Starting a new job has its own hurdles. New hires face multiple challenges, learning new processes, new systems, and even new faces. The importance of a strong, well thought-out onboarding program allows for you to better prepare newly sourced talent for the requirements of whatever position you are trying to fill.

An employee onboarding program sets the foundation for someone just joining your organization to learn the required skills and information needed to become a productive member of the team. Companies that fail to successfully introduce workers to the basic knowledge and performance requirements can quickly underutilize or lose top talent.

Enable, Enlighten, and Impassion your Employees

“While it should come as no surprise that an effective onboarding process should include tactical items such as the completion of new hire paperwork and the provisioning of employee tools,” says Jessica Stephenson, vice president of marketing and service operations for ExactHire. “it must address the cultural activities that help a new employee feel welcome, too. As you plan for change in your organization, examine opportunities to: enable; enlighten; and, impassion employees.”

Offering Human Resource Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, ExactHire provides their clients with hiring and succession planning needs. This small, agile company can quickly respond to their client’s needs with U.S. based support team and HR resources.

“Enable your employees to be productive as soon as possible by preparing them for employment; gathering the necessary administrative documents with ease; and, providing them with the equipment, tools and resources necessary to carry out the responsibilities of their role in the most efficient way possible,” suggests Stephenson.

For job shops and machine shops, this would include any equipment manuals, safety data sheets, or other applicable training on equipment. Learn what the employee knows and doesn’t know about the job at hand. Employers should not assume a new hire knows everything, but also take into account their prior experience.

“Enlighten new hires about the opportunity that exists with your organization by reinforcing their reasons for choosing you, and educating them about the potential career options available,” explains Stephenson.

Stephenson says this is when one can establish responsibilities, performance expectations, and timelines. Knowledge of long-term opportunities helps with retaining your newly sourced talent. Mentorship programs, especially relating to fabricators and metalworkers, are key to passing on skills being lost with the growing skills gap.

“Job passion will grow when employees are challenged in productive ways,” says Stephenson.

5 Steps to a Successful Onboarding Program

  1. Prepare Your Team
    It might be easy to overlook this first step, and employers should keep in mind that it isn’t just a new worker stepping onto the shop room floor, but a new person to your current workforce. Let them know the position the new hire will be filling, what responsibilities they will be handling, and any other relevant or applicable information. This will better allow your staff to adjust for any upcoming changes in workflow. Some senior members of your team may be taken away from duties to facilitate training, for example.This is also a good opportunity for you to prepare any workstation or production cell that your new talent will be working at. Have all necessary tools and equipment ready for them to start their new job.
  2. Prepare Your New Hire
    Be sure to have any necessary paperwork prepared prior to starting or ready to go at the starting date. Provide the new employee with any relevant information such as clocking-in procedures, and daily protocols. Ensure that access has been granted to digital systems, such as your company ERP system for inventory. Introduce your new worker to their job environment and fellow co-workers. Give them the necessary means to begin working for you.A new hire that is fully prepared to handle their required job will allow them to quickly gain confidence in their new position. This is a time for new employees to communicate their own prior knowledge and skills that might be applicable.
  3. Give Your New Hire Time to Learn
    While training may take critical personnel away from their own daily tasks, giving your new hire the time to be fully trained and learn how the shop should run is critical to getting them up to speed. Detail any required tasks, maintenance procedures, and safety information related to their job function. Nurture a strong work ethic and allow the new employee to grow into their position.
  4. Plan a Casual Team Meeting
    Whether a team lunch or other small meeting, plan a time when the entire team, new hire included, can have a casual get together. This is an opportunity to get to know one another and learn more about your fellow coworkers. Make the new hire feel that they are a new valued addition to the team. Colleagues can share their personal insights from when they were in their position and give tips on what pitfalls to avoid.
  5. Follow Up with Periodic Review
    Most companies have in place a 30, 60, and 90-day review of any new hire. This allows employers to track progress of their new employee, compliment any improvements, and address any issues of performance. Evaluations can be key opportunities of communicating the needs of the business, promote upcoming job opportunities that might be available, and gives the worker and opportunity to give their own personal insights on the job.

Statistics to Consider

A recent study performed by Mercer, a provider of comprehensive information and analytical tools to help organizations with all of their talent needs, gave valuable insight on retention rates in North America. The national average of total separations from a company was 32 percent. Voluntary turnover accounted for 14 percent of reasons why an employee separated from a company.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. Furthermore, organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity. Take the steps now to ensure you have a strong onboarding program.

About ExactHire

Founded in 2007 by two veterans of the hiring and human resource management side of business, ExactHire has quickly grown into a uniquely-positioned provider of lean SaaS solutions–and, it has done so without the help of outside investors and venture capital.

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About Mercer

Around the world, Mercer helps clients drive their performance through talent. From strategy to implementation, Mercer works closely with our clients to help them forecast their talent needs, engage their employees, mobilize their workforce, reward performance, assess talent, and develop employee skills.

For more information, visit

About the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates.

For more information, visit