Successful Onboarding

A Strategy to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization

In Successful Onboarding, Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen challenge established norms on what leaders should expect from their investment in hiring. Stein and Christiansen provide a framework for driving improvements in the new hire experience and delivering better performance for the business.

Release date: June 25, 2010, McGraw-Hill; ISBN-10: 0071739378

Consider this:

  • Almost a third of employees employed in their current job for less than 6 months are already job searching

  • Almost a third of executives who join organizations as an external hire miss expectations in the first 2 years

  • With 10% to 15% annual attrition, companies turn over upwards of 60% of their entire talent base within 4 years

So what should you do about it?
Find out in Successful Onboarding

Successful Onboarding was written to help you unlock hidden value from your talent base, improve retention of the best new hires, achieve higher levels of productivity, faster time to productivity–and greater realization of the organization’s strategic goals.

In the book, Stein and Christiansen share insights from their study of the circumstances that determine new hire success stories as well as disappointing and costly failures. They provide case studies from their personal experiences leading many onboarding redesign initiatives at top companies, as well as the results from their examination of onboarding practices employed by a large number of Fortune 500 organizations. You’ll discover how they make the business case for onboarding and how you can make the case within your organization.

Successful Onboarding is not simply an improved orientation to the organization. It is a total system for success that is woven into the entire experience in the course of your new hires’ first year. A framework is introduced for undertaking a successful onboarding redesign initiative that is tailored to an organization’s circumstances and specific objectives. The book outlines the necessary components for a successful onboarding design: support for how your new hires can master your culture; development of professional and personal relationships that will increase performance; systems to provide early career support that stimulate engagement and commitment; and a deeper understanding of your company’s strategy, and how this strategy translates into direction for the new hire. The result is a revitalized employer-employee compact that advances both parties interests — a true win-win scenario that Stein and Christiansen call the Onboarding Margin™.

Explore this website further to learn about achieving Onboarding Margin. For more information please feel free to contact Mark Stein or Lilith Christiansen, and place an order for the book from your favorite bookstore (including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders).

Praise for Successful Onboarding

Bringing a new employee on board can be the start of a rewarding relationship or the beginning of a missed opportunity. This smart book can teach you how to make the most of each employee’s career starting on Day One.

Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND

This book has the potential to change the way that we think about new hires and what is possible from this group. With the instruction provided, you can migrate onboarding from the administrative to the strategic, and deliver far greater value for your enterprise

Betty Thompson, Senior Vice President, People Services, Booz Allen Hamilton

An approach to transforming your organization’s onboarding process from a one-time transaction to a sustained and integrated employee experience that drives performance and engagement right out of the gate.

Matt Motzkin, Director, Organizational Development, Disney-ABC Television Group

Hiring employees is the biggest investment most organizations make. Understanding how to make sure that investment sticks is what onboarding is about, and Successful Onboarding shows you how to do it right

Peter Cappelli, Director — Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania; author of TALENT ON DEMAND

This is a terrific resource for anyone wanting to create an effective onboarding program

Mindy Moye, Ph.D., Manager Employee Engagement, John Deere

In Successful Onboarding Lilith and Mark demonstrate the financial impact that the onboarding process can have on your organization, and provides a roadmap for improving your return on investment. The book has already changed the way we think about onboarding in our organization.

Andrew Blocher, Chief Financial Officer, Federal Realty Investment Trust

Goodbye old school orientation and welcome to onboarding. A great reference to tailor your onboarding based on your culture and strategy. This book demonstrates how sound and creative onboarding can prevent a lot of voluntary off-boarding from high performing employees

Sonia Narang, Director, Leadership & Organization Development, Sony Pictures Entertainment

People are a company’s most important asset. Successful Onboarding makes the case for the importance of effective onboarding in setting up employees for success

Stephen Squeri, Group President, Global Services and Chief Information Officer, American Express Company

Every company leader who is serious about delivering results through people should read this book. Successful Onboarding not only gives a roadmap to successful hiring and retention, but also addresses the common pitfalls that lead to adjustment struggles, discouragement and skepticism from new hires. This book rings true to those of us who coach leaders in the onboarding transition.

Kate Ebner, Co-Director, Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Program, Principal, The Nebo Company

This is an important book for business leaders who want to assure employee engagement from Day One! Practical and instructive, the book gives leaders everything required to plan and implement an onboarding strategy that provides maximum organizational benefits. Not only does the book convincingly build the business case for excellence in onboarding, the authors lay out in the clearest of terms a ‘recipe’ to assist practitioners to plan and implement a strategy that will contribute the results we are all looking for….engaged employees who choose to build a career in our organizations and contribute to organizational success in the long term!! Well done, Mark and Lilith!!

Bonnie DuPont, Corporate Director; Former Group Vice President, Corporate Resources, Enbridge, Inc.

Successful Onboarding could easily be titled Maximizing Your ROI. If you adopt the authors’ perspective and follow the best practices they present, your organization will get the greatest possible return on its investment in new talent. Stein and Christiansen’s work will shift your focus from activities to results.


A comprehensive and highly practical guide to the critical — but underappreciated — practice of onboarding new employees. The authors make a convincing business case for strategic onboarding and then outline a step-by-step process for a positive and enduring outcome

Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service

Successful Onboarding – Table of Contents


Part One: Rethinking Onboarding

  • Chapter One: The Business Case for Onboarding
  • Chapter Two: The State of the Art: Essentials of Strategic Onboarding
  • Chapter Two Appendix: An Economic Analysis of the Onboarding Margin

Part Two: The New, New Hire Compact

  • Chapter Three: Teaching Culture So That Our New Hires “Get It”
  • Chapter Four: “Connections that Count” — Empowering Employees by Nurturing Valuable Relationships
  • Chapter Five: Personal Progress and Prospect: Early Career Support
  • Chapter Six: “Limited Upside in Flying Blind”: Driving Strategic Insight and Impact
  • Chapter Seven: The Onboarding Margin Life Support System: Administration and Governance

Part Three: The Onboarding Design Process

  • Chapter Eight: Getting Started: Conducting A Program Diagnostic
  • Chapter Nine: Driving Implementation – From Blueprint to Impact

Conclusion & Next Steps