Former Chick-fil-A VP Dee Ann Turner: Want your new hires to succeed and thrive? Do this

An effective onboarding of staff sets them up for success starting Day 1.

What are some characteristics of an effective onboarding program?

Orientation and onboarding begin Day 1. 

Some organizations will start employees on any day of the month that suits the new employee and his manager. If possible, set up specific start dates each month set aside for orientation and onboarding.

Your new employees should have engaged with the culture during the selection process, but this day is the opportunity to start becoming a part of it. Make orientation the employees’ first day of employment. Don’t allow them to start their job until they have completed this important process.

Use Day 1 to teach the elements of the organizational culture. Hopefully, new staff have learned about the purpose, mission, core values and guiding principles during the selection process. Orientation is where these elements come to life for the new staff member through storytelling and experiencing the culture firsthand.

Prepare to have available everything the new employee needs on Day 1. Name badges, uniforms, parking passes, office space, telephones, computers and any other tools or equipment an employee needs should be set up and ready to go on the very first day.

Review job role and performance expectations. 

Orientation and onboarding is a great time to review the role and expectations that were discussed during the selection process.

Focusing on roles, responsibilities and performance very early ensures the employee will have every opportunity to contribute quickly to team goals.

Present the training schedule. 

The employee’s training schedule, whether it is one day or one month, should be available when the employee arrives for Day 1. That way, they know what to expect and do not have to wonder about what they will learn and when.

At Chick- fil- A, new staff members and new franchisees have a very interesting orientation experience. For staff on their first day of work and for franchisees on their first day of training, the CEO takes them on a mobile organizational culture tour.

The day starts by boarding a bus and traveling to the company’s original restaurant. Afterward, the tour continues at some of the more meaningful locations that are part of the company’s culture.

They visit the chairman’s office at the Coca- Cola Company, one of their largest vendors. They visit Junior Achievement Finance Park to see some of the charitable work the company supports. The event ends at the home of the CEO, where dinner is served to the group.

A good start to a new job is a great start to immersing talent into the culture of the organization. Some organizations are so desperate to put people to work that they overlook this critical season for a new employee. Take the time to set your new employees up for success from the start.


Their early engagement will both strengthen your culture and produce favorable business results.

Excerpted from from Dee Ann Turner's, "Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins the Hearts of Customers," published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group on September 3, 2019. Used by permission.