attitudes and personality don’t align with those of your organisation, you are sabotaging this important new working relationship before it starts.

Hiring the wrong person is expensive and disruptive.


Once they start…

5. Onboarding requires a warm welcome

Introduce your new hire as early as possible to their coworkers and key stakeholders, including customers. Promote their skills and why you’ve hired them. From the outset, treat them as a valued member of your team.

Listen to what they have to say and show you value their opinions. Ensure you immediately include them in all relevant communication and social events.

6. Get the basics right

Starting a new job can be quite daunting. Make the transition easier for your latest staff member by making sure of the following:

  • Information resources such as policies, procedures, checklists and FAQs are up to date and easy to find
  • All the equipment and software they need is available, accessible and working
  • They know who they can ask if they need help.

7. Plan the onboarding experience and follow it through

Set up a schedule before they start that includes adequate time for goal-setting, work hand-over, training, and reviewing progress and performance.

Include the names of people responsible for each step, and share the schedule with your new employee. This way, you will show you’ve thought of all the steps above and start on a positive note

Most importantly, set aside time to spend with them — not just on their first day but on a regular basis. You might be surprised how much you will learn from them!

There are many reasons employees leave a job, but poor onboarding shouldn’t be one of them. The same applies to poor performance or unacceptable workplace behaviour.

These seven basic onboarding steps are easy to implement and could make a positive difference in your workplace.

For a structured onboarding process aligned to your needs, we recommend using The H Factor. We can show you how it might work to meet your unique requirements.

This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit

About Susan Rochester

Susan is Senior Consultant and Coach at Aster HR. She also co-hosts the Work Wonders podcast with Angela Gauci. With over 20 years experience in consulting and coaching, Susan provides clarity and insights for our clients based on past experience and the latest research.

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