Onboarding That Actually Keeps People On Board

In a staffing crisis, when there are more open positions than there are applicants and new hires are quickly leaving, it’s easy to point the finger and say we just need to hire better people. While it’s true that we must hire the right people, it’s worth a look inward as well to make sure our organization is a great place to work.

Poor onboarding is one way many companies miss the mark and send their new hires right back out the door. The ‘sink or swim’ model is no longer effective, so simply throwing them into the deep end and seeing who survives won’t produce the team we need. People aren’t going to stick around if they feel like they were set up to fail.

Since new hires are the greatest flight risk, no matter their age, we ought to put more effort into a better onboarding process. Even though our to-do lists are already jam-packed these days, doing so will be an investment that will provide us with longer tenure for those new folks we really need to stick around.

Here are four simple onboarding strategies that will better equip and support our new hires:

  • Start making onboarding checklists. What do people need to learn or be exposed to on day one? Week one? Month one? Even in quarter one? After those lists are created, dive deeper with sub-checklists. What does a brand-new person to their position need to know versus someone who had the same position at another organization? Managers need to own the onboarding process. After the first few days of compliance work with HR is over, managers and supervisors must take over. Realize it takes months for full integration into any organization.
  • Genuinely check-in. Anytime you want to do a drive-by check-in (a quick “Hey, how are things? Good? Good! Okay, gotta run!”), remind yourself to stop and actually talk. This tip goes for all your people, but especially your new hires. Make sure those who are brand new on your staff know you have time for them, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes.
  • Create a ‘Get-to-Know-You’ sheet. While you can’t ask personal questions in an interview, after being hired, get to know your new hires on a more personal level if they’re open to it. What are their hobbies? Do they have kids or pets and what are their names? What is their favorite snack or gift card preference when you want to say thanks? Show intentionality in finding out more about the unique person who has just joined your team.
  • Most importantly, do not let anyone on your staff “eat their young”! You’ll never get the staffing stability you need if you allow existing staff to haze new hires. Remember, new hires are the greatest flight risk, so a seasoned employee handing them the grunt work or outdated equipment will push them right out the door.How do you handle a person on your team who is “eating your young”? Here are some suggestions:
  1. Coach the person who is being negative. Let them know that their behavior is unacceptable and the team can’t afford for new hires to be pushed away.
  2. If that doesn’t fix the problem, separate them from the new hires.
  3. If that doesn’t fix the problem, separate them from the organization. Turnover costs 10s of thousands of dollars and that person is doing more harm than good for the company.

Don’t let a bad first impression be the reason for a staffing crisis. Likely, your organization truly is a great place to work. Let it show through a welcoming, informative, and supportive onboarding process.


Your leaders must understand today’s new workforce and prioritize retention initiatives. The good news is, at Magnet Culture, shifting manager mindsets and creating better leaders is all we do. Don’t lose the talent you can’t afford to. Contact our Workforce Retention Strategists today!

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