The 6 “Simple” Steps for Quality Talent Selection & Onboarding Programs

The 6 “Simple” Steps for Quality Talent Selection & Onboarding Programs

Leadership author Jim Collins, known for his book “Good to Great,” has said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

In other words, having great people is mandatory for your organization to thrive. That’s why having quality talent selection and onboarding programs is so important—they help your people, and in turn your organization, succeed.

The many changes in talent selection and onboarding in recent years (from new recruiting technologies to onboarding that starts earlier and ends later) can make it seem like what’s involved in creating effective programs is also constantly changing. But the reality is, the core steps to achieve quality talent selection and onboarding programs remain the same.

There’s good news and bad news, however. The good news is that the steps are simple to explain and understand. The bad news is that they can be difficult to execute, which is a major reason many organizations struggle with talent selection and onboarding.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

Without clear and defined objectives, no program has a solid foundation or is sustainable. It’s amazing how many companies jump into design a talent program or solution without taking the time to align the organization and the project team around the goals. Without having set objectives, the initiatives easily get off track and don’t have metrics to support them. 

So, before you do anything else, be specific about what you’re trying to accomplish—and be sure that it serves your organization’s talent needs.

Step 2: Identify Your Audiences

Next identify the audiences (e.g. new leaders, people with high potential, external hires, etc.) that you most want to affect and influence with your talent program, so that you can achieve your objectives. Take the time to articulate each audience and gain alignment on each within the organization.

Step 3: Create Roles and Responsibilities

Creating clear roles and responsibilities for all partners involved is the “secret sauce” for an effective talent strategy. If you neglect this step you could end up with a half-baked, disorganized program that needs to be reworked.

Talk through each person’s role at a high level, and make sure each participant is clear on his or her individual priorities. Doing so also helps guide future decisions about who does what during the process, which is extremely helpful in facilitating any updates or changes.

Step 4: Capture and Communicate Your Culture

To successfully update and improve your talent efforts, it’s important to articulate your organization’s actual culture, not the aspirational one. Bring the dos and don’ts in your organization to surface and incorporate them into your programs. It will help new hires know how they can fit into your culture. Failure at this step can result in skilled and competent employees failing to integrate successfully, causing them to end up leaving either voluntarily or involuntarily—a loss for both them and for you as the employer.

Step 5: Build the Solution

Using the foundational work that you’ve done in the first four steps, create the process pieces for your talent selection and onboarding programs. One thing to consider is taking inventory of what’s working well now. Do you have an awesome orientation or pre-start package? Incorporate what you are doing well into your updated strategy so that you can continue to build on your success. Another tip is to research best practices in your industry and even outside of it for some great examples.

Step 6: Measure the Impact

Create or identify metrics that measure the success of your process. Are you meeting your objectives, or not? Is it time to make adjustments to your process or objectives? The right metrics help you answer these questions.

The right metrics also enable you to continue to support the business case for your talent strategy and demonstrate its value to the organization—which is extremely important for sustained success. Over time, the focus on measurement will only continue to increase. Continue to track data that are meaningful and add data that match your revised objectives. This data might include:

  • Time-based surveys of your new hires and hiring managers
  • Feedback from your candidate pools
  • Success rate of assessments
  • Qualitative data collected throughout the recruitment and onboarding processes
  • Data on the engagement of new hires and their speed to productivity

Challenging but Doable

Meeting the changing talent demands of an organization is highly challenging, especially given today’s tight labor market. Success requires being focused on the overall objectives, getting buy-in and alignment with key partners, and taking care and consideration with each step. Do these things and you can adapt your organization’s talent acquisition and onboarding strategies to support complex business goals.

Effective talent selection and onboarding programs are critical for your organization’s success. To learn how we can help you succeed, contact us at