The 4 Cs of Onboarding

You’ve spent time vetting your candidate through a series of interviews, introduced them to the decision makers, made the offer which she’s accepted, and now it’s time to get your new hire started. Over the last several years, employee onboarding has began to make its way to the front of the pack as the first and most important process in the ever-increasing challenge of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. If you want your employee to be engaged, productive, and you want to retain them, an effective and consistent onboarding process is required.

According to the Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success guide published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, the components of a successful onboarding approach include:

  • Compliance– the lowest level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  • Clarification– refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
  • Culture– a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms— both formal and informal.
  • Connection– refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.


While compliance is one of the more basic functions of onboarding, it can also be the most costly if not kept. Informing employees about policies, rules and regulations is important, along with making sure that all documents have been properly filled. From background checks to I-9 verification to ACA compliance and more, compliance is an imperative for a successful onboarding platform. It will protect the future of your new employee, and prevent your company from being charged potentially steep fines for noncompliance.


One of the biggest reasons a new employee leaves within the first year of employment is because of a lack of clarity in their job description. An effective onboarding program provides a clear job description, along with expectations, and performance goals and benchmarks. The clarification of their job responsibilities and any other responsibility they may have can come in the form of direct verbal communication along with items such as their job description, organizational charts, and process and procedure manuals.


Culture is the magic that makes everything happen. I’m sure someone has said that before, but if not, then I’ll take the quote. More and more, HR professionals understand the importance of hiring people who have a legitimate shot at fitting into the culture, even well beyond their hard skills they bring to the job. The onboarding process is the critical time to immerse your new hire into the culture, meeting people, building relationships, and being made to be an integral part of the team.


You want employees to feel an immediate connection with the people in your organization. Here at Essium, as a digital platform provider, we’re always a fan of the online space, so you could welcome your new hire with a personal welcome video from the CEO or business owner. Use a seasoned and well-liked member of your current staff to serve as a mentor to your new hire, and set up a pre-arranged schedule of one-on-one meetings with colleagues who will help connect the employee to the organization.

These Cs will help you on your way to providing a great onboarding experience for both your new employee and your company. While every company’s needs are different, you can make sure to address what’s most important to your company and employees, creating a great working relationship for many years to come.