15 Ways To Onboard New Hires Efficiently (Even During Busy Times)


Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership

Onboarding during slow periods can be a relatively simple process because the timelines that a company has to work with are a little more lenient. During a busy time of year, however, businesses don’t always have that same time they need to properly onboard their new hires. Deadlines are looming, and the company needs those new employees in the middle of the fray, putting out fires.

Amidst this rush, a business needs a highly effective onboarding process to successfully onboard new hires. Fifteen experts from Forbes Coaches Council offer their advice on what a company can do to onboard new team members efficiently during a busy time, and how it can be sure the fresh hires are still adequately supported during this rush.

Forbes Coaches Council members share strategies for supporting your new hires during onboarding even when time is scarce.


1. Proactively Prepare

There is an opportunity cost to not training employees. During bustling times of the year, it can be critical to have a proactively designed training program in place. Creating contingency plans for different issues like this is a big part of leadership. Asking questions about what is most needed during training and support times is critical, and then follow up to be sure these needs are met. – Dr. Diane Hamilton, Tonerra

2. Don’t Skip Any Steps

No matter the allure of jumping in with both feet, proper and thoughtful onboarding is vital for the ultimate and long-term success of a new hire or recently promoted leader. Consider this: move the leader through the process at an accelerated pace, but be clear on what your process includes. Engage those around the new leader to support their indoctrination, as well. – Michele Davenport, MOSAIC COACHING SOLUTIONS

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3. Integrate Rather Than Onboard

Focus on integrating your new employee as quickly as possible; help the new team member build credibility and confidence by supporting them while they achieve an early win. Perhaps that comes from turning around a failing project or from a team-oriented effort that raises profits and strengthens the whole team. The sooner the new hire is a trusted member of your organization, the better for all. – Lisa Walsh, Bridgepath Career Advisors, LLC

4. Create A Complete Feedback Loop

One of the rather easy ways to evaluate and improve onboarding, be it in a high- or low-stress environment, is having a complete feedback loop with all stakeholders. This would allow for feedback from all levels, including the new employee. This kind of dynamic feedback allows for quick tactical pivots to improve the onboarding quickly and effectively. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

5. Have Clear Standard Operating Procedures

Having a well-organized standard operating procedures manual makes onboarding an employee seamless in any season. Compiling the company’s expectations and daily operations into an in-depth manual will allow new employees to transition with ease. A well-laid-out manual or set of onboarding modules can provide the structure needed to foster independence and integration into the company culture. – LaTasha Weatherspoon-Bailey, The Lifted Lifestyle

6. Leverage Your Team’s Insights And Experience

One of the most effective and efficient ways to onboard a new employee productively during your busy season is to pair them with a mentor or sponsor who will be able to leverage their insights and experience to give the new hire on-the-job training. This not only allows the new employee to experience the “what ifs” in a realistic setting, but also maximizes the synergistic efforts of teamwork. – Shelley Hastings, Synergy Empowerment Coaching, LLC

7. Commit To High Employee Engagement

An effective onboarding program most often results in a positive employee experience and inclusion, and sets the stage for engagement and excellence. Deviation from the plan or lack of commitment to the onboarding process often result in turnover and low engagement. For lasting and positive results, schedule, commit and execute designated times to attend to the necessary activities and tasks. – Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting

8. Narrow The Focus And Deliverables

During busy times, focus new employees on a narrower and simpler set of tasks. These tasks should support the more experienced team by removing some tasks that take time, but are not critical to the customer experience or operation. Expand their responsibilities slowly, providing more advanced training when things slow down. However, make them feel welcome even more—after all, you need them more! – Shane Green, SGEi

9. Map Out The Learning Curve

Create an onboarding map. Design it so you provide direction for 90 days with technical and team benchmarks mapped out so they know clearly where to focus energy. You can create a self and other rater to determine level of mastery. Assign a mentor for each area of growth. Schedule biweekly onboarding check-ins with all new team members. This creates buy-in, mastery and a sense of belonging. – Dr. Denise Trudeau-Poskas, Blue Egg Leadership

10. Create Space For Them To Acclimate

You’ve spent a lot of time finding the perfect fit, so create the space to acclimate them to their new responsibilities, organizational culture and key stakeholders. Use their first two weeks for a full orientation. Prep your team and distribute tasks with looming deadlines to them so your new hire doesn’t feel the pressure of performing when they’re unprepared. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. – Carol Parker Walsh, Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC

11. Use An Onboarding Check Sheet

Use an onboarding check sheet to get the company and employee in sync efficiently and effectively. Make sure it includes: policy and procedure manual, insurance and benefits training, phone, building and technology orientation, key team and department introductions, job description review, goal review, job shadowing. Once these items are checked off, give specific projects to onboard quickly. – Susan K. Wehrley, BIZremedies

12. Build A Library Of Training Videos

I make step-by-step training videos with new hires in person or with Zoom meetings. Each video gets saved in a simple membership site. We use Kajabi or a private YouTube playlist. Over time that library grows, shortens onboarding and reduces my workload. Now I teach my employees how to make training videos so I only make them when they don’t have the know-how or capabilities. – Mike Koenigs, MikeKoenigs.com

13. Utilize Experiential Learning Opportunities

Experiential learning can be the most valuable form of training during peak business seasons. Pair new hires with seasoned team members, establishing a mentorship relationship that tackles key deadlines as a team. Establish support guidelines and performance measurements for all involved. This tactic will also help develop top performers on your team to delegate in a unique supervisory role for growth. – Lourdes Mestre, Marketing Muses

14. Apply The One-Hour Rule

Everyone knows the cliches. You reap what you sow or you get what you give, etc. It’s true. While onboarding during a busy time, we use the “one-hour rule”: one hour before and one hour after normal business hours. I show up an hour early to engage and answer any questions, and I stay an hour later. I host breakfast and coffee and a light dinner for one week. This allows engagement without pressure. – Stephynie Malik, Stephynie Malik, SMALIK Enterprises

15. Carve Out Connection Time

Amidst the insanity, make sure you carve out time for real connection, even if it’s on your commute time home for a regrouping phone call. Ask, “So how has it been for you these last couple of days?” or “What’s one thing that would make it even better for you?” If you’re apologizing for not being available, then that’s a sign you need to make yourself more available. Always prioritize the newbies. – Jodi Wellman, Spectacular at Work