Employee Onboarding: The First Day is Everything


You wrote a killer job ad, and distributed it to the job boards of your dreams.You carefully tracked applicants, selecting those most likely to fit the bill. You screened, interviewed, and after much deliberation handed down the job offer to the most qualified candidate. Hiring is never an easy process, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t end when the new hire signs their employment contract.

Read: 5 Effective Interview Techniques for Employers 

Just as it’s important to select the right person for the job, it’s equally as important to ensure talent management success through careful and deliberate onboarding. According to an SHRM Report by Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D, “after effective recruitment and selection, one of the most important ways that organizations can improve the effectiveness of their talent management systems is through the strategic use of onboarding”.

Onboarding is best defined as the process through which a new employee acquires the skills, knowledge and behaviours to become an effective member of the organization. To onboard a new hire is to provide role clarity, socialize and integrate your new addition into the team while also ensuring you’ve provided them with the tools necessary to do their job (and do it well).

Tactics used to onboard a new hire may include formal meetings, instructional videos, printed material or computer-based programs to help familiarize him or her with the company’s values, mission and norms. When done properly, onboarding helps build positive relationships and sets the foundation for long-term employee retention.

When it comes to your new hire’s introduction the office, it’s important to remember a few things about first days.

First impressions are like coins.

It’s not just that they can be dull or shiny – but that they have two sides. While your new hire worries about making the best first impressions possible on the team, you and your team should be working to make a best first impression on them as well. Have a well laid-out plan for your new hire’s first day, and don’t just drop them into their new chair and go.

Never miss a post from Alongside:


The first day of work is more stressful than a first date.

While you worry about your first date and whether you’ll hit it off, there’s a sense of peace in knowing it’s just a first date. There need not be a second if it’s a flop. That rarely happens with a first day at work, so if your new hire has a terrible first day (and first impressions count!), they likely won’t be excited about day two or motivated to stay with the company in the long run.

Finally, it’s really everyone’s first day.

While your new hire is excited to start their shiny, new job you should prepare to start your new job: onboarding. For the next six months, you (and your team) will want to help integrate your new hire, setting them and the company up for long-term success.

Don’t forget anything! Get Alongside’s handy dandy Onboarding Checklist here.

If you’re thinking six months sounds like a long time to onboard, consider this: The Aberdeen Group has found that 86 percent of new hires choose within their first six months of employment whether or not they’ll stick it out with the company. That’s not to say that you can drop your new hire on her head after that six month period, but it does prove that you have just six months to shape a long term employee.

The Aberdeen Group also found that more than 60% of companies don’t have an onboarding process as part of their talent management strategy. Do you? We’d love to hear your best practices.