A hiring manager asked us about how to onboard when you’re strapped for time  –

Onboarding seems like a daunting process that I just don’t have time for in my busy organization.  Is it really necessary?  What are the basics that I can do without spending all my time on it?

We asked recruitment consultant Georgia Harper for her take on onboarding. Specializing in HR and Office Personnel recruitment, Georgia is particularly aware of the impact that a smooth onboarding process can have – 

I totally get it.  What is onboarding anyway?  It’s a company, not a boat.  Besides, it sounds expensive.

To be completely honest, business buzzwords kind of bug me! But onboarding is a good catch-all that really sums up introducing a new employee to their new role.

Imagine this:

You land a job at your dream company.  Filled with excitement and anticipation, you show up at 8:30am on your first day… and the door is locked.  But that’s okay, someone arrives a few minutes later and opens it up.  No, you don’t have an appointment, you say, it’s my first day!  As it turns out, your desk isn’t quite ready but they set you up at someone else’s spot – they’re on holiday anyway.  You wait for a while until the man who hired you shows up.  He’s  nice but has a morning meeting and can’t give you too much time.  After several awkward minutes trying to figure out if you should crack the password on holiday-guy’s computer… a savior arrives! She takes you for a tour. The CFO walks in and she says, “Hey, this is Sarah, she’s our new HR business partner!” … you’re a financial analyst.

Suffice to say, dream company has a whole new veneer and your old job isn’t sounding as bad as you thought it was.

Now imagine:

You arrive for your first day. Charlotte is sitting at the front desk.  She greets you warmly and leads you to your desk, explains that your computer was set up by IT over the weekend and your business cards are in the top drawer. Your new manager is there to say hello.  He mentions that Charlotte will be giving you a tour, then you and he will sit down to go over some things and meet some key players you haven’t met yet.  In the kitchen, there’s a man who warmly introduces himself as Chad, a junior accountant who will be providing you with reports regularly; turns out you both went to the same university.

In your meeting, your manager outlines some key info about the company, tells you about a few events coming up, and mentions there will be a company-wide meeting later in the week.  He goes over what the next few days will look like and tells you there’s already a meeting set up at the end of the week for you both to discuss short and long term goals and answer any questions.

Well, now you’re so excited to get going. This place is the best!

Now, how much did the second experience “cost” you?

Monetary investment – $0.

Time investment – 1 hr.

Value?  Well… New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. – The Wynhurst Group

So how do you create that wonderful onboarding experience in only 1 hour? 

  1. Have a quick meeting with Charlotte, the administrator.  Cover:  IT set up, desk set up, business cards.
  2. Send a quick, company-wide memo.  Include:  name of new person, start date, a few facts (last place of employment, education info, hobbies – whatever stands out from what you learned in interviews and that isn’t confidential).  Encourage employees to look the new hire up on LinkedIn and say hello on their first day.
  3. Delegate, or take responsibility for the first day orientation, including a building tour, office tour, introduction tour.
  4. Schedule a meeting first thing that includes you and the new hire.  Make a shortlist of initial things to go over:  wardrobe expectations, upcoming events, training and first week activities.
  5. Schedule a meeting at the end of the week to discuss some deeper issues:  expectations including a schedule for performance reviews, looming deadlines, short and long term goals, projects.

And that’s it!

Now, onboarding is more than just that first day on the job. At The Headhunters, we provide our clients with a free guide to onboarding a new employee. If you’d like to receive a copy, email us at info@theheadhunters.ca.


As a specialized recruiter in the office personnel and human resources space, Georgia is truly committed finding the best candidates for the clients she works with. A strong relationship builder, Georgia is dedicated to earning the trust of those she works with by being reliable, honest, and hardworking. If you’re looking to explore new career opportunities in senior office support or human resources, contact Georgia at 604.682.9999 or email gharper@theheadhunters.ca