Onboarding Table Stakes for Hiring Managers


A little tough love today…and I’m looking at you, hiring managers:

Welcoming a new employee on the first day is your responsibility. Even if it’s not spelled out in big, bold letters on your job description.

Last week, I was having a nice conversation with someone on the subject of onboarding. He said this to me: “The general ‘onboarding’ that the company provided was fine, it was my supervisor who didn’t have a clue.”


Within a couple of days, I heard this story from another organization: A recent graduate was starting her first professional job. Her supervisor, who was supposed to take her to lunch on her first day, walked into Orientation, told her that “something came up” and handed her a local deli delivery menu and left her on her own.

Trust me, I get it. Things “come up” – snafus happen, the proverbial fires must be extinguished. But let’s be honest…

We can do better than this, can’t we?

Hiring managers, the impression you are leaving starts quite some time before the new employee arrives on the first day. The first day should simply be confirming that impression. How are you interacting with him/her during the interview process? How about during that period of time between the offer acceptance and the first day? Are you responsive? Are you clear and forthcoming with information and expectations? Joining a new company is just as much the new employee’s decision as it is the manager’s/organization’s to select the best candidate. Be mindful of this and set a goal to reaffirm your new employee’s decision in every interaction.

This is the price of admission for a hiring manager. Table stakes. It’s one of the key differences between an individual contributor and one who manages people.

Here are 3 ways even the busiest manager can make new employees a priority:

1) Set expectations with your team and manager.

Let everyone know when the new employee will be arriving, and that you will be blocking your calendar at times throughout his first days/weeks on the job to spend adequate time together. Make it abundantly clear that your new team member is a priority.

2) Set expectations with the new employee.

Everyone is busy – you know that, I know that. Even your new employee knows that. Set aside time to spend together, but if there are pressing projects, meetings or other duties that are on your plate, simply let him/her know. If possible, make arrangements for the new team member to spend time with someone on the team – whether getting acquainted, job shadowing, participating in training…just make sure that it is relevant for the role and would be considered a valuable use of time.

3) Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

This really doesn’t need explaining. During the fragile early days of the manager/new employee relationship, trust and credibility is being established (yes, on both ends). If you set expectations, be sure that you follow through.


Recently, I shared an eBook, Onboarding Tools for Hiring Managers, as a thank you for your support of the first 100 phase(two)learning blog posts. Do you know a hiring manager who could use this? Download the PDF and share it, or reach out directly to purchase printed copies – they make a terrific resource  or workbook supplement for your managers! Whether you’re looking for one copy or many, we can hook you up.

Download the PDF here: Onboarding Tools for Hiring Managers – phase(two)learning eBook Download


Your turn: If you are responsible for onboarding in your organization, leave a comment and tell us how you engage hiring managers in the onboarding process. If you’re a hiring manager, how do you welcome your new employees and set them up for success when they join your team?


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