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Onboarding best practices

Onboarding is the first opportunity employers have to make a positive and lasting impression on new recruits. And because hiring highly skilled workers in creative, marketing, and digital sectors is no easy feat, it is in an organization's best interest to prioritize the onboarding experience so they can hold on to that valuable talent. 

Failing to focus on new employees’ onboarding experience can create a significant financial burden on companies. Our latest Talent Retention Report showed that 93% of respondents in a job less than six months said that they were already thinking about leaving for a new opportunity. Hiring can be a complex process, so if you’ve invested money, time, and resources to recruit, hire and train a new employee, you don’t want to have to restart that process all over again. 

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Here are some onboarding best practices to help you build lasting relationships with your new employees. 


Once you’ve made the offer and the candidate has accepted, it’s helpful to take care of as many of the logistics as soon as possible. This often involves getting employee accounts set up, equipment ready, and any paperwork that can be completed ahead of time. Getting some of these administrative tasks out of the way early will give you more time to properly train and develop new recruits in those first few days.

If the role is remote, consider mailing some company swag to new employees as a “welcome to the team” gesture. A coffee mug, a daily planner, some high-quality pens, branded stickers, or a tote bag are all nice options. These small tokens of appreciation sent before your new hire officially starts can help to build a strong and early foundation in your employee-employer relationship. 


Before your new employee’s start date, work with others in your department to create an onboarding checklist. This should include scheduling any 1:1 meetings with managers and team members, formal new hire orientation sessions, any outstanding HR paperwork, time with IT to go over systems and logins, and any other necessary training.  

The onboarding checklist should also schedule 30-, 60-, and 90-day evaluations and feedback sessions giving managers and employees opportunities to discuss benchmarks and keep the communication loop continuous. 

Go over this onboarding checklist with your new employee on their first day to give them a roadmap for how the first few weeks or months will look.


Your employee’s first week is your opportunity to help them start building positive momentum and a sense of community. 

Welcome your new employee on their first day with an email introducing them to the organization or department. Include their headshot and some background information on who they are and what experience they’ll bring to the table. 

Schedule a team meeting that first day to welcome your new employee more intimately to their direct team. And from there, look at getting 1:1 meet and greets on the calendar that first week between your new employee and other key team members they’ll be working closely with.

Managers should make sure they have a few 1:1 meetings with new employees scheduled within that first week. These could be used to go over the onboarding checklist in more detail, answer any immediate questions, explain expectations and benchmarks, and go over the company hierarchy to give a rundown on who they should go to for what.


Employee engagement is a critical part of the onboarding process and assigning new employees with a work buddy or peer mentor is a great way to start building a sense of community. 

Assigning a work buddy can give new employees a better understanding of their role and how their work will contribute to their team and the company’s success. 

It can also be helpful for new employees to have peers they can turn to with questions they might be nervous to ask of their manager or supervisor. While a work buddy may not be able to always answer every question, chances are they can help direct the employee on where to go for the answers they need.


Feedback is of paramount importance in your new employee’s first few weeks and months. As new employees start to take on their own projects, managers should focus on giving regular feedback on where employees are doing well and where they need to improve and grow. 

Feedback should be specific and seen as an opportunity to help your new employees grow. If there is an area that needs improvement, consider asking your new hires what tools or resources you could provide to help them get there. If feedback is positive, consider sharing new employees’ wins with the group. This is a great way to help lift new employees up and make them feel like they’re part of something larger.


The early efforts you put in to win over new talent should not fall to the wayside once new employees' wrap up those first 30, 60, or 90 days. “Recruit to retain” is a key theme from our latest Talent Retention Report because while onboarding may be where the retention journey begins, holding on to top talent requires continuous proactivity from managers.


While we can’t onboard employees for you, the specialized recruiters at 24 Seven can help you find creative, marketing, and digital talent to help you build your teams. If you’re looking to hire, contact a 24 Seven recruiter today.