Help New Team Members land well with an AWESOME Onboarding Experience

How would you rate the effectiveness of your onboarding process?

There is no better way to say “we don’t really care about you” than by prioritizing other work over the success of new team members. On the flip side, an awesome onboarding experience pays dividends to everyone involved. Joiners will stay, team performance is higher and relationships get built more quickly.

Did I make the right decision? Do I like these people? Do they like me? Am I competent in this role? Am I seen as worthy?

We can all relate to this inner dialogue — the insecurities and stresses of joining a new group can wreak havoc on even the most confident individuals. Setting clear expectations and conveying the inner workings of the team go a long way in making new colleagues feel secure. What are you doing to convey your company culture and make new joiners feel a part of it? Compare these two examples:

Our onboarding process ensures every new team member has the supplies they need, understands the job and integrates into the team by the end of their first week.


By the end of our onboarding process every new joiner believes there is no better place to work. They are fully participating, contributing and meeting commitments. They feel like they’ve found their tribe.

Can you feel the difference?

Make no mistake, onboarding and integration are not the same thing. Shift your focus from getting your new colleague working “like us” (aka integrating.) Instead ask, “How fast can we create an environment for new joiners to be fully contributing as themselves?”

Meetings and conversations with candidates are a goldmine of information in helping shape an awesome onboarding experience.

The onboarding process starts long before a candidate accepts your offer. Pay close attention in interviews to what this individual enjoys, their passions and their interests. These tiny nuggets can be turned into meaningful moments. Does your new team member love sports? Schedule a lunch with someone on the team who shares that passion. Look for unique opportunities to help them bond.

Essential onboarding tools

2. Onboarding Checklist — A checklist allows new joiners to own their experience. When done right, this living, breathing artifact improves with input from every new team member and serves as a comprehensive master list. Move beyond documents and spreadsheets by trying a tool like Trello.

3. Buddies — You may already be incorporating mentorship into your onboarding process. Consider amping up the responsibilities of the buddy role by making them 100% responsible for the success and engagement of their new joiner. See how the social media management company Buffer goes a step further by assigning multiple buddies, each with a specific role.

No one cares more about the joiner’s onboarding than he or she does…

..So have them take charge of their onboarding process. Give them the checklist on their first day. Leverage their buddy as an accountability partner and someone who can raise a red flag if things start going off the rails.

So now how would you rate the effectiveness of your onboarding process?

More importantly, how would your recent joiners rate it? Less than 8 out of 10? If so, it’s time to turn your attention to bringing new joiners into your team and culture with gusto. Invest in stepping up the awesomeness by a notch or two or ten. Experiment with new additions to the process. Invite the team to get creative. Before long your investment will begin paying dividends.

For more insights, pick up a copy of Reinventing Scale-Ups by Brent Lowe (that’s me), Susan Basterfield and Travis Marsh and turn to chapter 13. You can find Reinventing Scale-Ups on Amazon. If you are feeling stuck and need some ideas, reach out! We’d love to hear about your experiences and share some of our own.