Strategies for transitioning new hires to your team

onboarding is the process that helps new employees learn their jobs and assimilate into their new organizations. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) report Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success.

MORE than 25 percent of the U.S. population experiences career transition annually.

MOST managers take new positions every two to four years.

HALF of all hourly workers leave jobs within120 days, while half of senior outside hires fail within 18 months.


INFORMAL onboarding consists of employees learning about their new jobs without an organizational plan or written process. It may include job shadowing and knowledge exchange with key employees, mentoring and coaching with managers, and on-the-job training with existing employees.

FORMAL onboarding includes a sequence of procedures that take a new employee through the process of learning job tasks and office social norms. Activities can include: Web-based video orientations, e-tutorials, interval training planned so learning occurs at specifically planned junctures, team roundtables, and, finally, field experiences and product training with key vendors.


As shown in this SHRM equation, successful onboarding has long-term benefits…

    + Increasing retention rates by 52%

    – Reducing time to come to full productivity by 60%

    = Improving overall customer satisfaction by 53%


The most successful onboarding programs have one individual overseeing how the employee navigates the process, and all current employees are included in some of the activities. According to the SHRM, there are four elements that indicate a successful onboarding.

SELF CONFIDENCE in job performance, which effects organizational commitment.

ROLE CLARITY, making sure your new hire understands their role and expectations.

SOCIAL INTEGRATION, when an employee begins to establish healthy working relationships with existing employees.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE KNOWLEDGE, an understanding of your practice’s culture and how they fit into it. This is key to a new hire’s ability to support your principles, values, and mission.


Using onboarding to create beneficial relationships with new hires helps you avoid top-down “my way or the highway” constructs. Instead, it sets the expectation of professional development that leads to increased performance, motivation, job satisfaction, commitment, and lowered turnover.

— Ginamarie Wells

Ginamarie Wells, Ph.D., is senior director of client services of Cleinman Performance partners, a business consultancy specializing in the development of high-performance optometry practices. ©2014 Cleinman Performance Partners, Inc.