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Onboarding Programs for New Hires – Part 1

(Part 1 of 2)

According to (in a definition taken from Onboarding: How To Get Your New Employees Up To Speed In Half The Time, Authors: George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut, Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, 2009): “Onboarding is the process of acquiring, accommodating, assimilating and accelerating new team members, whether they come from outside or inside the organization.”

Let’s break down the processes of successful onboarding – which includes getting the right people in the door in the first place.

  • Acquire
  • Accommodate
  • Assimilate
  • Accelerate


The acquire process focuses on identifying, recruiting, selecting, and hiring individuals to join the organization.  It is important to have a strategic plan in place to ensure the right individuals are recruited at the right time – meaning – you get the right people, with the rights skills and experience, when you need them.  Plan sufficient time to ensure the individuals you hire have the necessary time to get acclimated to the company.  So, if you know you need someone to work in the finance department within the next 8 – 12 months, start planning now:

  • to identify the skills that the individual needs to be successful in the role
  • to develop a recruiting plan on how you will source the appropriate individual
  • to develop a selection and interviewing plan – who in the company should be a part of the interviewing team
  • to ensure the individual is hired with sufficient time to get up to speed in the job

By waiting too long, you begin to feel pressured to fill a position and may settle for a candidate that may not be the right fit for the company.


The accommodate process focuses on ensuring that new hires have the tools they need to get started in the company.  For example, enabling new hires to complete employment forms online rather than having the forms paper-based.  By ensuring that this process is as simplified as possible, there is less risk to incomplete data being captured which could cause a risk to the company at a later date.  This also includes providing new hires all the information they need to make decisions on important items such as:

  • Medical and dental benefits
  • 401K
  • Life insurance
  • Short and long term disability
  • HR contact
  • Vacation days/sick days/paid holidays

Many larger companies include this information on a company intranet (portal) site where employees can login to access their personnel information and find out information about the benefits provided by the company.


The assimilate process focuses on assisting new hires with getting acclimated to the company and their new role and ensuring they are comfortable.  This includes providing the new hire with information about the company:

  • Company history
  • Information on all the company’s products and services
  • Organizational chart
  • Documentation on processes and procedures
  • Departments/business units
  • Contacts at all locations
  • His/her department contacts and an organization chart specific to the new hire’s department

Introduce the new hire to others who are performing the same or a similar role within the organization – ensure the employees spend time talking with the new hire about the role and its challenges.  This will provide the new hire with individuals that he/she can call on when questions arise and provide the new hire with more confidence about their new role.

Introduce the new hire to everyone they will interact and work with on a regular basis.  Let them get to know each other.  In this way, the new hire feels like he/she already has some friends within the company and will be more comfortable in his/her role and feel a part of the organization.

Make sure the new hire has a “go to” person at the company – someone in their department or business unit  who the new hire can go to with questions and concerns.


The accelerate process focuses on ensuring that the new hire is ready to go on day one.  This may include:

  • Having the new hire’s office space set up with a computer, office supplies, phone, etc.  (One company I worked for set up a week’s worth of lunches with various company employees and ensured that on the first day of work each new hire had a vase of fresh flowers on the desk.)
  • Assigning a mentor to the new hire to help his/her for the first 30 or 60 days on the job.
  • Ensuring all login information is set up and the new hire is trained on the systems.
  • Having someone in the office show them around and make introductions.

What have companies you worked for done to help new hires get up to speed as quickly as possible?

What could they have done better?

What other ways can you think of to help a new hire get acclimated to the company and his/her new role?

Please share with others in the Comments field below.

The next post will focus on a case study of an onboard training program for new hires at a financial services company.