Elements of a successful onboarding program

Onboarding employees

Elements of a successful onboarding program

The employee onboarding process is not taken lightly at Byars|Wright. It’s a team effort, and everyone shares a common goal: Make each employee feel welcomed, comfortable, and informed. 

“Those first few days are the best time to make the best impression possible on the new hire and show them what we are really about as a company,” said Mitchell Garnett, Director of Agency Operations. “Our main objective is to make that new person feel a part of our team and allow them to have natural buy-in to what we are doing as an agency instead of forcing them into it.” 

The importance of a successful employee onboarding program

Amee Donald, Agency Relations Manager, manages the employee onboarding process from start to finish. She emphasized, “We win with people and believe we are successful because of them. We have a family culture and aim to treat each employee like family.” 

Likewise, Jan Giangrosso, Service Team Manager, said that having an effective employee onboarding process breeds a comfortable, learning environment for the employee. “If we do our job correctly, it makes the new employee self-sufficient and grooms them to become a mentor for a later new hire.” 

Plus, we believe the on-boarding process is just as beneficial for the agency as it is for the new employee. “Our onboarding process has helped improve other areas and ways we communicate with our current employees,” commented Lacey Rae Visintainer, Brand Manager.


“Not only are we creating a better, more personalized, and intentional way of bringing in new employees, but we’ve also learned a few things along the way.”

Key elements of a successful employee onboarding program

We asked members of our onboarding team to weigh in on what makes the Byars|Wright employee onboarding program successful. Here are the key elements that they noted: 

Give everyone a role

From a simple handshake and smile on an employee’s first day to serving as a mentor, everyone at Byars|Wright plays a role in the onboarding process. “We don’t want to just bring on new employees,” said Bobi Woody, Office Excellence Manager. “We want to lay the foundation for our relationship with that new employee during the onboarding process.” 

Start with introductions

It’s important to make the new hire feel right at home the second he/she comes into our office on their first day. “We introduce the new hire to everyone in the office within the first hour of the day, and then personally take them to the other four offices within their first week,” Mitchell said. “We take pride in the people we have on our team, and we want to let them shine their same light onto the new employee and make them feel as welcome as possible.” 

Instill company culture and values

Rather than jumping into workflows and day-to-day tasks, we spend the majority of our onboarding time instilling our culture into the new hire. Our values and culture impact every aspect of our agency and how we do business, so it is important for the new employee to understand our mindset and why we do things the way that we do. 

Make the process personal

Woody noted that “our onboarding process is different because we put a personal feel to the process.” Similarly, Scott Campbell, Agency Operations Manager, highlighted that “the key to onboarding an employee is figuring out how they respond to certain situations and understanding how they learn.”

Follow a shadowing schedule

Shadowing is an integral part of our onboarding process. “We give the new employee a chance to see all aspects of the company from producers to claims and everything in between,” Scott said. This not only allows new employees to get to know their co-workers but also gives them the opportunity to ask questions and see how their roles function within the agency, Amee said. 

Teach the technology 

From setting up their email to teaching them how to use specific software, it is vital that new employees understand the basics of how we use our computers to complete day-to-day tasks and communicate efficiently. 

Equip employees with valuable resources

Once we have introduced the new employee to the team, technology, and general agency processes, we leave them with a “New Employee Welcome Binder.” This binder houses basic information, like welcome letters, office maps, parking information, logins, and workflows. “Even though our agency strives to be as paperless as possible, telling a new employee they can find everything they need in their DropBox folder just doesn’t feel welcoming,” Lacey Ray said. “So, we created a binder that they can refer to on their first day. It has a schedule of their first day, week, and what to expect in the months to come.” The binder also houses a “Byars|Wright Family Photo Album” that allows new employees to put faces to names. 

Onboarding is ongoing 

One of the most important elements of a successful onboarding process is that it starts on day one and never stops. “After you follow your shadowing scheduling and onboarding protocol, you shouldn’t just stop,” Jan said. “You constantly ask the new employee how they are doing.” For example, once the new employee has an understanding of what they’re supposed to do, we conduct some “reverse shadowing.” This makes them feel more comfortable and confident in their role.  

Evaluate the process

Last but certainly not least, we are constantly asking for feedback from new employees on the onboarding process and how it can be improved for future employees. “People learn differently so we must teach differently,” Lacey Ray said. “Evaluating our resources and training process every time we have a new employee has helped us better develop training for both new and seasoned employees.”

Learn more about onboarding new employees from Byars|Wright 

Byars|Wright is a locally owned and operated independent insurance agency with five offices in the greater Birmingham area – including Jasper, Gardendale, Homewood, Alabaster, and Cullman – that has developed into a major provider of commercial and personal insurance. Since 1946, the agency has expanded its scope of business and delivers a wide-range of insurance products with quality coverage at competitive prices. Byars|Wright has been designated a Best Practices Agency by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and was also named “Best Companies to Work For in Alabama” by Business Alabama in 2016, 2017, 2018. 2019. We Build People, Protect Relationships. Byars|Wright is Where Relationships Matter.



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