It’s common for managers to feel that once the offer letter is signed by the candidate, the work of recruiting is complete. However, if you want to keep the person and ensure they thrive and produce there is still a lot of work to do.

  • We want new hires to feel that they made the right choice and that has everything to do with first impressions. To deliver this, managers need to be organized, credible, and deliver on the promises made in the interview process. Things should be organized for the new hire on day one including logistics like email addresses, business cards, workspace, and welcome packages. Meetings should be scheduled in advance, so they get to know their new colleagues.
  • People are motivated by contribution and progress. The sooner you can get them contributing, the sooner they’ll feel engaged in the work.
  • You’re paying them from day one, so the sooner the new employee can start producing the faster the return on the investment. This is the case for both the compensation they receive, and the costs associated with recruiting.
  • There is commonly a probationary period for new employees. The faster you can get them producing in the job they were hired for, the faster you can assess their performance. More and more firms are starting to use the first 90-days as part of the evaluation process, a working interview or a trial period before a final decision is made about the hire. This can be very valuable if management and peers do not withhold support in any way because they consider the individual “temporary.”

We need to appreciate that even though we have (hopefully!) hired a highly qualified candidate, there is always a lot for a new hire to learn when entering a new organization. There are relationships to build, systems to understand, and many other challenges. Great leaders understand the importance of informal relationship building, making new friends, networking, teamwork and making space for the new hire to understand the dynamics and politics of your firm.

Michael Watkins, author of “The First 90 Days” provides an excellent framework for managers to ensure new team members get off to a great start:

  • Start with a highly structured and scheduled learning processes where the new hire can learn about the technical elements of the role, the culture of the organization, and the political dynamics at play. Ensure they can meet and spend time with every person they will be interfacing with in their job, along with as many senior leaders as possible.
  • Make them part of the team by ensuring all other team members understand the purpose of the new person’s role (especially if it’s a brand-new position) and how they can support the new individual to be successful.
  • Revisit the Role Scorecard with the individual and ensure crystal clarity with them concerning the measures of success in the role.
  • As noted above, new hires are usually eager to contribute. Identify ways for them to get some early wins.
  • Establish a coaching rhythm with the individual, and expectations between each party in the coaching relationship.


Early in the tenure of a new employee it’s essential to get them to know them outside of work too. What is their personal situation, what do they do for fun, what if any constraints do they have outside of work that would be helpful for all team members to know about (within the bounds of privacy of course)? The Gallup engagement research shows that when teammates became familiar with each other personally, became friends even, they scored higher in engagement.

Avoiding the “One That Got Away” Story

Employers are struggling to fill roles right now, and the last thing we want to do is have a brand-new employee decide to leave. It’s so deflating, and the costs are astronomical.

But here’s the good news. Once you have your onboarding recipe, you can use it repeatedly. It saves you time in the long run. And helps you keep great people.

We’d love to hear other ideas that have worked for you too!

Unleashing the Potential of Your Organization

If you’d like to learn more about how to create an attractive, winning culture that attracts and retains the best people, or other ways you can take the simpler path to creating a great business, connect with us or consider attending one of our upcoming leadership events.

Tim O’Connor & Jeff Tetz