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A 6-Step Science-Backed Framework To Better Employee Onboarding

The science behind excellent onboarding

I don’t have to tell you how important onboarding is.

You wouldn’t be here otherwise, right?

But, do you know that there is a scientific framework that increases onboarding effectiveness?

Preppio’s Chief Scientific Officer, Talya Bauer, Ph.D., developed the 6 C’s framework based on years of research.

You’ll find it in many academic and HR industry publications, but we’re distilling it for you here into a quick read.

In 3 minutes I’ll show you what the 6 C’s are and their impact when you design your new employee onboarding process with them in mind.

Compliance: SAVE TIME

You know the tasks that need to be completed, but getting them done timely and consistently is another story.

Paperwork and other compliance-related tasks need to be ready in time to ensure a flying start.

More importantly, these action items need to be completed before the new hire’s first day during the pre-boarding phase of onboarding.

This shortens the time to full productivity by ensuring that new hires have access to the right tools, equipment, and paperwork at the right time.

Preppio helps companies set up a great pre-boarding process to get help save time on practical things.

Read this article about pre-boarding to learn more.


Human connection is a deep human need, and the very best companies connect new hires to their manager, mission, and co-workers in the pre-boarding phase.

A large airline we work with learned this the hard way.

They had 200–300 employees ghost them after signing the job offer.

The employee no-show rates were reduced to 50 a year after the airline started personally following up with them in the pre-boarding phase.


Because emotions matter.

When you show that you care and employees feel like they belong, it is harder for them to quit.

This also applies in the later stages of the employee onboarding process.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 20% of employees that quit do so in the first 45 days (1).

In the first days and weeks on the job, the key to a well-thought-out and designed onboarding process is connection.


design your new employee onboarding process

It is important for new hires to quickly learn the culture and “how things are done around here”.

Connect new hires to your culture by conveying how their role within the company relates to the greater objectives.

Create a story to illustrate how they contribute to the culture.

Your goal is to make the outsider feel like an insider as soon as possible.

Culture first onboarding is what makes employees be more engaged – these are your raving fans and really help with your employer branding and recruitment.


Design your new employee onboarding process – Get started with our best practices checklist for new hires.


Clarification is the most underrated of the 6 C’s.

It is very powerful when done right, and it should start in the recruitment process.

If you do not clarify the role and set expectations, the employees do not have clear goals to move towards and you will have a harder time managing them.

Tell them the standard you expect and it will be easy for new hires to fulfill your needs.

It is not uncommon for employees to feel like they have been successfully onboarded, but the managers still feel they are not up to speed.

High-performing new hires want to know what to do, where to find help, and what is expected of them.

Make it easy for them to know how well they are doing and how they can work towards the organizational goals.


Dr. Talya Bauer explains confidence best in this excerpt from her article, “New employee onboarding framework”: 

“Confidence refers to how much new employees feel like they can do the job well and tackle new challenges. It is a state of mind. While an organization cannot directly help new employees feel better about themselves, they can design onboarding experiences that help build up employees rather than tearing them down.

When employees feel more confident, they are more likely to feel good about those around them as well as the choice to join your organization. Research conducted by Dan Cable and his colleagues found that onboarding, when done right to focus on the value of the new employee and encouraging them to share themselves at work, can immediately increase performance and retention.”


Have you ever experienced an onboarding process that was clearly outdated?

That is, a great onboarding program was developed at one point and then left for years without any follow-up.

Too often we hear from managers who believe they’ve got a good process, but learn that their employees had a bad onboarding experience.

Without a system of continuous feedback loops, it is hard for you to know how well your employee onboarding program is truly working.

Worse, you have no reference for improvement.

Onboarding often is the hiring manager’s responsibility, but HR is building the onboarding process.

Design a system that ensures check backs to ensure that your onboarding is always delivering and that everyone gets a good onboarding experience.

At Preppio we turn HR professionals into onboarding superstars 🤩

Our company is built around one thing: Onboarding.

It’s our focus every day, all the time.

By staying on top of the latest trends and research we are able to bring you the most important “need to know” onboarding news, tips, and expert advice.


Download our employee onboarding checklist today to start creating an exceptional onboarding experience for all of your new employees.