Onboarding and its impact on engagement

How to win employees from the start

Whether you are a manager or employee (or both) you will all have experienced at some point in your career your businesses onboarding process.  This is just a fancy term for starting a new job and we know how daunting that can be.

We know that you make decisions on people in the first few minutes of meeting them, this is exactly the same for employees.  The impression you make on them during the onboarding period will determine their immediate and possible long term engagement.

Surely this is obvious? Why would you risk making an average or bad impression?  Well, not all companies are doing a good job.  I hear varying stories from the sublime to the chaotic. 

Don’t fall foul of the first impression.  Use our quick tips below to be ready for your new starter and make a great impression from the start.


Don’t forget about your new starter once you’ve had the acceptance.  Most businesses will have a starter pack containing some information for day 1 but a quick check in a few days before to reassure the new colleague, let them know how much you are looking forward to having them in the team and checking that they have all the info they need will go a log way.  This will take you 15 minutes and will mean a lot to your new recruit.  They will get the supportive and open manager message quickly, giving them confidence.


You know the new employee is starting – make sure the basics are ready for them.   There is nothing worse than turning up on your first day and not having what you need to get started.


  1. Will the colleague have a desk?  If so make sure it is clean and ready for them to personalise.
  2. Has the colleague been set up on the IT and security system?  Have a note of any logins that they will need so there is no running around.  And don’t forget the email address.

  3. Is the colleagues PC ready and working (ties with point 2)

  4. Get the wider team ready to welcome their new colleague – make sure they know the new starters name!

  5. Will the colleague have a phone / mobile / tablet.  If yes, have it all ready to go.

  6. Plan the new starters first two weeks – schedule time for catch up so you can check they are doing ok and answer any questions.

  7. Assign a mentor and ensure that the chosen colleague understands their role in the successful integration of the new starter.

Day 1

Plan your day to accommodate welcoming your new starter; that means quality time, not 5 minutes.  If you are struggling for time make sure their mentor is there with their day free to introduce them to your company.

Always plan a welcome walk – introduce the colleague to team members that he/she is likely to work with regularly or bump into at the coffee machine.  Don’t limit this to the immediate team – especially in a bigger office or location.  This can be quite quick but will make the colleague feel integrated and soften any nerves.

Introduce the colleague to their mentor.  This person will be their go to in the first few weeks

Set expectations

While you want to make your new starter feel welcome, you also need to be clear about what is expected from them as part of your team and the business.  Within the first week you should set time aside to create a starter personal development plan that will include early goals and targets through to more long term objectives.  These targets and goals should form part of the review process when reviewing their probation period.  Then your new colleague will know to expect clear, fair goals and in return you will take the time to review and keep them moving forwards.  Win-Win.

Check in

Don’t just start day one well and then expect everything to be straightforward and easy.  It may be (if it is then great!) but it is likely that your new starter will have a lot of questions and periods of uncertainty.  In the first week check in with them at least once a day – this should give you a good view of how they are feeling and you should do more if you get a sense of discontent or unease.  At the end of the week conduct a sit down review with them.  After that, schedule a weekly catch up of 30 mins and stick to your commitment.  Make sure you are doing all you can to make the employees experience a great one.

The moral of the blog?  If you can set yourself up for an engagement win from the start, there is a much better chance that your colleagues will be engaged going forwards.

All businesses, small or large, should take real care of new starters.  You will invest a lot of time and money in that individual and you want to make sure that they stay with you, engaged, productive and happy!


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