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How to onboard like a boss...

How to onboard like a boss...

31 Oct 15:00 by Matthew Rollinson


Bringing a new member of the team on board in the right way has positive repercussions much further down the line than many have full appreciation of. However, in many cases it’s the one area that’s not fully capitalised on by managers looking to give that all important great first impression to the recruit that can be built on. Here’s a few low-cost or no-cost hacks to get it right every time.

Before and on first day:

  • Before first day, set up payroll, IT, phone, laptop, email (including the dreaded outlook POP3’s and IMAPS), and how you want signatures to look on outgoing mail.
  • Phone and voicemail setup, if possible business cards ordered and delivered in time for their first day
  • Name on company employee lists, and people they’ll meet made aware that someone new is to be joining the business, who they are and their role i.e. person on front desk / security / all team members
  • Ask a team member to buddy for the first few weeks of settling in, to help on any minor questions. Choose wisely who you ask, but this should in addition have a positive effect on the person asked to be given this responsibility, and be double win for the team
  • “what are you looking to get out of this opportunity” is a great over-coffee question and helps establish motivators and drivers now they are on board. Another benefit is asking this away from the pressure of an interview, you will likely get a richer answer on this than perhaps you may have a few weeks ago when you asked the identical same question 
  • All brand new equipment, laptops cost about £500 for a decent one, a phone is £300, a Bluetooth mouse £30, a chair £100. For less than £1,000 you can provide all of this kit and give a fresh clean set of tools for your new colleague to use. As much as laptops/phones form past colleagues may still work, just donate the old one to a local good cause. You’ll feel good, the employee will see tangible investment and your local good cause will benefit too. Win-win-win situation. You're spending tens of thousands on your new hire another thousand isn't going to hurt. 
  • However, if this is a stretch to do right now, a nice new mug, fresh keyboard and mouse (or other devices they'll have the most direct contact with) and a glass for water at the desk so they don’t need to use an old chipped one - does all have a similar effect.

At the end of the first week:

  • How’s it going, is the job as you thought it would be?
  • Has anything surprised you about the job / how we work here?
  • Do you think you have everything you need? (ask this at the end of the first and second week, then every single month into forever – equipment breaks we all know this but people don't always bring it up and can battle on with substandard kit, this can become an annoyance)
  • Has the initial training been ok and would you add or change anything?

Goal setting:

  • Goals should contain objectives, key results and regular reviews on progress. The old SMART methodology (strategic, measurable, achievable, realistic, timebound) never goes anywhere and will still be being used in 150 years time.
  • An objective focusses the mind and gives a sense of tangible achievement. Incorporate goals into the new hires objectives as soon as possible. First day is fine even if it’s just outlining the objectives you’re looking to get out of their initial tenure in the business which can be fully briefed on later.


People will invariably give back over and above what you give them, if treated well. I think everyone is better than they, or other people, think they are it just needs to be brought out. The emotional buy in that a few simple gestures can generate in onboarding can’t be overestimated, and if built upon will pay dividends when the time comes that you need the team to dig in and hit a target or get past a problem. Good luck!