New hires and new leaders have different onboarding challenges. So, we have different onboarding solutions. Connect the Dots will help make sure your onboarding process is effective.

Real Business Needs. Real Onboarding Solutions.

The onboarding process is one of the most important activities that a company performs, yet many managers still question its true value. As a result, they too often see the new hire or new leader walk out the door within the first year. We can help fix that.

The numbers do not lie. Onboarding is a big deal.

Did you know? Over 75% of those who are actively involved in a formal onboarding experience become productive, engaged team members who stay. Likewise, when new employees take part in a formal onboarding process, manager satisfaction increases by 20%.

So, the question is not whether to provide a formal onboarding program, but how to start creating one.

The answer for many companies has been the same: by partnering with Connect the Dots.

Since 2006, Connect the Dots has helped companies design onboarding experiences that make new hires feel like they made the right decision to join the team. And, equally important, managers feel they made the right decision in hiring them.

Our approach is highly customized to meet your needs. We work as an extension of your team to define and design the experience that will produce productive and engaged new hires, and strong, effective new leaders.

new hire experience

Make new hires feel welcomed, help them understand their roles and their importance to the organization, and be totally prepared for the first day at work — and beyond.


new leader transition

Unfortunately, 60% of new leaders fail within their first 18 months. This is costly to your bottom line and culture. We will help you purposely integrate your new leaders into the organization and give them the ability to deliver what they were hired to do.

Successful Onboarding. Successful Team.

The fact is, you only get one chance to successfully onboard a new hire. And we can tell you why it’s so important to get it right in less than a minute.

Onboarding Success Stories

Children’s Fashion Retailer
Leadership Onboarding with on target® executive coaching
Retail: Plus-size Women’s Clothing

Onboarding News & Updates



Part 1 in this 3-part series focused on two onboarding strategies for new hires: 1) making a personal connection by helping them feel like the organization is expecting them, and 2) regulating the amount of information they get. In part 2 we focus on two more of the six strategies borrowed from executive onboarding that your new hires will immediately benefit from.

Strategy #3: Focus on building relationships
No person is completely independent or “on an island” if they are working for any organization these days. Strong relationships are the key to a successful onboarding experience and sustained work performance, as every engagement survey report will show.  Start with your new hires as if they were as important to your success as the CEO would be. Think practically and strategically when selecting the people with whom they should meet and when.  We typically focus on this area for new senior leaders, but too often, we slip into all tactical activities for other employees.

Try these strategies to boost your relationship-building for new hires:

  • Consider all the stakeholders the new hire will rely on based on the role.
  • The manager is critical in helping the new hire identify and cultivate the right relationships.
  • Create a calendar of “meet-and-greet” meetings based on the onboarding objectives.
  • Build a strategy to connect with each stakeholder.
  • Spend time talking about key relationships with the new hire and how they impact their role, personal and organizational objectives, and success.
  • Solicit feedback about the new hire about these relationships and how they are forming.

All these strategies are “free” and only require a little bit of planning and collaboration with other functions to ensure that your new hires meet and connect with their key partners and internal customers.

Strategy #4: Create Early Wins
Early Wins are one of the best-kept secrets in a robust onboarding experience–maybe because it seems obvious, or maybe because we think of them as “job duties” and haven’t framed them as anything else. Senior leaders understand the power and impact of making some key contributions early to gain confidence, trust, and momentum within the organization.

Use these strategies to begin creating Early Wins during the onboarding process:

  • Identify 5-6 initiatives or projects that the new hire can do to demonstrate progress against bigger goals.
  • Support these with the resources needed.
  • Help the manager articulate expectations for each Early Win and track progress.
  • Establish a timeline for each Early Win and how it supports the overall goal.
  • Use the onboarding meetings to talk about any barriers and/or successes.

This “trick” can also be leveraged for every one of your new hires with a simple conversation and a worksheet.  When we used this strategy with a client, the new hire gained better clarity about what the organization needed from her and was able to execute a few of those things in the first ninety days or so. As a result, the new hire felt increasingly more confident about her decision to join the company.  Win, win, win!

Stats show that new hires are deciding as to whether they will stay or leave a new role during the first six months, so using Early Wins can help cement both the new hire’s decision to stay and give the organization indicators as to how they are doing against a formal plan.

Read about the next two strategies in part 3 of this series. If you missed part 1 of this 3 part series, click here.



Onboard new hires like a CEO? What would an “executive onboarding experience” look like and how could it impact your new hires’ engagement levels? Per Gallup, 88% of employees don’t think their current organization is good at onboarding and 76% of HR professionals don’t think they are doing a good job at onboarding employees. Robust onboarding addresses organizational challenges–attracting top talent, increasing engagement, boosting productivity, and reducing high turnover.

Here are six strategies borrowed from executive onboarding that you can implement immediately to quickly build organizational knowledge and key relationships and deliver timely feedback to adjust and avoid negative turnover.

