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Get On Board with Proper Onboarding

Congratulations! You’ve landed that talented candidate for your open position. They’ve signed the offer letter and they will be joining you in the coming days.

The hard work for your recruiting team is over. Now it’s your turn.

Onboarding doesn’t begin when the new hire reports for the first day; it should start well before. And considering that more than half of U.S. employees leave a new job within the first year, an onboarding process shouldn’t end after a set of completed tasks or a pre-determined timeframe.

There is no second chance to create first impressions. The onboarding process is a critical time for your new hire. Here is your opportunity to foster a long-term relationship with an engaged employee. Your new employee’s onboarding experience will set the tone for how they perceive the organization’s culture, people, operations, growth potential and overall job satisfaction.

Let’s look at the key phases of the onboarding process and what you can do to optimize the experience:

Before the First Day

To set the foundation for a strong working relationship, the hiring manager should continue a dialogue with the new employee in advance of their first day. HR can reach out as well to facilitate new hire paperwork.

Don’t follow that accepted offer with silence and don’t allow the person to arrive on their first day completely blind. Consider the following activities:

  • Provide a steady stream of communication (phone or email) that outlines required documentation, creates a forum for Q&A, and covers first-day and first-week logistics
  • Order and prepare all office equipment including computer, ID badge or keys, desk or workstation, employee handbook, etc.
  • Gather “welcome” gifts like a branded coffee mug or t-shirt, balloons, or anything else that immediately makes the hire feel like a part of the team, and the organization

First Day

The day is finally here. The new employee will arrive feeling excited, curious, and maybe a little nervous. SHRM reports that four percent of new hires don’t return after a bad experience on their first day. Optimize the experience to ensure your new hire returns on day two.

Structure is key. Don’t leave your new employee wondering what to expect or with nothing to do. Here’s how:

  • Arrange to greet the new hire promptly when they arrive – be sure they feel like a priority. The greeter can be a receptionist, colleague, hiring manager or, most impressively, a senior executive or the CEO
  • Have their workspace clean and ready with appropriate supplies
  • Give the individual a thorough tour of your office or facility
  • Send an introductory email to the whole company or to relevant stakeholders that provides a short bio of the employee, their work location and reporting structure, and contact info
  • Provide documented structure for the first day including a detailed schedule and required tasks (this may include paperwork or training from HR, IT, etc.)
  • Consider assigning a buddy or mentor to help acclimate the new hire
  • Take the new hire out for lunch, coffee, or both – include colleagues when possible and make the experience personal and informal vs. heavily work-focused
  • Check on the new hire often during the day to ensure they are progressing smoothly through their schedule and be available to answer questions

First 30 Days

Assuming you’ve inspired the new hire with a great first day and they return for a second and beyond, the work toward a meaningful and complete onboarding experience continues. Some companies identify 30-, 60-, and 90-day milestones (and possibly beyond) that they and the employee work towards together, but let’s focus here on the first month:

  • Invest in proper training and orientation – be timely and diligent about providing the individual with the content, tools, and education to hit the ground running
  • Be exhaustive with introductions and building a comprehensive and helpful network of executives, managers, peers, direct reports and other contributors for the new employee – this can be formal or informal and should include job shadowing when applicable
  • Schedule regular checkpoints with the new hire’s direct manager to monitor progress and provide a forum to answer specific questions
  • Encourage and welcome the person’s feedback on everything – this can serve as an indicator of their comfort level, and also provide general visibility into the quality of your organization’s on boarding experience

The goal of the recruiting function at every company is to hire quality employees that fit the job description, and then retain the new hire with a compelling and valuable employee experience. This begins with the first interaction with candidates and lasts far beyond an accepted offer or first day on the job.

For questions or help with your onboarding process, contact our recruiting, hiring and retention experts at EFPR Solutions.

Photo Credit: eremedia.com


EFPR Solutions is a business consulting firm in Rochester, NY that provides staffing and outsourcing services in accounting, finance and human resources. To learn more about our experienced team of business consultants and how we can assist your organization, please call 585-486-0725, email info@efprsolutions.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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