When new hires join a company, they want to feel supported, empowered, and valued from day 1. That’s why it’s essential for hiring teams to share the right information and resources during the first year on the job. Yes - you read that right - we said year. While the standard 30-60-90 onboarding approach can be a useful starting point, it’s important to recognize that onboarding is not a one-time event, but a continuous blend of process and experience. A better onboarding experience has been linked to higher retention, greater employee engagement, and increased company revenue growth, to name a few. Plus, new hires need time to adjust, especially in a constantly-changing workplace. Going beyond the default 30-60-90 day framework may be a change in thinking, but can help your newest hires feel better supported, engaged, and empowered to contribute to the company’s success.
Below is our guide in how you can get started and all of the topics needed to share with your new hires in their first year. Read on!
Before Day 1
Share anything to quell their nerves
Preboarding is something we’re intimately familiar with at Abode (if haven’t see our platform in action yet, check it out here!). “Preboarding” acts as the bridge between offer and day 1. A good rule of thumb at this stage is to prepare your new recruits and drum up excitement for their new role. Outline how things work, and general expectations for the first week. Share things like:
- What time to arrive
- How to get to the office and/or how to navigate office building
- Where to park
- What to bring (will office supplies be provided? Do I need to bring lunch on my first day?)
- Office dress code
- Who they’ll be meeting
- Who to contact with questions
Get a head start on paperwork
Sharing any paperwork or required documentation ahead of time can help facilitate a smooth transition between preboarding and onboarding. Plus, it helps both candidates and hiring teams better prepare for day 1. If you’re able, share paperwork and expected processes around:
- Tax forms (I9, W4, etc.)
- Benefit enrollment forms
- Direct deposit forms
- Any company-specific paperwork (employee handbook, NDAs, compliance policies, etc.)
Day 1 through 3 months
Outline company benefits & perks
Detail benefits and perks, including health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation policies. Explain how to enroll in benefits or retirement plans, request and use vacation time, etc. Questions to address include:
- Do you offer unlimited or accrued PTO?
- Parental leave?
- Office equipment stipends?
- Retirement planning?
- Flexible or remote work?
- Paid volunteer opportunities?
- Health insurance? Life insurance?
- Do you offer a wellness programs?
- Summer Fridays?
Helping new hires assimilate, adapt to company norms and values, understand organizational history and brand, and build community is crucial in furthering organizational onboarding and buy in to your culture. Some ideas to get you started:
- Training your employees on company culture
- Sharing company’s mission statement, vision for future, and core values, explaining how these guide decision-making and culture.
- Connect them to company “heroes,” or “buddies,” other high-performing, model employees
- Identify 7-10 people (superiors, peers, direct reports, internal contacts, etc.) to connect and help new hires understand how team works together
- Education on company-wide policies
- Educate them on company-wide policies or initiatives, such as ERGs
- Educate on specific industry or company-wide terms, acronyms, etc.
- Outline the communication channels used within the company (email, instant messaging, video conferencing, project management, etc.) including who to contact for specific issues and how to use the preferred communication tools.
Provide a detailed overview of their job responsibilities and clear accountabilities, including specific tasks, projects, or goals they will be expected to complete and any metrics they will be evaluated on. Help them understand how their work fits into the greater team. Set specific goals and deadlines and provide regular feedback.
- What does success look like?
- Consider setting up weekly touch base or coaching sessions
- Set up early wins for new hires and gradually increase their level of responsibility
Months 3 through 6
The 3-6 month period is a great time to assess how new hires are adjusting to their position. The initial frenzy of the first 90 days has subsided so you can gain valuable insights into your new employee, managerial approach, and company culture impact by asking a few feedback-oriented questions. Foster self-awareness by starting with questions like:
- What surprised you the most during the first 3 months on the job?
- What might you do differently from an onboarding perspective?
- Tell us about your best day at work so far, and your worst day at work so far
- Have you made friends at work?
- Is this role what you thought it would be?
- How would you grade yourself so far and why?
- How can we help you succeed?
Consider a performance check in
Performance reviews can be incredible helpful for employees in their first 4-6 months because it provides a valuable way to evaluate their progress towards goals and develop a plan to build upon strengths and address weaknesses. By providing a more strucutuer way to evaluate performance, new hires can feel more supported and engaged in their new role. Consider the following topics to explore in a 6-month check in:
- Clarify expectations
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
- Encourage ongoing feedback
- Support career development opportunities and career aspirations
- Build a positive relationship with manager
Help new hires build relationships
Continue offering new employees support via developing strong relationships with their colleagues. If you assigned a more casual onboarding buddy, consider pairing your new hires with a mentor at this time. Although an onboarding buddy can help your new hire with questions, mentors can help with additional career development, direction, networking, and adjustment to company culture. Teach growth and facilitating connections through the following:
- Creating or integrating an official mentorship program
- Expanding your new hire’s notion of their team to other departments or branches
- Plan team building activities to help new hires interact with other colleagues in a more relaxed setting
- Engage them in priority projects to help widen the scope of their responsibilities and daily tasks
Provide consistent check ins
Between 6-12 months, organizations should ensure new hires remain engaged, motivated, and satisfied in their role. Provide opportunities for them to provide input, contribute to company initiatives, and list next steps or metrics to be reached by the one-year mark. Topics to discuss include:
- Performance expectations and feedback
- Skill development opportunities
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Cross or inter-company networking opportunities
- Company updates
Training and development opportunities
At this point, it’s a good idea to continually discuss your hire’s potential career paths within the company and what it takes to advance to higher levels or within other departments. In fact, transitioning internal employees into new roles within the company is just as important as onboarding a brand new employee. Consider addressing the following questions:
- How can I develop my career?
- What’s the timeline on a promotion?
- What are my strongest skills?
- How might my experience at the company change?
- What are the current needs of the business?
- What are other areas or departments I might be interested in?
- What other tasks can I take on?
Celebrating new hires’ achievements, milestones, and/or work anniversaries is a great way to acknowledge and appreciate an employee’s hard work and dedication. This recognition can be a morale booster, maintain engagement, and encourage them to continue performing at a high level. Celebrating milestones can look like:
- Personal or team-wide recognition from manager
- Providing swag for achieving certain milestone goals (anniversary gifts, for example)
- Events like a team lunch, dinner, or happy hour
- Company social media shoutouts
The first year on the job is a critical time for new hires to feel supported, engaged, and empowered to succeed. By consistently sharing key information such as company culture and values, performance expectations, skill development opportunities, and career pathing, you will naturally help candidates integrate into your workplace environment. Remember, onboarding is not a static, one-time event, but an ongoing experience that requires reliable communication, organization, feedback, and support. Prioritizing your newest employees and investing in their success will help create a positive onboarding experience that helps set the stage for long-term engagement and retention.
For more insights like these, or to get started on building out your onboarding experience, get in touch with Abode. Abode’s all-in-one platform is modernizing how companies communicate expectations, facilitate connections, and build community - the three components needed to engage the newest workforce generation. Learn more about Abode here or book a demo with our team here.