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When you bring new people into your organisation it is important to ensure that their introduction to your working environment is positive, friendly and informative. An experience that goes way beyond meeting team members and being shown the facilities.

A well thought out onboarding scheme can go a long way to really helping a new team member feel comfortable and up to speed as quickly as possible. Not only this, but it helps with retention and (with platforms such as Glassdoor) company perception in the market place (i.e. candidate attraction).

Other advantages include:

  • Positive PR—happy staff will rate your business highly, attracting more talent
  • Improve your company culture—by integrating new starters thoroughly, you can avoid a toxic working environment where staff don’t get on
  • Higher standards of work from staff aware of your policies and expectations
  • Engagement with new starters straight away
  • An improvement to your business’ growth
  • Maintaining strong connections with employees
  • Encouraging an open working environment based on communication and trust

Here are some tips for creating a good onboarding scheme:

Keep in Touch

Before someone joins your organisation, it is a good idea to send some form of communication, maybe from the line or office manager (if appropriate). It could be documentation about your company (a company handbook for example) or just a quick 'hi' to connect and let them know timings, who will meet them, and directions for the first morning.

Getting some of the admin paperwork organised before the first day can free up time and extra headspace on that first morning too. So maybe think about sending over any forms that need filling out prior to their start date. All of this helps the individual to feel connected to your organisation before the first day.


Have An Organised Induction Plan in Place

The first few weeks in any role are crucial. So, an effective onboarding process for your new hires should address:

  • What the new starter needs to know about your brand and company culture
  • How your line managers and HR team can help and how to reach them
  • The goals you’ll set the new employee and how they will be measured
  • Team introductions and contact sheets 

Create a timetable of learning / activities for the first couple of weeks. Depending on the level of seniority it can be fairly daunting for the first few weeks for new starters. Knowing who you are meant to be with, or what you need to be focusing on during those early days really helps to ease someone into a new role without feeling overwhelmed with the amount they need to learn. It can also ensure that they are learning what they need to correctly and in the right order to help them move forward in the role.

Day one: This may include an induction stage and introduction to daily life at your business. You can include a:

  • General introduction to your business—including a guided tour 
  • Check through your employee handbook
  • Overview of your business aims and targets for the year
  • Run through your policies and procedures
  • Introduction to direct colleagues

Day two onwards: This will include the work schedule and initial tasks to introduce the staff member in your business—you can plan this from the second day into the weeks ahead:

  • Discuss the first tasks to complete 
  • Have check-ins with the employee daily (or once a week)
  • Review their performance and check how they're feeling in their role - how you can help with any issues
  • Offer guidance on anything they might be unsure of
  • Answer any queries they have
  • Introductions to the wider team 

Following few weeks:

  • Continue to have regular 1:1 meetings.
  • Hold an informal 30 day check in to address any immediate concerns followed by a 90 day check in to see how everything is going.
  • Ask for feedback on your onboarding process so you can improve the process for future new hires.

Remember - every organisation does things slightly differently so even if someone has a lot of experience, through no fault of their own, their habits might not be appropriate for your culture and/or client base.

Clarify Expectations Early On

Your on-boarding and orientation process is your first opportunity to prove that your company is worth staying with. Other challenges that you face include making sure that your new employee is clear about their role, and how it fits into the bigger picture of both their team and your whole business. It is a good idea to outline the structure and routine of their role in the form of a workflow, which you may display in a place that is easy for your employee and their team to see. You may also explain their workflow to them in person, or via an email thread.

This is helpful to both parties. The nuances of the job can never be fully explained at the interview stage so sitting down and clearly discussing the role, the level of output and pace and any other expectations means that even if your culture is very laid back, new starters understand the level that is expected of them.

Consider a Buddy Scheme

Buddy schemes are a great way of helping an individual to get to understand the culture and team as well as just the role. They provide a supportive network where new staff members can discuss their progress and get constructive feedback. These informal chats with experienced staff members can be vital in letting new recruits know they’re doing a good job.

Buddy Schemes are a great tool to:

  • Welcome new employees
  • Boost confidence
  • Increase productivity - Happy workers are more productive workers.
  • Better staff retention
  • Encourages informal learning

A buddy system helps new staff to develop their skills through social interaction and informal learning. They see how their buddy does things and they copy, which can help them develop their skills and confidence.

Make sure that the person you buddy them up with is positive towards the company and culture and is not their line manager. This employee can help mentor them as well as help them learn the systems and processes more quickly than if they were left to their own devices.

Meeting up with a buddy in the first week is a great addition to the onboarding scheme. Ensure that the remit for the buddy scheme is to create time and a point of contact to chat around company issues. If a friendship develops that’s great but it’s not the main focus, it’s a friendly face for the new starter (and ongoing) to chat around any issues they may be having.


Organise a Social Activity in the First Couple of Weeks

Often it can be hard to penetrate a tight team, even if your existing team is friendly, it is easy for people to forget to include others. Seeing people out in social environments helps to forge bonds quicker than it does in the office environment and a bonded team is a happier and therefore more productive team than a disconnected one.

Your on-boarding process is a great way to ensure that your new employee bonds well with their new team. They are more likely to stay working for you if they feel included and welcome. Social events such as a team lunch or after-work drinks can be a useful way for your new employee to become familiar with their team on a personal as well as a professional level.

Create a Three-Month Plan and Stick to It

Discuss this plan with the new starter in accordance with set expectations, and goal setting (role appropriate). This then becomes a good marker for discussion at personal development meetings or weekly catch-ups. It also helps the new starter to see that they are progressing (which is motivating in itself).


Implement Ongoing Personal Development Plans and Appraisals

Appraisals help to establish growth and motivation. If you meet once every 6 months for this purpose it provides an anchor and a reference point for progress. The key point to recognise is the fact that performance objectives and development actions should be aligned. We know of one business where development planning used to take place at the end of the year, during the performance appraisal meeting. At best people ended up going on courses as a reward for high performance, at worst they waited all year to get the development that they needed to succeed in the first place! They were actually delivering development 18 months too late, failing the individual and the business.

  • Break down goals into simple, easy-to-follow steps
  • Highlight areas of improvement and gain experience in
  • Help new starter to keep track of their career goals
  • Motivate them to succeed and progress through their plan

Need more help? - We're Offering Businesses a Free Recruitment Review!

We’ve worked in partnership with hundreds of clients across numerous skills functions in Pharma, Healthcare and Life Sciences since 2006 - we’ve seen some hugely efficient processes, some very clunky ones, and everything else in between!

We are now putting this vast experience to good use in helping clients to improve their own talent attraction and retention methods, by offering a complimentary review of recruitment processes. 

Request a free Recruitment Audit


What’s included in our complimentary review?

✓ A review of your overall hiring process within your organisation or team
✓ A review of your candidate attraction methods and your assessment process
 A review of talent brand in comparison to competitor firms in your market
 A review of your marketing touch points used to attract active and passive candidates
A review of your offer and onboarding process
✓ Outputs will be summarised in a short report, offering a tangible list of practical changes to help improve your overall success in attraction and retention of key talent





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