• Elizabeth Warlick

Is Onboarding a Part of Your Workforce Retention Strategy?


How do you onboard new team members? In larger organizations, it may be more common to see HR hosting orientations for the company. In smaller organizations, onboarding may vary and come in many shapes and sizes. In both large and small, public or private, onboarding may even be nonexistent. For this reason, as good stewards to the talent we hire, we must set the stage for success and provide a solid and consistent foundation in the information that we provide new employees.

Teams begin with great onboarding and orientation.
On your mark! Get set! Go!


The best of intentions will not get a team very far in offering the optimal onboarding experience. Therefore, companies must ensure that all employees are receiving the same information at the starting gate. With the intent to provide a high-quality onboarding experience, teams can brainstorm the most essential information to impart to the new team members.


Your team can begin by asking: What are our essential business functions? What is our mission, vision, and values? What essential products or services to we provide? Who are our internal and external customers? What rules and regulations do we abide by? What are the key systems, processes, and tools that we work with? What other business units do we work with? What is unique about our team, our traditions, our work culture? Do we provide incentives, awards, recognition for good work? Pick the good information and share it.


Once your team has solicited feedback and has a well-rounded view of key pieces of information that would be vital to share upfront with new employees, it is time to take this information and format it in a palatable way. There are many formats that a team could use for onboarding and you would tailor a format for your business need, schedule, budget, and the number of employees that are onboarding. Consider different formats: presentation, checklist, self-study, teammate sharing, online modules, or a mix of any of these. The important thing to remember is that consistency is key, and the information that you share during onboarding will set a level playing field for all of your newbies. You may even want to think beyond the general company orientation and create an onboarding experience for your business unit.

Set the tone. Level the playing field. Front load the essential tidbits of organizational insights. The ability of a company to organize and share information with new team members will be a direct refection of the general organization of the company and how you value your workforce. Make an awesome onboarding strategy a part of your retention plan!

Make an awesome onboarding strategy a part of your retention plan!
Make an awesome onboarding strategy a part of your retention plan!


I was fortunate to join an established project management office (PMO) at MarketPoint, a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana. Humana is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and employs upwards of 40,000 people across the US and Puerto Rico. My first day was spent at the company’s orientation about benefits and parking, all essential information. When I returned to the PMO, my manager assigned additional information that I was responsible to familiarize myself with. It was a checklist of topics. This was additional onboarding that I worked through at my own pace. Some of the items required me to pair up with a teammate, so they could show me the ropes.

As time went on, our team started to experience rapid growth to keep up with the technology demand in our field. We had team interviews to assist in selection of the best candidates, and after hire, we worked closely together on a daily basis.

About a year and half on my team and experiencing this rapid growth in our PMO, it occurred to me that a more robust onboarding would be extremely beneficial. With the support of my manager, I put forward a proposal of a day long onboarding format that covered many essential topics of our project management office. To add a dynamic twist and to incorporate the expertise of those already on the team, I assigned each topic to a team member, so they could take part in onboarding too. This was a chance for everyone to impart their wisdom on the newest editions of our team. My proposal took off and was supported by the PMO. We executed our first day-long onboarding session to cover the material with several new hires. It also served as a good refresher for the team, as we were all in the session together, and it allowed us to make sure we were capturing the most up-to-date information in the dynamic landscape of technology, project management and corporate expectations, strategies, and priorities. It was a success!

We encourage you to look at your onboarding process with new eyes and allow it to be a living breathing process that you can change and update overtime to fit the needs of your organization.

If you would like guidance in the area of orientation and onboarding or desire direct services to develop a program, we are here to assist! Contact us today for more information or if you have questions.

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