Welcome Aboard! How Structured Onboarding Contributes to Team Success
So, you hired a new employee. Great news! Chances are that your team is excited to have an
extra helping hand on the way and, even better, you’ll finally have the opportunity to see if
you’ve hired a difference maker.
Still, knowing they are on their way isn’t the end of the hiring process, by any means -- there’s
still that all-too-important phase between introductions and training to get through before your
new employee feels like an integral part of your organization.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help make that transition a smooth one. And
focusing on their initial onboarding experiences will help your new hire become acquainted and
more productive faster, with fewer bumps along the way. And that is good for you.
Make the First Impression Count
You know the old adage that “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression”?
This is true with your new employee just like it is with everyone else.
Though you both must have made some positive ground during the interview process in order to
say yes to working together, your new employee’s first day makes a different sort of imprint --
one that will cement their expectations of what it’s like to work for your company for weeks, and
even years, to come.
Start them off on the wrong foot, and they may second guess their decision to take a position
with your practice. But, if you give your new hire a warm welcome and set them up for success,
you’ll reap the rewards of an employee who is engaged, involved, and invested from day one.
Recall, we used the term difference-maker earlier? If you’ve hired someone like that, it is
important that you communicate through actions that they have made a good choice, too.
Structured onboarding can both send this message and give you an early chance to assess
them and decide if they are the right fit for your practice. Your new hire’s first day is also your
first chance to model the level of care you expect them to achieve when they do anything at
The Data Is In: Great Onboarding Builds Better Teams
According to data provided by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), new
employees are 58 percent more likely to stay with an organization for three years after going
through a structured onboarding program than if their onboarding experience was unstructured.
Organizations that use a standard onboarding process also experience 50 percent greater
productivity from new hires.
And, since it can cost employers an average of $4129 to hire a new employee, or as much as
20 percent of a mid-range employee’s salary (that’s $8000 for a position that pays $40,000) to
fill a vacant position, it’s shocking that only half of small businesses utilize a structured
onboarding program at all, and that 1 in 4 can’t even tell you how long the onboarding process
Providing a welcoming and informative onboarding experience with each new hire you bring on
board is a great way to kick off or expand your overall employee engagement efforts. It’s also
one of the easiest systems to implement in a way that will provide measurable ROI for your
How to Onboard for Maximum Employee Engagement
First, here’s how not to onboard:
Your new hire shows up as you’re trying to mobilize and organize your team on a Monday
morning. Between futzing with last-minute software issues and scheduling mishaps, your new
employee is left waiting awkwardly in the lobby for ten minutes. Finally, your front office
supervisor notices an individual in scrubs who hasn’t been helped yet and calls her over. After
she introduces herself as the new hire, you apologize for the inconvenience and quickly give her
a tour of the premises before handing her a stack of paperwork and heading off to search for
another employee who would be willing to show her the ropes for a day.
As you probably know from experience, starting a new job is nervous business.
The office is unfamiliar. The other employees have pre-established relationships and inside
jokes that can make outsiders feel, well, like outsiders.
New employees want to make a positive impression and start showing their worth just as much
as you want them to start producing. But, without clear direction, new employees are going
to be more likely to try and stay out of the way than to attempt to wedge themselves into
the fabric of your company culture right off the bat.
By building a structured onboarding program, not only will you make the introductory period
much easier on yourself as a manager, but you’ll also be able to cut through the majority of that
awkwardness and confusion by keeping your new hire busy with tasks and experiences that
prepare them for employment at your practice.
Want all of this information in an easy reference format? Download CEDR’s Free Hiring Guide
and look for the Onboarding Checklist inside!
The Day Before
At this point, you should have already provided your new employee with an offer letter and
performed a background check. With that out of the way, make a plan for your new hire’s first
day (or, even better, their first week).
The night before, send an email or call to share pertinent details about when to show up, where
to park, and who to look for upon arrival. Then put together a new hire packet that includes
important information like software logins, wifi passwords, name tags, locations of important
items (equipment, supplies, break rooms, etc.), details about payroll, an onboarding schedule,
as well as the necessary new hire paperwork. You can also include personal touches, like a list
of local restaurants and a schedule of regular group outings and events in order to provide that
little something extra.
Set up a comfortable workstation for your new hire so they can have a quiet place to work on
paperwork and complete any other important onboarding tasks that don’t require being out on
Finally, make sure you’ve touched base with your team before your new hire arrives so they are
ready to greet the new employee and usher them to the appropriate contact when they show up
(the bulletin board in CEDR’s HR Vault makes this easy). Select a peer mentor in advance so
that your new hire can avoid finding themselves left alone without anything specific to do.
The First Day
Your employee should know what to expect and where to go when they first arrive. Their
workspace should also already be set up. Give them a tour of the premises, introduce them to
the rest of the team (either in a one-on-one capacity or in a team meeting), and show them to
their workspace to start filling out paperwork.
It’s a nice idea to have a bag of goodies (swag) waiting for them in this workspace. Think tshirts, coffee cups, pens, and whatever other promotional materials your company has at hand.
After the new hire paperwork is complete, provide a job description and have them read your
employee handbook in its entirety. They should also sign the last page to signify they
understood the contents of that document. Not only will this give them a lay of the land when it
comes to policies on things like leave, paid time off, holidays, and how to address employee
concerns, but it should also serve to give your employee their first official glimpse of your
practice’s company culture.
Set aside some time to go over the new hire paperwork and answer any questions your
employee may have with regard to the employee handbook, their job description, or anything
else that may have come up throughout the course of the day.
Use these Free Job Descriptions for new hires at your practice to make the onboarding process
easier for you as a manager!
Have your new employee refresh their HIPAA training so you can be sure that they’re up-to-date
on how to properly handle PHI before they start working with patients or their protected
information, then refresh that training every year on the employee’s work anniversary.
To that end, AADOM Members are invited to use our on-demand HIPAA training software free
for a year (we won’t ask you for a credit card to sign up).
PRO TIP: Finally, provide lunch for the day -- either in-office or off premises -- and make sure
that the peer mentor you selected is present for that meal. This ensures that your new hire has
a buddy to lean on during downtime so they don’t end up being the “odd person out” during
The First Week
Your employee’s first week will probably involve lots of on-the-job training, so it may not need to
be quite as structured as the first day. After all, if you implemented your onboarding structure
well enough, your new hire should feel perfectly comfortable shadowing and working with other
employees, as well as asking questions of you, other managers, and their coworkers as they
Set time aside to check in with your new employee each day and make sure to ask if they feel
like they are getting everything they need or have any questions. A fresh perspective can be
very helpful with process improvements for future employees.
Most HR professionals agree that structured onboarding can help reduce turnover, increase
productivity, and make employees feel welcome in their new position. Still, only half of small
business owners utilize a structured onboarding process with new hires.
Don’t miss the chance to make a positive and lasting first impression with each new hire you
bring on board. Structure your onboarding process to jumpstart the training process for new
employees, introduce them to your team, make them feel welcome and included, and explain
the important elements of your company culture. It will benefit you as much as them.
Structured onboarding can help you breeze through that awkward “odd-man-out” period
associated with starting a new position and bringing a new person into the fold, and can get
your new hire contributing to your bottom line quicker and easier. When you check out our
onboarding checklist, keep in mind that it’s perfectly OK to do as little or as much as makes
sense for you!
For more help with building a structured onboarding process for your practice, check out the
Onboarding Checklist in CEDR’s Free Hiring Guide!