The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Onboarding

Julie Checknita, Employer Services | July-06-11


Employee Onboarding


While much emphasis is placed on the recruitment and selection process, many organizations fail to nurture the employer/employee relationship once the job offer has been accepted. Because first impressions are so important, the failure to properly onboard new employees can be detrimental to your new employee’s future performance; and can ultimately result in your new hire leaving for a another opportunity.

In an article on, Susan M. Heathfield outlines 10 fast ways to turn off a new employee:


1. Make sure that a work area has not been created or assigned. (Let them sit in a hall or share a cube for the first few days while you scramble to create a work area.)

2. Schedule the new employee to start their new job while the supervisor is on vacation.

3. Leave the new employee standing in the company reception area for a half hour while the reception staff tries to figure out what to do with them.

4. Leave the new employee at their work station, to manage on their own, while coworkers pair up and head out to lunch.

5. Provide an hour in a noisy lobby for the new employee to read and sign-off on a 100 page employee handbook.

6. Show the new employee their office and don’t introduce them to coworkers or assign them a mentor.

7. Assign the new employee to a staff person who has a major, career-impacting deadline, in three days.

8. Assign the new employee to (you fill in the blanks) your most unhappy, negative, company-bashing staff member.

9. Assign the employee “busy work” that has nothing to do with their core job description, because you are having a busy week.

10. Start the new employee with a one or two day new employee orientation during which Human Resources personnel make presentation after presentation after presentation after presentation.

What can be done to ensure your new employee has a positive first impression during their critical first few days? Kiron D. Bondale suggests four easy practices to adopt to ensure your employee doesn’t experience buyer’s remorse:


1. 360 degree meetings - It can be intimidating to start a new role, especially in a large company, when the only person you know is your new manager.  To help "seed" the new hire's internal network, set up short meet and greet meetings with a few key staff at different levels in your company to provide the new hire with some familiar faces to say "Hi" to around the water cooler, but also to provide them with a broader understanding of the company and its culture.


2. A day in the life- Unless the new hire is on the critical path for the most strategic project in your organization's portfolio, set up one or two "day in the life" tours where they get to shadow operational staff to get a better understanding of the company's business processes.  This is especially valuable for back office staff as they can see how the work they will be involved with impacts the company's customers or front line workers.


3. Lunch with the team - A common practice in many companies is for the hiring manager to take out the new hire for lunch on their very first day.  A better approach would be to use this as an opportunity for a team lunch. It will give the new hire a chance to see how their team communicates and works together, and it will start to get them engaged with their colleagues.


4. Avoid "stealth" hires - With some of the companies I joined, it felt like my start date was a complete surprise to everyone other than my manager.  Initial perceptions can be poor if a new hire feels that their arrival is perceived as a burden by the staff who own on-boarding activities.  Arriving to find their cubicle is ready (AND clean!), business cards are printed, useful documents such as organization charts or contact lists are pinned on their cubicle walls, and all business application accounts are set up will reduce natural feelings of anxiety.  No later than midday of the starting date, make sure an e-mail is sent out to the whole team and other appropriate staff (copying the new hire) to welcome the new employee.


What do you think? What else can be done to make a positive first impression? Have you experienced any noteworthy (positive or negative) onboarding processes? We would love to hear from you!


Original content sourced from Human ResourcesHuman Resources