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Onboarding Best Practices: Making Your Company Culture “Stick”

Onboarding Best Practices with Chelsea Petrie

When asked how well their talent acquisition processes reflect their company culture, only only 1 in 4 employers answered “very well.”

That when I/O expert Chelsea Petrie, Talent Strategy Partner at OutMatch, shared her insight on how to improve employee retention, reduce ramp-up time, and increase engagement—all through a strong, culture-focused onboarding program. In the Q and A following her presentation, Chelsea answered audience questions about training, onboarding best practices, and cultural disconnects.

1. What types of metrics do companies use to monitor onboarding success?

There are three important ones:

Ramp-up time: When you identify certain milestones that an employee should hit in order to be effective in their job, you can track whether are or not they are on target. That’s a really key indicator.

Turnover: If you’re seeing a significantly higher turnover of new hires in the first 90 days, there’s likely a problem with your onboarding process.

Employee feedback: Use a survey tool or ask for direct feedback from your new hires. They can give you great insight into what’s working and what’s not.

2. What’s the difference between new hire training and onboarding?

Training does take up a significant portion of the onboarding process, because you have to include job-specific training to ensure that new employees get up to speed quickly. But, training and onboarding aren’t the same thing. Training is tactical, where you’re teaching employees to understand their roles and responsibilities. Onboarding is about the overall experience of being welcomed into an organization, connecting with the company’s culture and purpose, and building those initial bonds with the people they’re going to be working with. Think about how you want new employees to feel during the onboarding process, and create an experience that reflects that.

3. Are there ways to identify cultural disconnects or detractors during the onboarding experience?

The best thing you can do is ensure that a candidate is a good fit before the onboarding process begins. You do this by communicating your company culture throughout the hiring process, and making sure the candidate is fully bought in. But realistically, you’re going to have some individuals slip through the cracks. Culture is made tangible through behaviors, so looking at a new hire’s behavior is an indicator of how well they embody the values of your organization. For example, if your organization values collaboration, but new hires aren’t following through on tasks to meet with others, or they’re not taking initiative to build relationships, you’ll know there’s a red flag.


To learn more about onboarding best practices, and the payoff of a strong onboarding process, watch Chelsea’s webinar on-demand: How to Reinforce Your Culture with a Strong Onboarding Process

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