Make your Onboarding Process Your Q4 Plan

Make your Onboarding Process Your Q4 Plan

Get Prepared Now for a Successful 2020 Hiring Season

We all know hiring and training is a huge investment, and if we don’t do it correctly, the cost is even greater, requiring more resources to find and train new team members (again), and creating productivity and morale issues among other team members.  The important work doesn’t stop when we hire the right person.  Onboarding is like an elevator. Do it well and the retention goes up do it poorly and retention goes down with increased turnover.

Let’s do ourselves a favor and prepare now for onboarding new team members. And since the seeds of turnover are planted in the first 90 days, we need to ensure we’re being very intentional with our onboarding so that we retain those new hires. It’s so important that:

  • A study by Robert Half & Associates found that 28% of employees turnover in the first 90 days
  • BUT companies with an engaging onboarding program retain 91% of their first-year workers (SHRM – Society for Human Resource Management)
  • AND, newly hired employees are 58% more likely to still be at the company three years later if they have completed a structured onboarding process (Wynhurst)
  • AND, companies with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity (Gallup)

So, not only do we instinctually know that a thorough onboarding process is good but now we have the research to back it up. If we do it right, people will hear about it and want to get hired… our advertising for job postings will decrease! Consider the ‘Primacy Effect’ – we remember the ‘first’ or the beginning, but rarely the end and never the middle. First impressions do really matter.


A strong onboarding process will ensure that the following five activities occur in the first 90 days:

  1. The new team member is immersed in WHY the team exists, where the business is going and what the business stands for. (This is crucial for Millennials, if not for everyone!)
  2. There is a promoting of interconnectedness across the team.
  3. There is a shared responsibility of getting the new team member up to speed – both the new team member and the manager need to take responsibility for having the tools to get there.
  4. There is an established cadence of necessary communication.
  5. There are no barriers to entry for the competent and coachable individual. (Make sure you’re not the bottleneck for their growth within the company.)


If we want to put together a well-intentioned onboarding program, start with the end in mind. What does success look like at Day 90 for onboarding a team member? Consider these six keys to onboarding that will set our new team member up for success and ensure that they strengthen the existing culture:

  • Crush the Welcome – make sure their first day is well-organized. If you’re the boss, make sure you’re there for their first day, take them to lunch, make it a celebration, a real, warm ‘welcome’.
  • Train towards Expectations – have a step-by-step training plan. As the trainer or coach, it should feel slow (we need to slow down to speed up). Remember, you don’t give a T-bone to a baby; we need to go in appropriate steps so that they can actually swallow what they bite off and chew.
  • Basic Job Functionality – what are 2 – 3 pieces of the puzzle that will be key to their success in your winery?
  • Integrate with the team – making a new team member feel part of the team is crucial. This will promote a sense of belonging, increase morale and productivity.
  • Build Connection – get to know your team. As Patrick Lencioni cautions, there three signs of a miserable job – Anonymity, Irrelevance, and Immeasurement.
    • Anonymity: People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority.
    • Irrelevance: Everyone needs to know that their job matters to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, an employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment.
    • Immeasurement: Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. They cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends solely on the opinions or whims of another person.
  • Onboarding Checklist – how will you know they’ve ‘passed’ the onboarding? Consider an onboarding checklist that includes a list of items to ‘check off – Before Day 1, on Day 1, Week 1 and First 90 Days.
    • Before Day 1 checklist might include: Create KPIs, set up their phone/computer/email, prepare HR paperwork, training manual, brand standards and story, club brochure, and sales/marketing collateral, business cards, logo wear…
    • Day 1 checklist might include: Welcome sign, give a tour, go over policies and procedures, benefits and core values, take them to lunch, inform them what to wear
    • Week 1 checklist might include job shadowing scheduled, meetings scheduled, training manual review with testing included…
    • First, the 90 Days checklist might include a Reading list, cultural immersion…

Culturally mark the end of the 90-day onboarding process. It’s an important milestone that will be remembered and will cement the new team member’s feeling that they made the right decision to come aboard your amazing team.

If we can create an onboarding program that is well-thought and intentional, we can spend more time training and grooming the right team members to continue through their career with us. Let’s make those first impressions count and leverage the long-term, healthy culture of our teams.