Onboarding Process Do’s and Don’ts

You’ve done it! You’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes, interviewed dozens of people, narrowed your choices down, and made the decision on whom to hire. Well done!

Before you pat yourself on the back and consider your work over, you need to onboard your new team member. Done correctly, onboarding your new hire(s) will get them up to speed on their position, have them working productively, and make them feel like an integral part of the company.

Here are a few of our best practices for onboarding success.


  • Start out with the candidate(s) who fits your company culture.You may interview a candidate who has the technical skills required for the position, but if they aren’t a good fit for your company culture, no amount of training or onboarding is going to make them fit. Hire to your culture, and everything else will fall into place.
  • Have a well-documented onboarding process.Ensure that everyone involved with onboarding is familiar with the process. Create a checklist that covers every item that will be reviewed, and the order that it will occur. Include this during your first day orientation so your new hire knows what to expect.
  • Make a great first impression.Be prepared for the new hire’s first day, and make sure their workspace is clean, set up and ready to use. Block your time so you can focus on the new hire without interruption. Have another team member available to work with the new hire if you need to be in a meeting.
  • Assign an office mentor.The new hire will learn faster if they can “shadow” someone for their first few weeks and have a “go-to” person for general questions.
  • Schedule down-time each day.Too much information can be overwhelming. Provide breaks of “quiet” time in the schedule so your new hire can absorb the material they’ve been shown.
  • Make it fun.Plan a lunch or other fun activity to break the ice to help build camaraderie with the team.



  • Overwhelm the new hire with paperwork.Ideally, have new hire paperwork sent electronically a few days before the start date so it can be completed in advance.
  • Think that new hire orientation is a substitute for onboarding. These are very different processes. Orientation typically covers HR policies, such as PTO, dress code, office keys, security items, and where to park. Onboarding focuses on doing a deep-dive into what makes your company unique, provides training, sets expectations, builds a sense of purpose, and shows off the company culture.
  • Hurry the process.Onboarding can span several weeks. This is your opportunity for the new hire to learn about your company from top to bottom, and see your culture in action.
  • Forget to introduce key people. To create a great impression, introduce your new hire to your management team leaders and CEO on Day 1, if possible. Make the new hire feel like they are an integral part of the company.
  • Be vague.Don’t assume your new hire understands what their position is all about. Have a thorough discussion about the job description, performance metrics and related measuring techniques to help the new team member understand what is expected and how their performance will be measured.

By following these steps, you will have your new hire up to speed, working productively, and contributing to the overall success of your company.

Micah Laughlin

Micah Laughlin is the founder of Canvas IT and a leader in technology management services, supporting organizations of all sizes and helping them to thrive in spite of IT challenges and organizational changes. His first-hand experience with Service Desk Outsourcing companies led him to create a better way of doing IT outsourcing, the way he’d want it done. Today his philosophy carries on at Canvas IT as he creates a custom solution for each client just the way they’d want it done. Micah’s service desk management philosophy has supported dozens of growing businesses, adding value to the IT services they provide. Prior to founding Canvas IT, Micah spent more than 24 years managing IT operations – with 18 spent balancing the need for open, flexible systems with the restrictions of the highly-regulated healthcare industry.

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