Global Pandemic + Rapid Growth = New Onboarding Strategy

Portland-based Industrial Energy Efficiency Company

Case Studies

At some point in the evolution of your company, if you grow big enough, you’ll realize you need a robust onboarding strategy for all the new employees you’re hiring – you’ll want a streamlined approach that consistently assimilates your new hires as quickly and as effectively as possible. Now if your growth just so happens to collide with a worldwide pandemic, you’ll need that strategy real quick.


In 2020, a Portland-based company specializing in helping industrial companies and utilities save energy and money, found itself in just this situation. Knowing the rapid growth that was coming, they asked us to refine and standardize the onboarding experience for all employees, with particular focus on engineers.

  • Part 1 – Onboarding Strategy: A framework that provides the foundation for onboarding employees regardless of role.
  • Part 2 – Onboarding Plan, Engineer: Using the Onboarding Strategy as a guide, the plan provides an outline to follow for developing the onboarding experience of engineers.

So, how’d we do it? We started by conducting a comprehensive analysis of their current state of onboarding and their desired future state. This included reviewing existing onboarding documents, trainings, program created materials, practices, company culture, and technology options. Then we conducted a series of focus groups and interviews with key stakeholder groups and decision makers. These activities gave us a clear picture exactly what they needed so we could design a strategy to get them there – fast.

Results: Part 1

We delivered a seven-step Onboarding Strategy that:

  • Fosters a sense of welcome and integration of new employees into their functional teams and reflects the company culture.
  • Is scalable, consistent, systematized, and automated for ease of implementation and maintenance.
  • Provides customizable templates and processes within a set of defined parameters to meet the needs of specific roles and departments.
  • Presents key learning experiences around three pillars – culture, business, role.
  • Supports new employees by providing them the tools, materials, and resources to be accountable for their onboarding experience.
  • Assists onboarding stakeholders by providing them with tools, materials, and resources to be equipped to support new employees throughout the onboarding experience.
  • Provides guides for managers and mentors (project, team, etc.) to orient them to their onboarding role (tasks, expectations, timelines) to create a consistent and intentional onboarding experience.

Led by their new Learning & Development Manager, an Onboarding Strategy Taskforce (comprised of key decision makers from each accountability area) ensures that the onboarding strategy meets the needs of all new employees and internal transfers. The taskforce also identifies the metrics they want to evaluate the effectiveness of the onboarding strategy.

Results: Part 2

Next, we delivered the Onboarding Plan, Engineer. This interactive, shared responsibility, onboarding experience:

  • Delivers a consistent, yet flexible and personal, onboarding experience for the role of engineers regardless of region, program, or manager.
  • Supports new engineers by providing them the needed tools, materials, and resources to become fully functioning and engaged employees.
  • Increases speed to competency to meet or exceed company energy saving targets.
  • Embodies the “company way” to meet or exceed customer experience metrics.

An onboarding portal will be created to house all onboarding resources. Resources include:

  • A digital checklist that both the new engineer and the person with shared responsibility for each task (the direct manager, program mentor, technical mentor, Human Resources, IT, Training Department, etc.) will sign off on when successfully completed.
  • An onboarding guide (for the new engineer and each person who has shared responsibility) designed to walk them through their responsibilities, best practices, and expectations throughout the onboarding experience.

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