Making a PACT: The Four Keys to Successful Onboarding - Netchex

How would you like to improve company culture while also helping new hires succeed? Onboarding is a huge opportunity. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked. Recruiting, interviewing, and selecting the right candidate are all important, but what do you do after all of that?

First, there’s some paperwork for taxes and benefits. Later, an out-of-date orientation video. If that’s it, how much of your current onboarding process will actually be helpful to new hires? If your process onboarding feels generic and inefficient, that will send a strong message about the company to new employees. 

How can you fix the problems with your current onboarding process? Don’t make the mistake of cutting back onboarding to the bare minimum. Sink-or-swim versions of “on the job” training throw new hires into the deep end. This can sacrifice a lot of potentially great employees who just need better guidance.

Commit to your onboarding process with time and upgrades. You are more likely to make a lasting impression on your new employees and company culture as a whole. 

Making a PACT

During onboarding, employers are making a business deal with new employees—a PACT.  This mutually beneficial agreement is broken down into four key areas of focus:

  • Planning
  • Administrative
  • Culture
  • Training

By making your company’s expectations clear, new hires will experience first-hand all of the best that your company has to offer. This is the perfect time to show that your company both expects and rewards hard work. If you want to encourage innovation and continued growth, onboarding allows you to set the tone.

Planning Ahead

More employees are lost in their first 6 months at the company than any other time. Your company must take this crucial period seriously. To create a lasting, positive impression with new hires, invest a little more time and enthusiasm into onboarding.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the onboarding process is shortchanging the effort and timeframe. Onboarding isn’t just paperwork on the first day, or intros and meetings over the few days, or even training and mentorship for a few weeks. 

A new job can be stressful. Onboarding sets the tone for your employee’s overall experience at the company, whether that’s a couple of years or the rest of their career. Plan your training schedule well in advance, not improvised from day to day. Simple, clear instructions will reduce confusion and uncertainty, leaving your new hire with more energy for learning about their new role and company.

Outline short term and long term goals, both for the company and your new team member. Do they see themselves working up to management positions? Where could your company’s future growth offer new opportunities?

Use the onboarding period to make sure the company’s expectations are clear—from the office dress code to quarterly evaluations. Make sure your new hire has the necessary skills. Sooner rather than later, match them with training programs to close any skill gaps. 

Administrative Tasks

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely remove paperwork from the onboarding process. That said, with the right HR software, you can make it paperless and painless. Have you considered onboarding new employees remotely?

Either way, you’ll want to reach out before the employee’s first day. Get started on that paperwork before the first day so that it is not a distraction when the big day comes.

Daily Schedule

Provide a daily itinerary for the new employees first week. Make sure you provide and explain the schedule on the first day, even if it’s not too rigid. A clear schedule can help employees focus on each task and lesson as it comes, instead of wondering what comes next.


Provide a clear set of goals and benchmarks, explaining how much is expected of new employees. If you have a buddy program or supervisors provide job-specific training, then it’s helpful to give employees a projected timeline for that process.


When should your employee expect their first performance reviews? Everyone wants to be good at their job. Identify skill gaps as soon as possible. If you want to prevent new hires from picking up the bad habits of long term employees, then you’ll need to plan their first months carefully.

Culture Focus

What do job applicants expect to find on their first day of work? Most companies establish a reputation (both good and bad) in their community and within their industry. The rumors (and some of your Glassdoor reviews) may not tell the whole truth, but those external sources can still affect the attitude and work ethic of new hires.

Company Culture

Set the tone by emphasizing company culture in your job board posts and other ads. Make a conscious effort with applicants during the interview process. Even the candidates who don’t “make the cut” will still get a positive or negative impression. A few disgruntled people can make a big difference in how the workforce views your company culture.

When it’s time for onboarding the most qualified applicants, emphasize the positives of company culture. Your initial congratulations and job offer should include links to online resources. Get your new hires excited about joining such an awesome team. To develop those resources, take pictures at in-house events, and get specific about your unique perks and benefits.

Team Introductions

When you give tours and make co-worker introductions, make time for a few personal details. Does Greg in Accounting have an interesting hobby? Is Phyllis in Sales the reigning champion on karaoke nights? As long as Greg isn’t embarrassed about his hobby, these introductions can provide icebreakers for future conversations. 

At lunch or after work, make time for employees and new hires to make personal connections. If you provide a free lunch for everybody, then even your surly workers will be in a better mood. 

Set a Positive Example

Most importantly, you have to set an example yourself. Embody the attitude that you want for the company culture, whether that’s a passion for constant improvement or community service. When you have your tired and “off” days, what motivates you personally to promote a performance-based work culture?

Training Employees

Get new hires involved ASAP. Without throwing them into the deep end, you can still let them get their feet wet. When possible, set aside part of the day for shadowing and tagging along with other employees. It will be easier to understand company policies and set them up for success with a practical frame of reference.

Learning Management System (LMS)

A Learning Management System provides several solutions without adding to the burdens of supervisors and HR. Track new hires as they complete orientation lessons. Add custom training modules to close any important skill gaps.

Does your training program encourage self-improvement and innovation in employees? A Learning Management System makes it easier to cross-train employees and promote continuous learning. Self-motivated workers will appreciate the chance to gain new skills and advance their careers. 

Are your training materials outdated or overly generic? If new hires feel like their training sessions are wasting their time, then you shouldn’t be surprised to find them drifting into an inefficient work routine in the future. Explain the importance and relevance of each training session, and make the material as engaging as possible. 

Don’t forget, C-U-L-T-U-R-E  begins with the way new hires “See You.” Every training session and other aspect of onboarding is a chance to strengthen your PACT with new employees.

Free Infographic

Everything you need to know about the keys to successful onboarding in one guide. Click on the the button to below to download “The Four Keys to Successful Onboarding” infographic!

Industry news & tips sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email below to subscribe to industry news, product updates, and tips.


For more information on HR topics, read our HR blog and follow Netchex on social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.