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onboarding employees

Onboarding Employees

The first days and weeks is a nervous time for both employer and employee. At The Big Red Group, we have a rigorous recruitment process to ensure our newest members are a great cultural fit for us and share our values. However, once the candidate chooses us and we choose them  — that is when the ‘dating’ truly begins.

As an employer, we ask ourselves questions such as:

  • Did we represent ourselves accurately in the recruitment process?
  • How is the new person experiencing the organisation?
  • Will the new employee fit in?

On the new employee’s start day they firstly meet with their manager and then are introduced to their new buddy. This is the person that makes sure that they are included in the lunch routine and shares all the inside details on how the business works as well as the person who introduces them to everyone in the company — and so their induction begins.

First up, I have a meet and greet with the new starters where I give them an overview of our values and cast the vision for The Big Red Group story, and most importantly how their role plays an essential part in assisting the greater purpose of the company. Also, during their first week, the new starter is gifted a RedBalloon experience for them to take in their first few weeks with us. Then within the first month, I take all the new people to lunch together so that they get to know each other better. Onboarding and induction, or what I like to call the ‘dating’ phase, is really important to have a truly engaged team in the long term.

I have admired Anthony Sork’s great list on the drivers of attachment for a decade – but the one thing we keep the top of mind is ‘connection’.

The 20 Drivers Of Attachment – Anthony Sork

Driver 1 Recruitment & Selection
“The level of efficiency and professionalism associated with the recruitment and selection process influenced predominantly by the key parties involved including 3rd party recruiters, interview panellists, hiring manager and senior leaders. This driver impacts the perception of operating standards and the value the new employer places on employees.”

Driver 2 Pre-Employment
“The way the new employee is encouraged to feel secure and excited about their new position and employer. The efforts and techniques used by the new employer to encourage the commencement of bonding with the new employee between the moment of being offered the position and the commencement date.”

Driver 3 Orientation
“The way the organisation welcomes the new employee for their first day or days of employment, associated specifically with the introduction and initiation of key interpersonal relationships with the immediate team, business managers and senior leaders. The way the organisations establishes the perception of personal space for the new employee that they feel they can use as a base for themselves. The way the organisation has prepared and issues key business tools including computer, business cards, phones, security access, quality or process manuals, safety equipment and other.”

Driver 4 Central Messages
“Core messages and knowledge associated with the company’s structure, mission, vision, direction, philosophy, values, behaviour articulated consistently by owners, senior leaders, managers and general staff. The collective understanding of who the business is, where the business is going and how the business is to collectively behave along the way.”

Driver 5 Rotation
“The managed process of ensuring the new employee has the opportunity to meet, be briefed by and initiate open communication and relationships with key business units both immediately upstream and downstream from their own business function. The same managed process relating to corporate service functions within the business.”

Driver 6 Incremental Learning
“Staged and progressive learning in line with business demands of the position skills to a predetermined standard of competency required to achieve minimum performance standards within the first 90 days of employment.”

Diver 7 Accuracy Of  Job Representation
“The perceptual variance between the way the job was represented at interview and throughout the selection process to the first-hand experience of the job being performed by the new employee. The degree to which the position was misrepresented either in the proportion of or actual duties and responsibilities required.”

Driver 8 Manager (Supervisor) Alignment & Accessibility
“The frequency and nature of contact between the hiring manager and the new employee, allowing for accurate assessment of the values and behaviours of the manager and their alignment to the new employee’s expectations or desired standards.”

Driver 9 Business Awareness
“The awareness and understanding of the employer’s core business, history, products, services, customers and competitors creating a greater sense of who they are joining  and allowing for greater value alignment.”

Driver 10 Performance Objectives
“The way in which the manager has enabled a clear understanding for the new employee about the expected performance levels and results relative to their phase of employment and that this is understood in context with their contribution to the team, department and organisation performance goals.”

Driver 11 Learning Path
“The understanding of the learning opportunities, formal and informal, internal and externally supported, available to the new employee for their career direction within the business. This can have a short, medium and long-term focus.”

Driver 12 Reasons For Joining
“The 2 sets of reasons for accepting a position – 1: what they want and need in the position and from their new employer 2: what they do not want from the position and from their new employer (often related to bad past experiences). Though there is some overlap, there are unique elements and requirements in both lists.”

Driver 13 Personal Vision & Career Path
“The understanding achieved by individual employees at the during the first 120 days, through self-actualized thinking providing clarity of their immediate and long-term career objectives and the way they are to achieve these. Managers can significantly influence these and at a minimum encourage the employee to think long-term with the business.”

Driver 14 Senior Leadership
‘The perception of the visibility, presence and interaction with the wider business of those individuals regarded by as being responsible for the setting of strategy, objectives and operational plans for the organisation and who hold the most senior positions within functional divisions of the company.”

Driver 15 Work/Life Balance
“The proportional investment of time, energy and emotion into work, relative to activities, interests or relationships beyond the workplace, and compared with expectations when accepting the position.”

Driver 16 Co-Workers
“The perceptions established based on the attitudes and behaviour of co-workers, both directed towards or generally observed by the new employee during their first 120 days that create the sense of acceptance, belonging and trust for the new employee.”

Driver 17 Physical Work Environment & Resources
“The physical environment and business resources contractually set as the location of work and equipment to be used for the position accepted. This encompasses the building, workspace, business tools and any general staff amenities set out as employer obligations to the employee and documented in either their employment contract, workplace agreement or employee handbook.”

Driver 18 Climate/Culture
“The collective beliefs, values and behaviours perceived by the new employee that characterise the organisation’s social structure, hierarchy and rules that influencing how people self-regulate and self-manage in order to fit into the company.”

Driver 19 Systems & Processes
“The level of understanding and competency achieved by the new employee in the first 120 days of the key business systems, including technological and other, that they are required to use in their position. The level of understanding and competency required for the business processes that govern they way they are meant to use the systems in order to achieve the required performance standards.”

Driver 20 Safety & Behaviour
“The perceived value the new employee believes the company places on individual employee’s personal safety at work and the understanding of the behaviours expected of them while at work in order to remain safe, achieve acceptable performance levels and fit into the team.”

I always remember the times that I was the newbie – quite often a very nerve-wracking time. The sooner someone feels part of something, connected to their colleagues and the vision of what we are up to, the sooner that attachment is possible.

Sork HC does a 90-day onboarding survey and produces a report card on attachment — we do a survey after the new employee’s first fortnight to see if they are feeling at home.

At the end of the day — business is a people game. What do you do to get people involved in your business?

Reader Interactions


  1. Having been an employee, an employer and a recruiter, I can see the processes from all angles and I believe Naomi has hit all the nails on the head perfectly.

    The most important people in your company are the staff, not the customers as many seem to believe. Fulfilled happy staff will bring in more work because they’ll exude your company’s positive belief system every time they communicate with customers and potential customers. Treat your staff like gold and they’ll bring in the gold. Treat them like manure and…well, you know you’ll get in return.

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