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Guide to effective onboarding

Ensure the best introduction

Effective onboarding is crucial for integrating new employees smoothly into an organisation and has an immediate and direct impact on their feelings about their new role. To ensure your new employee has the best possible introduction, this guide will create a smooth onboarding experience.

When does onboarding start?

The perception of you as an employer begins at the first interview, how well this has been organised, the enthusiasm of the interviewer, post interview feedback, how the offer is made and subsequent production of paperwork and terms of the offer all have an impact on your new recruit's perception of the employer brand. To help you in this regard read our employer interview guide.

 Employee experience
 New hires

Prepare for your new employees first day

  • Create a pre-employment checklist to ensure all essential items are ready for the first day to go smoothly. Communicate expectations and timelines clearly with all departments such as HR, IT and Facilities.
  • Ensure the right people are there to greet your new employee, either virtually, or in person.
  • In advance of arrival, communicate the structure of the day so your new recruit feels comfortable and relaxed.
  • Give them a tour of the building/offices, including all key facilities such as rest rooms, lunch facilities, access to HR and IT.
  • Provide a welcome pack with essential documents, company policies, and any necessary equipment or materials the new employee might need.
  • Conduct a thorough orientation session to introduce the new employee to the company culture, values, mission, and organisational structure. This is also an opportunity to review administrative procedures such as payroll, benefits, and workplace policies.
  • Clearly define the new employee's role, responsibilities, and performance expectations. Provide them with a job description and outline how their role contributes to the overall objectives of the team and organisation.
  • Assign a mentor or buddy to help the new employee navigate their new role and workplace culture. Encourage open communication and provide opportunities for the new employee to ask questions and seek guidance.

Ongoing process

Consider onboarding as an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. Continue to provide support, feedback, and development opportunities to help your new employee succeed and feel engaged within their role. A great onboarding experience can have many benefits, aiding long term employee retention.

  • Establish regular check-ins to provide feedback on the new employee's performance and progress. This can help address any concerns or challenges early on and ensure that the employee feels supported in their new role, and the manager can address any concerns.
  • Facilitate opportunities for the new employee to socialise and build relationships with colleagues. This could include team lunches, networking events, or team-building activities.
  • Offer and schedule comprehensive training to equip the new employee with the knowledge and skills required for their role. This could include technical skills training, job shadowing, mentorship programs, or access to online learning resources.
  • Solicit feedback from new employees about their onboarding experience and use this feedback to continually refine and improve the onboarding process for future hires.

Pre employment kit list

In a world of hybrid working, the list of requirements to ensure your new recruit is productive from day one is even longer than before.

Download our checklist to ensure you're ready for your new hire.

Ideas to make your new employee feel welcome


Welcoming new starters with branded or personalised items is a thoughtful way for companies to make them feel valued and appreciated from day one. Here are some creative ideas

  • Create a welcome kit containing a variety of branded merchandise such as a company mug, notebook, pen, keychain, and T-shirt, or something more indulgent like cupcakes or chocolates
  • Enhance your new employee's desk with personalised items such as a branded mousepad, desk organiser, or framed welcome message. Consider adding a small plant or succulent for a touch of greenery
  • Provide tech accessories with the company logo, such as laptop sleeves, phone cases, or USB drives. These items are practical and can be used both in and out of the office
  • Include a handwritten welcome card or letter signed by members of the team or company leadership. Personalise the message to express excitement about the new employee joining the team
  • Gift the new employee with company-branded apparel, such as a polo shirt, hoodie, or jacket. This allows them to represent the company proudly both inside and outside the workplace
  • For real wow factor, why not put together a welcome basket filled with goodies such as chocolates, gourmet snacks, and beverages, along with branded items like a coffee mug or water bottle
  • Offer a gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant with the company logo on it. This allows the new employee to enjoy a treat on their first day or during their first week at work
  • Send a bouquet of flowers to the new employee's office desk or home if remote/hybrid working

The impact of a weak onboarding experience

First impressions matter, and inadequate onboarding can negatively impact your recruitment efforts and ulitmately your brand image.

Employee disconnection and decreased engagement. New hires who experience a lacklustre onboarding process may feel disconnected from the organisation and its culture. This can lead to reduced engagement, motivation, and morale. When employees don’t feel valued or supported during their initial days, it affects their commitment to the company.

Higher turnover rates. Inadequate onboarding contributes to higher staff turnover. Disenchanted employees are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. The costs associated with recruitment, training, and lost productivity add up quickly. Investing in a robust onboarding program pays off in terms of employee retention.  

Productivity challenges. Without proper onboarding employees take longer to acclimatise to their roles. They struggle to understand job expectations, processes, and company policies, and, as a result, productivity suffers and poorly onboarded employees may provide subpar service. This can directly affect customer satisfaction and client relationships..

Brand reputation at stake. Negative onboarding experiences tarnish the employer brand. Employees who feel let down may share their dissatisfaction with others, affecting the organisation’s ability to attract top talent. Word-of-mouth travels fast, and a damaged reputation can hinder future recruitment efforts.

Missed skill development opportunities. Effective onboarding provides opportunities for skill development. When onboarding falls short, employees miss out on crucial learning experiences. This hampers their long-term growth and potential within the organisation.  

Cultural alignment matters. Onboarding introduces new employees to the company’s values, mission, and culture. A poor onboarding experience can lead to misalignment between employee expectations and organisational culture. Misunderstandings and conflicts may arise, impacting overall job satisfaction.


Investing in a comprehensive and supportive onboarding process is essential. It not only benefits individual employees, but also shapes the success of the entire organisation. Successful onboarding ensures that new hires feel welcomed, informed, and ready to contribute from day one. Building a positive onboarding experience sets the tone for lasting engagement and growth.

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