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Laying the foundations: Key components of an IT onboarding program

A strong onboarding process can increase retention by up to 82% and productivity by more than 70%.
A seasoned employee chatting with a freshly hired software engineer in an office to facilitate his onboarding process.
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Written by
Guest Writer
Published on
April 11, 2024
Last updated on
May 10, 2024

Did you know that with a poorly structured IT onboarding process it can take up to three months for new employees to reach full productivity? Yes, you read it right! This lost time can cost any company significantly.

But there’s a solution! A recent study from Brandon Hall Group shows that a strong onboarding process can dramatically improve these results. It also increases new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. 

So, if you are looking to enhance your onboarding programs, this article is for you. We’ll share key components of an IT onboarding program that will help you maximize new hire efficiency. Let’s dive: 

What is IT onboarding?

This is a unique process that ensures a new joiner fits well into the department. It includes setting up equipment and software to begin their role, providing them access to systems, and familiarizing them with your security practices. This personal approach lays the foundation for a successful career. There are many benefits to an effective onboarding program - it can improve retention by creating an environment of support from the beginning.

Pre-arrival preparation and setting the stage for success

Every one of us knows that the first day of a new employee is a big deal! If a new employee joins your team, try to make it a smooth and positive experience. Here are some tips to do so:

Make day one count

Nothing derails onboarding more than a lack of essentials. Before a new employee comes on board, make sure you have the following ready:

  • Workspace with all the equipment they need.
  • Laptops, monitors, and any specialized hardware need to do their job.
  • Pre-established email accounts and access to the core systems they will use daily.

Set good habits early

You can set different goals to make good habits. For instance, you can emphasize the importance of organized document management right from day one. Briefly explain how it can improve their productivity and efficiency. Ask them to use modern approaches, like using compressed PDF files, for better stability and searchability. 

Suppose they have no idea how to make a PDF size smaller on mac without losing the quality of images and text. You can provide them with detailed guides on whether they’ll need specialized editing software or if inbuilt Mac tools will help. This way, new hires start taking an interest and can quickly learn efficient document management in very little time. 

Create excitement and anticipation

Make a great first impression with a package that goes beyond paperwork. Consider including:

  • Detailed itinerary for the first week (meetings, training, etc.).
  • List of key IT and HR contacts and descriptions of their roles.
  • Links or guides to the company’s intranet and internal knowledge resources.

Incorporate feedback planning 

Feedback is essential for both the new hire and management. You can schedule check-ins in the first 30-60-90 days and make a draft of a 30-60-90 day plan ready for discussion in the first week.

Setting clear expectations

The first week sets the stage for a successful onboarding. Focusing on a specific direction in IT goes beyond general company policy. Cover your unique IT infrastructure, critical systems, and security protocols to build a solid technical understanding from the start.

A detailed first-week schedule provides a sense of direction. It balances technical training with team introductions, allowing time for information absorption and necessary administrative tasks. You can work with your manager early on to set goals and define what success will look like. It can help you build a motivational roadmap for new IT employees.

Fostering integration and knowledge transfer

New hires may have the right technical skills, but they also need the support system to succeed. It’s important to make them feel they are very much part of the team and have the necessary resources for their inquiries. Below is how you can do it:

Make connections, not just handshakes

Give new hires more than a simple introduction. Schedule time specifically for coffee or lunch, during which new employees and other coworkers interact informally and build relationships that will allow them to gain a personal understanding of the various units to which they belong.

Create easy tech training

A universal training plan is the best way to overcome frustration. Figure out the new hire’s strengths and weaknesses. Build a training plan to get them up to speed on the systems they’ll use every day.

Help them through a knowledge base

Share your knowledge base from day one, along with small tutorials on how it works. This way, you avoid making them dependent on others to find basic information, thereby encouraging them to become self-helpers.

Communication channels - networking from the beginning

For example, make your new hire aware of any internal chat tools, forums, etc., that the team may use to share ideas internally. Engaging in these types of conversations early will make them feel as if they belong there despite still being a newbie.


Even the best talent acquisition strategy needs to be followed by a properly designed IT onboarding program that helps new employees reach their full potential quickly. If you take extra steps to welcome new employees in an encouraging way and provide the necessary tools, you’ll set them up for long-term success. This approach will benefit both your new employees and your entire IT department.

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