5 Ways to Keep Onboarding From Going Off The Rails

Rebecca Krattiger-Higgins
September 18, 2019

Congratulations! Your top candidate accepted the job, you have a signed offer letter in hand and a start date on the calendar. Great! Next up is the most critical part of the new-hire period: Onboarding.

A well thought out, dynamic, and interactive onboarding program is critical to the retention and long term success of your new talent.  The onboarding period tells your new hire a lot about your organization. It can be the beginning of a positive and productive relationship with your new hire. Here are 5 recommendations we make to keep the new employee on track for success. 

Make a Plan

Creating a plan gives your new hire a road map of how they will get information and acclimate to the company. While modes of information delivery may vary in terms of online or live training events, it is important for the new hire knows what they are doing in the initial days of their employment. Determine the new hire onboarding period (90 days is a good starting point), establish check-ins, make a plan – and go!

Meetings with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)  

The onboarding period is a great opportunity to arrange meetings between your new team member and their new colleagues.  Help the new hire get the “big picture” look at the organization by including them in cross-functional meetings. Identify who your new hire needs to meet and facilitate those meetings. This is a great step to relationship building and long term growth. Time invested at the beginning of the employee experience will help the new employee develop a broader understanding of how teams function together and engage in knowledge transfer with subject matter experts.

Job Shadowing

One of the most effective ways of teaching is “show me how” — not just “tell me how”. Give your new teammate the ability to see how the job is done, without the pressure of having to perform.  New employees need to have the freedom and space to ask questions without judgment. Shadowing also gives the new hire the opportunity to establish a valued relationship with a colleague early in their career.


Beyond shadowing, assigning a mentor to a new hire is essential for long term success. A mentor acts as a guide and resource, helping them through the onboarding period and beyond. This relationship leads to long term development for the new hire, facilitating future opportunities for growth within the company. 

Communication & Feedback Opportunities

Any creative and effective onboarding plan should have opportunities for feedback between the onboarding participant and their hiring manager. Using the feedback to refine the plan demonstrates to the new hire the company’s willingness to provide the new hire with the tools and information to stay on track. 

A successful onboarding plan can be easy and rewarding! Keep your onboarding on track – make a plan, communicate, and have fun! Looking for more ideas about keeping onboarding from going off track? Reach out to us – let’s talk!

Written by: Rebecca Krattiger-Higgins

Rebecca is a Consultant with Red Clover and specializes in Training and Development, Post-Acquisition Transition, Project Management, and Process Development.

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