The 4 Elements of an Effective Onboarding Program

“With a ‘sink or swim’ approach, companies and leaders are flirting with disaster.” —Lee Hecht Harrison

Accelerate the investment you made on your new hire by onboarding effectively. Research consistently reports that effective onboarding programs lead to higher retention, elevated performance and increased loyalty and engagement.

The most critical time of the employee life cycle is the first 90 days of employment. You can hire the best and brightest talent to join your team, but without an effective and positive onboarding experience the chances of you being able to retain them diminishes every day. The Wynhurst Group reports that “employees are 58 percent more likely to be at the company three years later when they complete a structured onboarding process.”

Further, giving employees a thoughtful, organized and well-planned out onboarding platform will accelerate their learning, increase their assimilation into the company and strengthen their connection to your mission. Benjamin Franklin reminds us that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Following best practices, the onboarding cycle should be structured into four (4) primary areas over the course of 90 days: 

1)      Prepare (pre-hire)

Onboarding starts before the new hire starts employment. Being well-prepared before the new hire arrives on their first day ensures they will have a positive and memorable first day! Prepare their onboarding plan, ensure their workstation and computer are ready and have a welcome lunch planned. 

2)      Assimilate (first 1-3 days)

To avoid overwhelming your new hire, fill the first few days with experiences that teach them culture, build relationships, explain workplace expectations and give them the space they need to get oriented. 

3)      Engage (first 60 days)

Operational immersion should begin with role-specific training including shadowing, reverse shadowing, a strong buddy/mentor resource and weekly checkpoints with their manager. Checkpoint meetings should be geared toward collecting feedback from the new hire and determining where additional support and training may be needed.

4)      Review (within 60-90 days)

At the end of the onboarding period, the new hire’s manager should conduct a formal review meeting to share their observations on how the new hire is performing, norming to the culture and engaging with the broader team. While formal and documented, this “review” should be approached within the spirit of feedback and supporting their long-term success with the organization.

“Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcomed and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.”

 – Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset — your employees. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your onboarding needs!


Solvere HR Consulting provides practical HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset — your employees. Learn more about us at