Now you have found the right candidate and had your offer of employment accepted you will want your new recruit to successfully start and stay with your organisation.

A survey by the CIPD, in July 2017, stated one in five employees decided to leave an employer during the first few months of their employment.  That was before we experienced the current situation, where it is definitely a candidate’s market.

This means more than ever before creating a good onboarding process is essential to employee engagement and keeping new hires. Here is some guidance on how to successfully onboard new recruits by taking time.

What is onboarding?

Effective onboarding is more than a quick introduction on day one of employment.   Your new employee will be excited to join you but may also be concerned about what working for you is like.  Therefore, it is important for your newcomer to feel at home as soon as possible.   It may take several months for a new member of staff to become fully embedded into your workplace.   Much of what you consider to be ‘everyday’ language, values and behaviour may be unfamiliar to your new hire.  They will need time and support to help them find their way around a new working environment.

A good induction/probation programme for new starters will help them settle into their roles more easily.  It may take time at the start but in the long run you will achieve better work performances and improved employee relations.

Whose job is it?

To successfully onboard new recruits it is helpful to have a designated person who can co-ordinate with all the necessary parts of your organisation e.g.:  IT, HR, Payroll, Health & Safety.   Often this will be the team leader or manager of the new recruit as they are in the best position to create a clear and transparent process.


How to onboard new recruits successfully by taking time actually starts before your new employee’s first day at work. If you keep in contact with your new starter before they join you, it helps them stay engaged and excited about the prospect of their new job.

Take this opportunity to make sure they bring the correct information (paperwork) and outline to them what to expect on their first day.   Include details such as what to wear, when to start and who to ask for.

Don’t forget to let your existing employees/team know about a new starter joining your business.   You don’t need give lots of detail but let the current team know, the new starter’s name, start date and the job they will be taking on.

Make sure you have all the things your new employee will need from day one e.g.:- uniform, desk, phone, ID card, email address, payroll/HR paperwork etc, company welcome pack/employee handbook.

Day One

  • Provide a warm welcome to your new member of staff.
  • Show them around, point out employee rest areas, toilet facilities, lockers, desk/office and emergency exits etc.
  • Collect all their paperwork, for payroll, HR, Health & Safety and confirm their right to work (if you have not already done so).
  • Answer any queries about pay, hours and job expectations.
  • Introduce them to the rest of the team as well as other key members of your organisation.
  • Give them any items they will need to do their job – uniform, laptop, phone, ID card, locker etc.
  • Go over key company policies, safety & security, code of conduct.

There is a lot for a new member of staff to take in on day one.  Make sure they are able ask questions and know who to go to for more information.    You may decide to allocate your new member of staff a ‘buddy’ as a key contact for the first few weeks/months.

Week One

Your new employee will start to learn about your company, how it works and where their role fits in.

  • Check in with them regularly (daily) to find out ‘how it is going’.
  • Follow up on any missing information not available on day one.
  • Make arrangements to meet any key contacts not available on day one.
  • Organise any necessary training.
  • Respond to issues that arise quickly.

 Month One

During their first few weeks your new employee will continue to learn about your organisation and start to develop relationships with their work colleagues.   Support them in this by:

  • Getting feedback about your onboarding procedures. New employees provide a ‘fresh pair or eyes’ and can give you valuable information about how you do things.
  • Clarify and provide feedback about your expectations, using information performance and progress reviews.
  • Identify possible training needs and put in opportunities to learn (formally and informally).

Third Month

At this point your new member of staff should be able to work more independently as they become familiar with what to do and how to do it.

  • Get feedback about your employees first few weeks, what has gone well for them, and what has not.
  • Take the opportunity to formally talk to your employee about their progress. Give specific feedback about areas of success and what if any improvements are needed.
  • Identify any training needs and schedule learning opportunities

In many organisations this is the midpoint of the probationary period.   This is a good time to hear from your employee about their experience of joining you.   It also allows you to share with them your assessment of their progress to date.   You will be able to congratulate them on how far they have come and/or outline areas of concern along with what action is needed to address these.

Six Month

At the end of six months your employee should be able to do their normal daily tasks more or less independently.    For many organisations this marks the end of the formal probationary period, and it is at this point you can hold formal end of probationary period review meeting.  During this meeting you can either:

  • Confirm the probationary period
  • Extend the probationary period
  • Terminate the probationary period/employment

Confirmation a probationary period

  • At the meeting tell them they have passed their probationary period – congratulate them, tell them what they are doing well and any areas where they can continue to improve.
  • You may wish to write to confirm this discussion in writing.

Extend the probationary period

During the meeting discuss the current concerns you have about their performance.   Tell them you:

  • believe with more time they will meet the requirements for the role;

Cover any of the following which is relevant to the circumstances:

  • you have recorded they have had poor attendance/attitude, but you believe this could improve and explain if you feel this has been as a result of a particular set of circumstances.
  • you are not confident that they have received enough training to succeed; or
  • you acknowledge you haven’t communicated clearly enough where they need to improve; or
  • you haven’t communicated clearly enough what the possible outcome could be if they don’t improve

Be clear you are giving feedback to help the person – not to hurt or embarrass them.   Be specific and give examples about the issues you wish to talk about.    Help your employee to understand fully what your expectations are, give specific examples of underperformance where you can.   Create a plan of action to help your staff member will meet the standards required, including a time frame.

Finally, and most importantly give your employee the opportunity to ask questions and give you their feedback.   Listen carefully to what they have to say and take action where necessary.

Terminate the probationary period/employment

  • It is good practice to send a letter inviting the employee to a meeting, giving them the right to a companion.
  • Include details of what you are going to discuss and that a possible outcome of the meeting might be failing their probation period and leaving your employment.
  • Remember the employee can damage the reputation of your company – make sure you are comfortable you have treated them fairly.  Taking away someone’s job should never be done lightly.  Ask yourself: ‘Have you done all you can as their manager to try and make it work?’.
  • Sometimes it’s just not going to work and termination is the right action but be aware of any possible protected characteristics and if there is any risk.  Always seek advice before terminating.  Speak to Contact Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services for guidance and support.
  • Always follow up in writing and give the employee the right to appeal.


The process of successfully onboarding new recruits goes beyond the probation period.  Continue to ask for feedback about your organisation.  Give information about the employee’s overall progress all the time the person is working for you.

Successfully onboarding new recruits is the first step in the employee engagement process.   When employees are engaged, 87% of them are less likely to leave their company.   Furthermore, for companies who successfully onboard new recruits it is believed 69% of employees will stay for at least 3 years.  Why Onboarding Is Important and A Key To Success (2021) .

A stable workforce leads to higher productivity and lower recruitment/training costs.    When you take the time, at the start, to create a good employee/employer relationship you will see long term benefits for your organisation and staff.

For information on training managers in how to successfully onboard new recruits Contact Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services