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A Word about Welcoming New Workers: Three Secrets to Satisfaction, Engagement, and Retention


First impressions apply to organizations as well as individuals.  If you’ve ever hired someone, you know that employers have a short window during which to capture the hearts and minds of a new employee. Unfortunately too frequently the window closes… about the same time that a door opens and the disappointed, disillusioned employee walks out!

We’ve all had that new employee experience. What drew you in?  What pushed you away?  What did your introduction to the job telegraph to you?  And what long-term effect did these early messages have on how you felt about the work? The job? Yourself?

For most of us, those first precious hours and days were dedicated to paperwork, processes, and procedures. Well-meaning leaders concerned themselves with your ‘on-boarding’ and ‘time to productivity.’  Right? But all of this likely did little to bond you to the organization, excite you about the road ahead, or ensure your long-term commitment.

Organizations have a great opportunity to help new workers get off to a powerful and lasting start.  But they need to change their approach to welcoming new hires. Best-in-class employers who enjoy high levels of satisfaction, engagement, and retention among new employees do three things differently.  They:

Ensure connections: One of the primary psychological needs we bring to the workplace is the need to engage in supportive relationships. Engineer relationships consciously from the start to ensure that new employees have a ready-made network that will help them through the transition. This can be as simple as a lunch rotation and as choreographed as formal mentoring. How it happens is less important than that it happens… early in the transition.

Help others contribute quickly: Protracted training programs, extensive shadowing, and elongating time to productivity – this is a recipe for new employee disengagement. Help people quickly find ways to feel competent, effective, and productive. Facilitate the use of their strengths early. Identify small projects and quick wins to establish a sense of momentum. Meaningful contribution builds a sense of commitment.

Begin the career development conversation: Invest in employees and they’ll invest in you. Demonstrate your commitment to their futures and it will enhance their commitment to yours. Keep the initial employment interview going by continuing to learn about the new employee’s strengths, interests, passions, and goals. Take steps from the start to clarify how the employee wants to express him/herself and grow… then work together to find ways to make it happen.

Onboarding for genuine, long-term results comes down to this: De-emphasize the process and paperwork that is normally the (less-than-warm) welcome to a new job. Focus on connections, contribution, and career development. And watch as your new employees:

  •     Confirm that they made a great choice in accepting your position.
  •     Quickly become powerhouse contributors.
  •     Settle in for a long and productive career with your organization.


  1. Hi Julie,
    1st thing i want to thank you for this post.
    but i have no words after reading this post. i would like to share my views being in employee position and also want to share my thoughts being an Recruiter. as per my knowledge i have seen many manager/companies and employees. everyone seems so different from others. i would say how ever the employer creates an impression on employee regarding their organization while hiring, its still the candidates call to decide what is the fact. because they are going to spend 8hrs on work place, where unfortunately we have only 24hrs a day. so they need to be very clear and determined about the position they are going to take and need to research about the company they are going to join. and contribution, work highlights everything comes under employee self caliber and ability. every employee wants their employer to be cool and understanding. where in every employer wants their employee need to work hard for the company benefits/growth. Over all machine runs on basic mutual understanding and benefits.

    All the best for next to come fast.
    god bless you.

    • I really appreciate the way you end your comment here, Praveen. You are so right… it all runs on mutual understanding and benefit. In my experience, the sooner you can establish that kind of a mutual foundation, the sooner the ‘machine’ runs well. Being deliberate about making the most of those first fews days and weeks with new employees makes a significant difference. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments!


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