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  • Writer's pictureLeah Yeatts

Elevate Your Onboarding: Where to Start

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Strategically onboarding new employees can have a significant impact on your business’s success. It's often easy to see that there is room for improvement, but it’s more difficult to know where to start when you want to improve new hires' onboarding experience. Consider the following steps as you begin the process.

1. Define the desired outcomes

This first step is often skipped, but it is extremely important because it helps ensure your efforts have maximum impact. The onboarding team must work with senior leaders to determine exactly what outcomes you are working toward, and prioritize these outcomes accordingly. These desired results should clearly align with the business’s strategic and financial goals. Onboarding outcomes may include reduced turnover, an increase in new hires’ level of performance, improvement in new hires’ time to productivity, an increase in engagement, or other goals.

2. Discover what’s working

The second step is to carefully analyze what you’re already doing that is effective. Perhaps you have a fantastic new employee orientation, or a great new hire mentor program. Interview and survey recent hires and their managers to find out if current programs are accomplishing what they are intended to do. This analysis will serve as the foundation upon which you can build your new onboarding program.

3. Determine the gaps

Third, identify gaps between what you’re trying accomplish (the desired outcomes) and what you’re currently providing. According to new hires, their managers, and those affected by their work, what holes need to be filled? At Lever, we use our proprietary Launch-Learn-Link framework to guide our gap analysis, but you may use another model. Whenever possible, have an external party complete this analysis. New hires are much more likely to provide honest feedback when speaking confidentially to a third party, as opposed to an internal colleague.

4. Develop an action plan

Fourth, write an action plan that details how to fill the gaps and elevate the onboarding experience. Explain specifically what components need to be created or modified and who will be responsible for each. If budget or timeline is tight, consider a phased approach that prioritizes the most critical items first. Include an implementation plan, including how the program will be administered.

By completing the steps above, you’ll have a great start in your efforts to elevate your onboarding and impact your business.


Are you ready to elevate your onboarding? Click here to download our free guide: Elevate Your Onboarding: How to Create an Onboarding Experience That Delivers Results, or contact us to discuss further. Our principal consultant, Leah Yeatts, offers complimentary, one-hour, virtual consultations. Schedule by emailing her at


To learn more about how onboarding impacts your business, check out our principal consultant's guest blog post at RCP Learning: Strategic Onboarding: Why It Matters.

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