September 19, 2019 | 5 min read
The Key To Retention? A Thorough Employee Onboarding Strategy


Congratulations! After a thorough hiring process, you’ve finally made a job offer to your top candidate and they’ve accepted it! While you should feel accomplished to have reached this critical point in the process, it’s time to turn your attention to the next phase of the employee lifecycle: employee onboarding.

Unbeknownst to many employers, onboarding is critical to retention. Since first impressions often become lasting ones, one bad experience during this stage can lead a driven new hire to quickly become bitter. This first impression matters so much because, according to SHRM, nearly 90 percent of employees will make the decision to stay at a company within the first six months of working there. So, instead of limiting your employee onboarding process to a week, you should actually commit to this for at least six months to a year.

In order to provide an employee onboarding process that establishes a strong relationship between you and your employees, here’s what you should do:

During Days 1-7

Have a schedule

Like many professionals starting in a new role, your new employee may be nervous during their first few days. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure they feel more comfortable as the week goes on. One way to do this is by providing them with a schedule outlining their week. This will give your new employee an understanding of what to expect, which will allow them to relax about what lies ahead.

Make team introductions

A critical part of the initial employee onboarding process is introducing your new employee to your team. You may have already done this during the interview process, but you’ll want to ensure everyone is reacquainted and familiar with one another before your new employee dives into their responsibilities. As a way to build team familiarity and camaraderie early on, be sure to schedule a team lunch during that first day as well!

Outline expectations + goals

Even though a week of onboarding may be the norm for most companies, you should think of employee onboarding as a year-long process. On an employee’s first day, take some time to outline what your expectations and goals for them will be during the first year. By giving them insight on your expectations and when they should be hitting key milestones, they’ll feel less overwhelmed as they begin to acclimate to their new role.

Assign a peer coach

Many of today’s professionals are looking for someone they can turn to for advice and guidance. In order to address this desire, assign your new employee with a peer coach during their first week. By providing them with someone they can turn to for questions, you’ll help them feel supported and valued within your company.

During The First Year

Have them make early contributions

As an employer, you want to ensure that your new employee doesn’t feel overwhelmed once they begin their new role. However, you also want them to feel like an integral member of the team in order to build their confidence early on. So how do you achieve this balance? Throughout their first year, assign them to small, but meaningful, tasks on particular projects. Having them contribute early on will show that you value their skills while also giving them an opportunity to build relationships within your team.

Schedule regular check-ins

During the first year, you’ll want to keep regular tabs on how your new employee is doing in the role. To get started, schedule regular check-ins to keep track of how they’re progressing. By doing so, you’ll be communicating to your new employee that you’re invested in their development and progression in the role.

Listen and address their needs

To ensure your new hire remains with the company beyond employee onboarding, make the effort to listen to and address their needs. No matter their skill level and capability to do the job well, your new hire will need help with certain challenges that arise. As an employer, it’s up to you to provide the guidance they need to overcome these obstacles. If you’re attentive to their needs, you’ll be able to build a stronger bond between yourself and your new employee!

Encourage team building

Similar to scheduling regular check-ins with your new employee, you’ll also want to schedule team-building activities during the first year. Whether that’s team happy hours or lunches within the office, ensuring your new employee integrates well with the team can go a long way to secure employee retention during that critical first year!

Looking for ways to strengthen the employee experience? Check out our eBook for valuable insight and strategies to ensure employee satisfaction during the employee lifecycle.

Subscribe to the Tandym blog

Get our latest hiring and workplace insights delivered straight to your inbox

Related Resources