Starting Your Sellers Right: 9 Steps To Successful Onboarding


(By Rick Fink) Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the idiom “start on the right foot” as “to begin a relationship well.” Today, hiring good people is a challenge in itself; keeping them is a whole different ballgame.

When it comes to hiring and adding new people to your sales team, it’s imperative that have not just a good start, but a GREAT start.

In the human resources world, bringing on a new employee is referred to as “onboarding.” A definition of onboarding is “the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization.”

A new employee should never show up to work on their first day and sit around for an hour trying to make themselves useful because the manager didn’t have a plan or wasn’t prepared.

An article by Process Street, an onboarding company, quoted a survey that stated, “Employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay with an organization for 3 years,” and, “15% of employees said the lack of an effective onboarding program aided in their decision to quit.”

Don’t confuse onboarding with orientation. Orientation is a one-time event. Onboarding is a series of formal, well-planned training programs and events that start the day they are hired and can last from one month up to a full year. A good onboarding and training program only needs to be created one time, then it can be used over and over with only minor tweaks going forward.

Here are nine steps for successful onboarding:

Reach out to new hires before their start date. If you have no communication with the new employee between the time you hired them and the day they show up to work, you are already sending the wrong message. A simple phone call a few days before their start date to tell them you are excited to have them as part of your team can go a long way to making them feel welcome. As much paperwork as possible should be provided and completed before their first day, including providing them with the company handbook.

Make the first day memorable. Their first day should be one of their best days.

  • Have their desk or work area ready for them, including business cards printed.
  • Have their welcome package waiting for them, i.e. company clothing, a note from the President or other executive staff, etc.
  • Flowers or a plant on their desk or work area.
  • Provide a dinner and/or movie gift card for them to take their partner out. (Including their spouse or friend only adds another cheerleader for them and your company.)
  • Schedule a lunch with new hires and co-workers. (On the company’s dime)

Meet the entire team. Set in advance specific times within the first 2-weeks to meet and spend time with every department head. Regardless if they ever deal directly with them, every employee must know what the company does. Your employees should be able to tell “your story” and be the greatest promoters of your company.

Provide clear expectations and monitor and communicate them often. Employees want to know what to do and how they are doing. One of the main reasons people leave a company is that they never felt they knew what was expected of them.

Shadow fellow employees. Pick your top promoters from each department within your company and have the new employee spend time with them (1/2 day or full day). Not only will they learn what others do, but hopefully they will be on their way to becoming a cheerleader for your company as well.

Have a clear hour-by-hour agenda/training planned for the first two weeks. (1 month if possible.) If your company provides ongoing training, getting the new employee up to speed with the others as quickly as possible is paramount. This will include, reading, videos, audio, meeting with other employees, etc. Anything and everything so that they are exposed to and know what the other employees know.

Regular updates and reviews. Employees want to know how they are doing. Let them know in advance that on specific dates (two weeks, one month, two months, six months, etc.) they will meet with someone to provide feedback on their performance.

Promote your new employee(s) to the public. One way to promote your company as a positive place to work is to promote your new employees to the general public. You can do this via your local radio stations, social media platforms, direct mail, etc.

Request feedback from new employees. One of the biggest reasons people leave a company is that they feel their opinion doesn’t matter or that they don’t feel like part of the team. At specific dates, (one month, three months, six months) ask the new employee for their positive and negative feedback on the onboarding process and other things about the company. You will learn a lot.

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!

Rick Fink from ENS Media can be reached at 605-310-2062 or at [email protected]. Read Rick’s Radio Ink archives here.



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