Recruitment process does not stop after a candidate is hired. New employees are prone to a high attrition level which leads to companies creating an onboarding process. Although formal onboarding has been shown to dramatically boost employee happiness and retention, many businesses lack effective onboarding procedures that would aid new hires in understanding their roles, the company’s culture, and how they fit in. This article will examine the onboarding strategy to ensure that new employees can quickly contribute effectively and happily to the company.

Effective Onboarding Strategy

Firstly, studies have shown that utilizing a formal onboarding process is more effective than only relying on an informal onboarding process (Bauer, 2010). A well-designed onboarding process that adjusts newcomers in terms of role clarity, self-efficacy, and social acceptance results in higher performance, job satisfaction, and commitment, as well as lower employee turnover (Bauer et al., 2007). Therefore, an effective onboarding strategy should be formally designed, executed, and evaluated, rather than relying on an informal onboarding process or simply writing down a few pages of orientation document.

Secondly, the formal onboarding process should be designed across the organization. Typically, the human resources department has the responsibility to design the onboarding programs, but the supervisor will perform most of the day-to-day orientation and training (Dessler, 2020). Thus, every manager should be equipped with the skill and knowledge of how to orient and train new employees.

The formal onboarding process design should cover thorough programs for new employees to better understand their main roles and responsibilities, the company’s norms, and their expected behavior at the workplace. Bauer (2010) encapsulated this idea into four levels of Cs: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. The level of attention given to each of these Cs will determine the effectiveness of the onboarding process.

Bauer (2010) categorized the onboarding process that effectively addressed all of the four Cs as proactive onboarding. While it may result in a longer onboarding process, proactive onboarding should provide desired outcomes. Employees will understand their roles better and can acclimatize quickly to the workplace norms and culture. Hence, they will quickly be ready to contribute.

For instance, the onboarding program at Toyota (which was called the “assimilation” program) covered the four Cs in about four days. The program discussed a wide range of topics, from the basics, such as company benefits, to the sophisticated issues, such as instilling the company’s norms in teamwork, open communication, mutual respect, and a quality-oriented mindset (Dessler, 1999). It takes much more than introducing newcomers to their new co-workers to ensure that they can be fully onboard and ready to contribute to achieving the company’s goals.

To create a better design of the onboarding program, Halvorson (2015) proposed 12 onboarding best practices for newcomers, such as creating a first-week agenda, creating a comfortable workstation, providing welcome gifts, sending helpful information, helping them lay the land, blocking time for orientation, planning a meeting, covering important work processes, investing in training, designing a job shadowing process, developing opportunities for early feedback, and conducting first review and evaluation. This set of practical activities can be added to the formal onboarding process design to leverage all of the four Cs. With an effective onboarding process, companies can reduce employee turnover costs and retain their best talents.


Bauer, T. N., Bodner, T., Erdogan, B., Truxillo, D. M., & Tucker, J. S. (2007). Newcomer adjustment during organizational socialization: A meta-analytic review of antecedents, outcomes, and methods. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(3), 707–721.  

Bauer, T. N. (2010). On-Boarding New Employees: Maximizing Success. SHRM Foundation.

Dessler, G. (1999). How to earn your employees’ commitment. Academy of Management Perspectives, 13(2), 58–67. 

Dessler, G. (2020). Human Resource Management. Pearson.

Halvorson, C. (2015). 12 Employee Onboarding Best Practices Every Business Owner Needs to Know.

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