28th March 2024

Effective Onboarding: Tips for engaging and retaining new hires

EST is a multi-service professional practice offering HR Consultancy, Accountancy and Tax Advice, Wealth Management and Commercial Finance.

Deborah Jones, Lead HR Consultant in EST’s HR division considers how best to engage new hires and help to make them feel comfortable in the workplace to foster a successful and cohesive workplace.

A strong onboarding process is vital for setting new hires up for success and fostering long-term employee engagement and retention. It is during the onboarding phase that new employees form crucial impressions about the organisation, its culture, and their role within it. In this blog, we will explore key tips for creating an effective onboarding experience that engages new hires and sets the foundation for their growth and commitment to the company.

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan:

A well-designed onboarding plan is a roadmap for success. Start by outlining a clear timeline, specific goals, and key activities for each stage of the onboarding process. Introduce new hires to the organisation’s mission, values, and culture. Provide an overview of their role, responsibilities, and expectations. By setting out the role and expectations of the company on day one, the new hires will be able to feel comfortable with the knowledge that they have been provided with all the information and support they need. Incorporate training sessions, team introductions, and shadowing opportunities. A structured plan ensures consistency and helps new hires feel supported and engaged from day one.

Assign a Mentor or Buddy:

Pairing new hires with a mentor or buddy can greatly enhance their onboarding experience. A mentor can provide guidance, answer questions, and offer insights into the company culture. This personal connection helps new employees feel welcomed and supported, fostering a sense of belonging and facilitating a smoother transition into the organisation. The mentor or buddy can also help new hires build relationships with other team members and navigate the organisational landscape.

Provide Clear Communication and Resources:

Effective communication is crucial during the onboarding process. Ensure new hires have access to the necessary information and resources to perform their job effectively. Provide them with an employee handbook, training materials, and any relevant documentation. Clearly communicate the company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. It is important to regularly check in with new hires to address any concerns, answer questions, and provide feedback. In the first few weeks of their employment, they may feel intimidated so by creating a safe space for employees to air their concerns, a circle of trust will be created. Open lines of communication build trust and engagement right from the start.

Offer Training and Development Opportunities:

Investing in the growth and development of new employees demonstrates a commitment to their long-term success. Provide training sessions tailored to their role and offer opportunities for upskilling and professional development. This can include workshops, online courses, or mentoring programmes. By investing in their growth, new hires feel valued and motivated to contribute their best efforts to the organisation.

Foster Connection and Integration:

Building connections within the team and wider organisation is vital for new hires to feel like valued members of the company. Encourage social interactions and team-building activities during the onboarding process. Organise team lunches, welcome events, or informal get-togethers. In doing this it will help to make the new hire feel involved with the wider team and it can help to create a better work environment for the entire company. Consider creating cross-functional projects or assignments that allow new employees to collaborate with different teams and stakeholders. These activities foster relationships, enhance teamwork, and help new hires understand the interconnectedness of the organisation.

Seek Feedback and Continuous Improvement:

To refine and enhance the onboarding process, seek feedback from new hires. Regularly check in with them to understand their experiences, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. Create a supportive environment where new employees feel comfortable providing honest feedback. Act on their input to make necessary adjustments and continually improve the onboarding experience for future hires.

In summary:

A well-executed onboarding process plays a critical role in engaging and retaining new hires. By developing a comprehensive plan, providing clear communication and resources, assigning mentors, offering training and development opportunities, fostering connections, and seeking feedback, organisations can create a positive and impactful onboarding experience. Remember, a successful onboarding process sets the stage for long-term employee engagement, productivity, and retention, contributing to the overall success of the organisation.

How can our HR team help?

We can offer expertise in supporting your teams to implement strategies that will ensure effective onboarding in your business.

EST also offer a range of management training courses which could support your teams in their pursuit of leadership excellence:

Please contact our HR Team if you would like more information about this or any other support in respect of HR or organisational and management development at 02921 303888 or