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Onboarding: Best Practices

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Onboarding: Best Practices

​As specialist internal communications recruiters, we know all too well about the importance of employee engagement and the impact on performance and retention. In fact the UK economy loses £340 billion due to disengaged employees each year (Mundey, 2023). That’s why it’s crucial to get it right from the very beginning of an employee’s journey at your organisation – the onboarding process.

An effective onboarding experience can make all the difference in fostering employee satisfaction, maximising cultural integration and improve employee retention and overall long-term performance. Here’s some top tips for best practice when it comes to onboarding your new recruits:

Pre-Boarding Communication

Sending welcome emails to new hire in advance provides a great start to help them feel welcome and prepared for their first day! As their manager, you should provide sufficient information about what to expect as well as the time you expect them to arrive and of course, the address. Also consider letting them know other details that some may not think to mention such as the dress code and how to navigate the office or retrieve a guest pass for security, if needed. Make sure they are just as prepared as you are!

Develop a Structured Onboarding Plan

For new hires, starting a new role can naturally be very daunting. Ensure that you develop a meaningful and organised plan that covers their first week of work. Dedicating specific slots to outline training schedules, meetings, and introductions to the different team members is a great way to ease them into the role.

Buddies & Mentors!

Being assigned to a buddy or mentor at work can be exciting, and it is certainly very effective in helping the new hire settle into the job. The buddy should feel comfortable communicating the company’s culture and values with them, as well as serve as a ‘go-to’ for any questions or concerns. This reduces the intimidation factor often associated with being introduced to a large number of seasoned team members, and not knowing who to ask for help!

Communicating Expectations & Goals

While you should let your new hire settle into the job gradually, in the first week, performance expectations and key responsibilities should still clearly be communicated. This allows the new hire to get into the right mindset from the start and work towards both short-term and long-term goals for the business. Additionally, make sure to schedule regular check-ins to make sure they are settling in well, and consider any feedback they may provide.

Team Building

Make sure that team building activities or team socials are organised ahead of the new hire’s start. This helps foster connections amongst various team members, and demonstrates the organisational culture. Encourage existing team members to invite the new hire out for lunch, or even help out with collaborative projects. Small interactions make all the difference in the onboarding experience!

It’s important to remember that as a manager or team member, the ultimate goal of onboarding is to encourage a positive experience that allows new hires to feel welcome and confident in their role. Putting yourself in their shoes, and imagining what kind of experience you would like on your first day of work, will help you to develop a smooth and productive onboarding plan!



Mundey, M. (2023) 7 Key Benefits of Onboarding for Employees. Available at:

Written by: Angela Mathie, Recruitment Coordinator


VMA GROUP is a leading international interim, contract, temporary and permanent recruitment and executive search specialist. We are specifically focused on providing support to the communications, marketing, digital and change communities.

Our specialist practice areas cover: communications, corporate communications, internal communications, change communications, PR, media relations, financial communications, CSR, pu