Strategy | How to get your line managers to own your onboarding

How to get your line managers to own your onboarding

You’ve developed a great onboarding process. You’ve developed and created an innovative onboarding platform that will help you deliver it. Now you just need to get your organisation’s Line Managers onboard. But how?

It isn’t always easy. We’ve all heard the objections: “Not more systems!”, “Isn’t this HR’s job?”, “I don’t have time to do this.”, but we know line manager buy-in is key to making the most of your onboarding strategy for your new starters. So, what are the best ways to inform, engage and inspire these vital allies?


Your Line Managers are going to be on the front line when it comes to onboarding. So, when you’re designing your new strategy, getting their thoughts, ideas and suggestions, through a quick online survey or a workshop, can prove invaluable in enhancing onboarding and driving engagement.


Just because you’ve spent months creating the perfect onboarding process, doesn’t mean others throughout the business are aware of it. You need to spread the message about how it works, as well as explaining how powerful good onboarding can be in improving a new starter’s performance, boosting their engagement – and even retaining them in your company. So, launch any new initiative with a bang, through a well-thought-out internal comms piece.

Support and Training

Don’t assume people know what good looks like when it comes to onboarding. Whether it’s a formal training session, information on your intranet, or a dedicated onboarding site for line managers, make sure you give managers the support they need to succeed. Rolls-Royce do all of the above (with the help of their onboarding system, Eli). They’ve also gone to great lengths to ensure content is engaging too, as this creative video (highlighting what a great onboarding experience should involve at Rolls-Royce) demonstrates.


A clearly defined list of responsibilities for each line manager when they onboard a new employee is invaluable. This could be as simple as a step-by step list they print out and complete. Or something a little more sophisticated, managed by an onboarding system and tailored to their new starter. That same system can help manage the process and timelines, with automated email reminders, so line managers (and their new starters) can easily keep on top of their ‘to do’ list.

Make it part of their performance plan

Linking the completion of onboarding processes – and in particular the experience of new starters – to a line manager’s performance plan can be highly effective. It creates a win-win situation where line managers start to see onboarding as their responsibility, new joiners get a great experience at the start of their time with you, and everyone benefits from the new employee’s enhanced performance.

Reward and celebrate

Where line managers have done a great job in onboarding new joiners, shout about this and share their success stories. Rewards and incentive schemes are also a great way to keep the importance of onboarding front of mind.

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