The Talentech 10-step onboarding guide for a perfect first week

Talentech Knowledge bank The Talentech 10-step onboarding guide for a perfect first week

Did you know that a whopping 40% of employee turnover happens during the first 6 months of employment?

But did you also know that a good onboarding process is proven to boost retention by up to 82%? That’s why a great first week is so important.

In this short guide, we’ll outline our simple 10 step process for building a world-class first-week orientation program that leads to more engaged, productive employees who stay longer!

Step 1

Gather ideas from your recently onboarded team members

Sometimes, the best source of creative onboarding ideas is right at your fingertips.

Your existing employees are the ones who have experienced your companies new hire journey first hand, and many of them will have 101 suggestions for how it could be bigger, better, and more engaging.

So why not leverage all these bright sparks?

Create an in-house Q&A for all of your employees who have joined in the last year. Ask them what they loved, what they hated, which things made them feel at home, and who else should have been involved in the process. Ask them what THEY would do differently. And make it anonymous so they can be completely transparent.

Step 2

Build out a comprehensive first-week agenda

You know the feeling…

First day on the job, you’re nervous, but you’re excited and ready to hit the ground running. But you have no idea what you’re actually supposed to be doing beyond meeting John from HR in the lobby at nine o’clock.

Not ideal.

Knowledge is power, so be sure to map out your new hire’s first week with a comprehensive agenda - and share it with them in advance so they can be prepared and feel empowered to get started.

Pull all the great ideas you crowd-sourced in step 1 together and build out a first-week that is fun & engaging and that focusses on cross-departmental connection.

Step 3

Set clear expectations early

When you share your 10/10 first week agenda with your onboardee, make sure you let them know what THEY should expect, and what YOU expect in return.

Have you included information on the dress code? Start and finish times? Whether or not your onboardee will have any goals for the first week.

Leave stone unturned and ensure that you’re both on the same page come day 1.

Step 4

Keep relevant parties in-the-loop

Employee onboarding isn’t the exclusive realm of HR. There are so many stakeholders involved from line managers to team members, and it’s important to ensure they’re all in-the-know.

At the very least, your onboardee’s team needs to know who their newest team member is, what they look like and when they are starting.

You don’t have to stop there though. Try leveraging short videos for a fun pre-start digital ‘meet-&-greet’, and if that sounds a little too techy, a great company-wide email with new hire profiles always does the trick!

Step 5

Be upfront and honest with your company culture

When you’re creating your new hire orientation program, remember to accurately portray your organization’s culture.

Whilst you want your newest joiner to enjoy themselves and have a great first week, you don’t want to sell an experience that the rest of their employment cannot live up to.

Think about the atmosphere, and social attitudes represented in your company and try to emulate this in everything that you do.

Step 6

Take a personalized approach

There’s nothing quite as nice as being thought of, and onboarding is no exception. So think of ways that you can make your new hire’s first week unique to them:

  • Set up their desk with a card from the team, some company swag, and a well-stocked stationery drawer.
  • Ask IT to set up their computer and email in advance and include all their log-in information in a ‘top-secret’ sealed envelope, James Bond style.
  • Print out an organizational chart on nice card that includes their name and position.

The opportunities are endless, so get creative!

Step 7


The buddy system is a tried-and-true onboarding technique and whilst it looks different for many organizations, the core remains the same: pair up your newest hire with an accomplished member of your organization so they have someone they can lean on.

The beauty of the buddy system is that it’s easy to set-up and takes some of the pressure off of HR by giving new hires another resource to direct questions to.

A little tip, try pairing new hires with buddies outside of their immediate team. This will encourage future cross-departmental collaboration and expose your onboardee to people they otherwise may not get the chance to interact with.

Step 8

Dial-down the formalities

Week one can be an intimidating experience and it’s good to go in soft with the formalities, to begin with.

The nuts and bolts of this one are of course dependent on the nature of your organization (we’re not saying you should be unprofessional), but in general, just take things down a notch or two so it’s easier for new hires to feel relaxed and bond with their coworkers.

Step 9

Book dedicated training time

Training is important, but balance is key.

You don’t want to sit your new hire in a room with 8 hours of PowerPoint presentations. Neither do you want to send them over a quick ‘how-to’ manual and be done with things. The trick is to land somewhere in the middle.

Work with your L&D team to create a solid overview of what your new hire really needs to know and schedule these in for days two through five (try to avoid any heavy training on day one if you can).

Step 10

Have fun!

A new job should be exciting - so don’t forget to inject a healthy dose of fun into your onboarding proceedings.

  • Include some off-beat ice breakers and team-building activities.
  • Host a welcome morning tea or Friday drinks with the whole team.
  • Try gamifying your company learning with interactive quizzes.

If you can, try to get all your new hire paperwork done and dusted BEFORE day one, nothing kills an onboarding buzz like tedious administration!

Ready for More? Talmundo by Talentech can help.

Our world-class employee onboarding platform can do all this and more!