14 Ways To Help New Hires Reach Their Highest Potential

Your new staff member won’t be able to start for another 30 days but that doesn’t mean it’s way too early to begin their onboarding process with the company. To ensure the highest success rate and avoid a future turnover, it’s also important to develop an effective strategy to ensure they’ll be able to thrive beyond orientation day and those initial few weeks of training.

Below 14 Forbes Human Resources Council members share their ideas to coach and equip your latest office hire with the tools needed to do their job properly and exemplify the company’s overall mission and goals.

1. Develop An Onboarding Plan 

The onboarding plan should be developed by HR and the manager. It should include a general plan that incorporates the company’s culture, business strategy, policies, procedures, tools and systems. The onboarding plan should also include a functional plan with functional goals, organization charts, KPIs and stakeholders. A new employee should have a buddy who checks in regularly. – Ochuko Dasimaka, Career Heights Consulting, Inc.

2. Ask For Honest Feedback in Multiple Channels

I’ve instituted a seven- and 30-day pulse survey to ensure we’re getting feedback about the onboarding process and gaps in knowledge or understanding to know where new employees need support. It’s also part of the leader’s cadence of discussions to ensure that there is a safe space for feedback. A retrospective after three months also supports improved processes. – Rob Catalano, WorkTango

3. Ask For Feedback

Lessons learned is a great strategy that we use which asks the people who just went through it for suggestions or praise. Institute an entry survey for your new hires. Once your new hires are officially onboarded and trained, ask them what they liked, what they disliked, and other ways to improve the process. Get comfortable asking new employees for feedback to refine your process. Top-down guidance with bottom-up refinement. – Greg Henderson, Whirks

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4. Engage New Hires In Your Product’s Lifecycle

Ensure that your new hire is well versed in the company’s offering or product. One way to accomplish this is for new hires to shadow the product life cycle during their first week, this also provides the opportunity to connect early on with coworkers in all areas of the business. – Caroline Faulds, Canada Pooch

5. Support New Employees With Accessible Training Resources

Providing new employees with easy access to training materials, and assigning them a mentor to answer questions as they get acclimated to their new roles, can help prevent them from feeling like they need to learn everything all at once. Giving new hires permission to ask questions, and a specific person to ask who is available throughout the onboarding process always makes for a smooth transition. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.

6. Provide A Digital Communications Home Base

New hires need a home base that is easily searchable and accessible with all company information, news, and assets. An AI-powered intranet that serves as their single source of truth and delivers the right content based on their usage will help them learn fast and become efficient early. – Tammy Harper, CAI

7. Use The Work ‘Buddy’ System

Pair new employees with a work “buddy” who is trained to serve as a sounding board, answer questions and conduct regular check-ins. Much of the knowledge in organizations is acquired via informal communications and relationships. Having someone internally that understands how things work will provide reassurance and confidence to the new employee. – Olga Sanchez, GFR Services

8. Start The Onboarding Process Early

The more onboarding that can be done before new employees begin their first day, the more prepared they will be. Now that the world has gone virtual, employers have many opportunities to acquaint new hires with the company’s culture and processes online. Virtual tours, meet-and-greets with teams via Zoom and tutorials on company software can allow new hires to hit the ground running on their first day. – John Feldmann, Insperity

9. Start The Conversation

Do not wait for new hires to ask questions. Instead, check on them on a regular basis, pay attention to them and make sure they do not look lost. Get to know the new hire so they feel comfortable talking to you. – Melissa Bolton, JB Martin


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10. Conduct An HR New Hire Check-In

We have an HR check-in with each new hire three weeks after their DOH. We ask what we (HR) or their manager could have done differently with their onboarding if they are receiving the training and resources that they need to do their jobs effectively and what they feel like we got right! If training is lacking or additional resources are needed, we make those adjustments quickly! – Sherrie LeCheminant, Blackstone Products

11. Extend The Onboarding Process Beyond Orientation

Ensure that onboarding extends beyond a one to three-day orientation. We provide a six-month roadmap and offer access to a new hire portal so they can access tools and knowledge as and when they need it. Together with this, we provide a buddy from pre-boarding to help them navigate the organization and ask any questions. – Paul Phillips, Avanade

12. Implement The 30-, 60-, 90-Day Check-In Strategy 

Checking in with new hires after their 30-, 60- and 90-day milestones is a helpful strategy for both the employee and the manager. As the employee gets more comfortable in the role, they will naturally figure out what may be missing from their knowledge toolkit. Having a scheduled check-in through the early onboarding phase allows for a collaborative feedback session which ultimately lends itself to a more successful and supportive environment. – Amy Odeneal, Business Enablement

 13. Reexamine The Company’s Business Operations

Create an onboarding plan that focuses on understanding the business and how it operates. We have a “Client Service Onboarding Program” that every new hire goes through, at all levels. This program includes systems training, learning our voice and tone and meetings across the organization to network and fully understand client support. After two weeks, we shift gears and start focusing on their role. – Leigh Yanocha, Knopman Marks Financial Training

14. Share Some Inside Knowledge

There is a difference between the explicit knowledge that can be found in SOPs, rules, etc. There is the tacit knowledge that explains “how things are run around here.” What are the intricacies of a position and what are the relationships between stakeholders? Thus, it is important to draw the stakeholders a map and focus on the untold stories that could influence the success of an onboardee. – Philippe Clarinval, Carlton Hotel St. Moritz

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