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Onboarding 101: New Hire First-Year Timeline

May 2, 2023, The Association

First in a series of tips based on the newly recorded webinar, Employee Onboarding: The Secret for Boosting Productivity, Engagement, & Retention.

Heard the one that onboarding a new employee will take a week? “It actually should take a year,” says The Association’s Executive Vice President, Katherine M. Shenar, CAWA. Considering that nearly 33% of new hires quit within the first six months, it’s in your organization’s best interest to set new hires up for success.

Shenar maps out the year as follows:

Month 1 includes recruitment, selection, pre-boarding and goal setting. Set a monthly goal for your new hire, so they know that there are accomplishments they need to strive for. Adds Shenar, “This reaffirms for them that they’re doing a good job, and that they’re doing it the right way. It helps them feel good about how they’re transitioning into their new role.”

Month 2: Training continues, with the introduction of a mentor for your new hire. “Ideally, this is somebody who is working within their department who can help them take on this journey,” says Shenar, “and also help them as they work toward their goals.”

Month 3 & 4: In these crucial months during which many hires leave, have what Shenar calls a “care and connect conversation, with a culture check.” Your HR team or the employee’s supervisor will ask questions such as:

  • Are you comfortable in the workplace?
  • How do you feel about your coworkers?
  • Do you feel that you are making strides in your work?
  • How can we make you feel more connected to the organization?
  • What are some of the challenges you have encountered?

“Focus on culture questions, not task-related questions,” says Shenar.

Months 5, 6 & 7: Training and mentorship continues. Schedule the employee for a check in with HR & their supervisor about their ability to perform the work tasks. Are they able to perform at the level that the job description requires? “And if not,” says Shenar, “now is the time to talk about it.”

Months 8, 9 & 10: As it takes five to eight months for an employee to actually be fully productive in their role, conduct a skills review and talk about what impact they are having in their role. Also known as a “Stay interview,” Shenar suggests asking questions such as:

  • What is it that has made you want to stay here?
  • Why do you keep coming back?
  • What is it that excites you about being here?
  • What could we do differently?

Month 12: Begin looking at employee satisfaction and professional development pathway planning. “This is when we look at how to keep them growing so that they feel that their employer is investing in them,” says Shenar.

For additional insights on the onboarding process, listen to the complete recorded webinar. Stay tuned for more tips in this series.

Learn More

Employee Onboarding: The Secret for Boosting Productivity, Engagement, & Retention (2023)
Blog: Tip of the Week: Getting It Together
Blog: All Aboard—Tips for an efficient onboarding process

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