How To Build Top Onboarding Programs

Top onboarding programs welcome

Top onboarding programs all seem to have a few things in common. 


They stretch past 90 days.


People who go through them tend to love them.


They’re linked to revenue and drive results.


And that’s all great. But how do you get there? What’s the basic blocking and tackling that you need to do to be a top onboarding program when you're onboarding new employees?

Here are the 4 things you have to do.

1. Plan

Top onboarding programs don’t just happen. You have to plan for an employee onboarding to be successful. And this starts long before you hire them.


You need to know when you’re interviewing people not only if they are going to be able to do the job, but also if they will fit in with the company culture. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t believe in your culture or what you’re doing as a company.


Your plan should extend from the interview process to at least the end of the 90-day probationary period. During that time, you want to make sure that you have regular check-ins to make sure that they’re enjoying their time with you, and that you are setting them up to succeed

2. Orientation

Orientation is a critical part to top onboarding programs – and it’s something that lasts longer than the first day when you show your new hire the lunchroom and the bathrooms.


Orientation is about physical orientation (lunchroom / bathroom type stuff) but also emotional and intellectual orientation. You need to orientate them in your organization, both so they know how you work and also how they can get work done. 


Top onboarding programs also use orientation to introduce new hires to company culture, what it means, and how it’s practiced every day. Because of the million tiny things that crop up in orientation, top onboarding programs tend to give new hires a buddy as well to keep everything running smoothly.

3. Training

You need to set your new rep up for success. Enablers have a somewhat duplicitous role to play in training. One the one hand, they’re charged with training and teaching new reps. Plus, enablers tend to be natural educators, who love to teach. 


But on the other hand, a lot of training is actually stopping people from teaching new reps and overloading them with all kinds of product, market, and process information.


Top onboarding programs tend to drip their new reps training and content over time, giving them only the training they need when they need it.


Training can take some time – especially if there are a lot of new things for them to learn – which is why a 90-day onboarding plan is great because it lessens the pressure and lets your new hires learn everything that they need to know at a reasonable pace.

4. Mentorships

Formalized mentorship programs aren’t super common. But they should be, and top onboarding programs will generally include one. They’re a great way to help with your new hire’s career development, and your new hire and their mentor can check in at a regular interval where they can have a frank discussion about the company, where they see themselves in five years, and what interests them. 


If you’re like most companies, you probably hire from within, so mentoring programs are a great way to help your new hire’s (and employees in general) career advancement and overall development.

Top onboarding programs bullet point summary

Top onboarding programs tend to be defined by a few key things. If you can get these right, you’ll be well on your way to joining the superstars at the top. Here’s what you need to do:


  • Plan your onboarding. It’s not going to just happen, so have a plan in place long before your start hiring.

  • Orientate them physically, organizationally, emotionally, and intellectually. Make sure they know where the bathrooms are, but also how to navigate your organization and get your work done.

  • Train them effectively, dripping them training materials slowly over a long period of time.

  • Set up a formalized mentorship program, so that they can grow their career and learn from more experienced colleagues and leaders.


Want to learn more? Check out our webinar on designing a better onboarding experience!