The Four C’s of Successful Onboarding

I have been part of several great organizations in my life. They were great for me for a variety of reasons based on the time in my life that I was a part of them. The one consistent factor was they all focused intensely on employee onboarding and development as a continual life-cycle. As a leader it’s easy to leave onboarding to the world of HR paperwork and first day lunches with the boss, but why are you bringing this new person on in the first place?

I know it’s because you want them to make an impact. The first thing you’ll ask about their progress is if they are already working on something productive or not. Your priority shouldn’t be paperwork, but producing results. So how do we build results-producing machines who are equipped, empowered and engaged?

If you want to launch new team member success both right out of the gate and over time, you need a plan. Work with HR as needed but find the right way to own the success of your people.  That means you need to focus on the four Cs of a good onboarding process: Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection.

[bctt tweet=”For successful #onboarding, make sure you cover the 4 Cs:”]

4 levels of successful onboarding

Research shows that there are four primary levels that an onboarding experience can reach. 


These are the basics, making sure the employee has access to resources and basic training.


Make sure that the new hire understands their role and their goals.


Clue them into the traditions and cultural nuances of the company.

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This is the highest level of onboarding! It’s plugging them into the team, assigning new hire buddies and introducing people across the organization.

Best Practices for Effective Onboarding:

[bctt tweet=”Successful onboarding should start as soon as the offer letter is signed.”]

Successful onboarding should start as soon as the offer letter is signed and go beyond their probationary period. It should be a progressive journey between the company and new hire!

Create an employer to employee expectations “contract” Let them know what to expect of you and how best to hold you accountable for supporting them.

Reduce time to productivity – Do everything possible to reduce the amount of time it takes to get your new team productive. This reduces your risk and increases your insight into their capabilities!

Build relationships with management – Make sure that your plan includes helping the new hire build relationships with management across the organization. More on building your plan here.

Expose employees to internal social networking and communication channels – Get them connected, so they are not looking for resources or ways to communicate with people. You will have people in your teams that are better at this than others, so pair them up!

Experience common scenarios and interactions for their role – Think about some role-playing to simulate some common scenarios in which the new employee will find themselves. This can help them navigate the situations in a safe way and understand both your expectations and how you’re going to be able to support them.

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Onboarding is an investment, so put thought into it. The way you start your team is important to their success.

What are your best onboarding experiences? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter @wadamj.

See you out there! – Adam

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  • […] team is an incredibly important process. I’ve written more on onboarding here in my article “The Four C’s of Successful Onboarding.” Today we’re talking about how we get the right people through the hiring and screening […]

    Hire Right - Every Time - 4 months ago Reply

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