Employees at all levels are dissatisfied with their onboarding experiences, and the cost of replacing them has never been higher; however, there are some “bright spots” of best practices that tend to show up for the highest-level leaders, like CEOs.

 Audrey Jarre, Head of Learning at 306Learning, put it plainly:

“A mere 12% of employees agree their organization does a good job of onboarding new employees. What’s more, if your organization isn’t among the ones that get onboarding right, it’s likely your new hires will be hunting for new jobs before you can say pro-ba-tion.”

We are not suggesting that all components of senior leader onboarding translate to the rest of the population, but here are some scalable strategies.

Strategy #1: Make it personal.

No CEO or senior leader would appreciate a generic onboarding experience, so why put your new hires through one?  Try one or all of the following to make your new hires feel welcomed and expected:

  • Create customized and personal welcome messages from the hiring manager, recruiter, and colleagues.
    • Use videos, texts, social media, and emails to connect 1:1.
  • Gifts, ”swag”,  or treats are low-cost and still appreciated!
  • Invitations to lunch, coffee, or dinner can really cement a new hire’s decision to join your organization.
  • The workspace, computer, email address, or bios on the internal directory are also places where new hires’ experience can be personalized.
  • Always leverage any organizational assessments and find fun ways to have new hires and current team members share their profiles (i.e., CliftonStrengths, DiSC, MBTI, etc.).


We worked with a client to create a virtual tour of their offices narrated by the CEO so that the new hires would have some familiarity with the environment before Day One. The video was on the new hire onboarding portal that we helped them create.  The “tour” was a fun, unexpected extra feature added to what the new hires need to know in the pre-start phase of onboarding; and some new hires watched it several times, even sharing it with friends and family members. The portal also allowed the manager to add a personal welcome message which she simply recorded from her phone and uploaded to the site. These personal touches helped the organization’s employment brand stand out and kept new hires engaged and excited before they ever walked into the building.

 Strategy #2: Don’t use a firehose approach.

Too often, new hires are inundated with tasks, training, and meetings in the first weeks which makes it difficult for them to really absorb the knowledge they need.  They forget who they met with during the first week and can miss key onboarding information if it is not clear how it is attached to their roles.

Use these tips to combat the “firehose” approach:

  • Create a relevant briefing packet.
    • Leverage articles, presentations, and internal communications that have been created or shared since the new hire accepted the job.
  • Collaborate with the hiring manager and HR partner to create realistic onboarding objectives and a customized action plan.
  • Schedule onboarding meetings with the manager and HR partner for at least six months.
  • Provide access to systems and training close to the time when the new hire will use them.
  • Communicate to the team/organization the purpose of the new hire’s role and expectations.
  • Do not schedule all the “meet and greets” in the first month.


Our client, Mark, benefitted from this approach when we helped his manager and HR partner build a realistic onboarding plan with “meet-and-greet” meetings that supported his plan’s objectives and timing.

An example was that he met 1:1 with other functional heads who helped him understand how the company measures success, how they make decisions, and how long he was “allowed to be new” in this organization.

Cultural learning during the first weeks on the job is priceless and this approach avoids early burn-out and costly missteps.  If new hires are bombarded early with meetings, presentations, and deliverables, they can often miss the most important onboarding lessons.

This is Part 1 of 3 installments of our series, “Onboard Like a CEO: 6 Strategies from the Corner Office that Will Engage and Develop Your New Hires. Read about the next two strategies in an upcoming issue.



Erika will be a featured speaker at the Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues address the topic: Onboard Like a CEO: Strategies from the corner office to engage and develop your new hires


Onboard new hires like a CEO? What would an “executive experience” look like and how could it impact your new hires’ engagement levels? Per Gallup, 88% of employees don’t think their current organization is good at onboarding and 76% of HR don’t think they are doing a good job at onboarding employees. Robust onboarding addresses organizational challenges – attracting top talent, engagement, productivity, and high turnover . You’ll get six strategies “borrowed” from executive onboarding you can implement immediately, including how to quickly build organizational knowledge; build key relationships and deliver timely feedback to adjust and avoid negative turnover.

Our team-connect Survey Process


We start with thoughtfully diagnosing the team’s current culture by using available data, assessments and interviews.

This provides the team leader with a clear view of what is getting in the way of the team’s success.

We design a series of structured team sessions that:

  • Share the team culture analysis
  • Give team members the opportunity to talk through both processes and behaviors that need to be addressed
  • Productively provide feedback to one another
  • Develop both team and individual commitments that will lead to the team’s desired state


Measure progress by leveraging CTD’s team-connect Survey to:

  • Drive accountability and measure progress by collecting team feedback specific to one another’s engagement and behavioral change
  • Provide the team’s leader with a clear understanding of what he/she and the team need from each other to enable and support the team’s success
  • Share team and individual survey result reports