Think about the last person you hired. Do they still work there? Are you pleased with their performance? Do you feel like they share the company values and meet (or exceed) your expectations? Are they making friends at work? If not, your new hire onboarding process could be to blame.

The first 90 days are crucial to making your new hires successful and increase employee retention. This is the time to get them on board, share expectations, help them understand what your company is all about and give them a roadmap to the future. If you don’t have a plan for the first 90 days of every employee, you’re likely to lose them down the road.

If you’ve never heard of onboarding, or if your current approach could use some tweaking, here are a few of the best practices for onboarding used by the most successful companies.

It’s not the same as training.

Onboarding isn’t about showing them their job duties and training them on a new computer software. It’s about allowing your employees to feel, see, and hear what your company is about. It’s about getting them on board you’re your vision, not just the day to day tasks. New hire onboarding builds rapport with the company and gives support from coworkers and management.

Create a Program

It’s more than just taking them to lunch or showing them a promo video. Studies show that when walked through a structured onboarding program employees are significantly more likely to stick with the company for three years or more on average. Here’s a few ideas to incorporate into your program that can make a big difference.

  •     The buddy system:

The buddy system is a great way to help new hires acclimate quickly. Give them a buddy or a mentor that they can lean on during those first few weeks. This is someone who will help them learn their way around the office, learn the ins and outs of who is who and how things work.

  •     Swag bags:

Dress them up, get them enthusiastic, and make them feel included with company swag bags! They just started a new job, chances are they are pretty excited (and probably nervous). Show them you are grateful to have them with a swag bag.

  •     Shadow Experience:

Give new hires a glance into how the company works from all angles. Offer a front-line experience by giving them a shift on the factory floor, in the store, or answering customer service calls. This is especially helpful for new leaders or management positions.

  •     Make it memorable:

If your onboarding is thorough, diverse, and relevant, it will also be memorable. This doesn’t mean you have to plan a big outing or expensive company event. It’s about providing insight, making introductions to key employees, managers, or stakeholders, and giving support.

Onboarding is more than just making a good impression. It shows your excitement and gratitude for the contribution brought by a new team member. When new hires feel seen, heard, and accountable, it breeds loyalty, hard work, and engagement.

Think about the last person you hired. Do you feel like they share the company values and meet your expectations? If not, your new hire onboarding process may be to blame.