This blog was written by Amber Hunter, Director of People Strategy for Helpside.

Not long ago, I worked with a non-profit organization that supports military veterans who are transitioning out of the armed forces into civilian life. Why is this so important you ask? Don’t they have skills? A strong work ethic? Absolutely, but the transition is not easy. In working with this group, I learned members of the armed forces who are leaving the military have the highest suicide rate during the first three months after leaving. This is an alarming statistic and it made me think about transitions in general, especially job transitions when we are all feeling vulnerable and questioning if we made the right decision.

I, myself, have changed roles a few times in the last decade myself, and every time, I think, “Did I make the right choice? Is this the company for me? Will I fit in? Will I really like this job? Am I going to have buyer’s remorse?” As HR leaders, we have the opportunity to help employees through this critical period by creating a positive onboarding experience before the employee even sets foot in the workplace. Our role is to reassure new hires they made the right decision joining our organizations.

Employee onboarding begins the second the candidate leaves a final interview. If you are going to extend an offer, there are lots of ways to make that a meaningful experience for the prospective new hire. Some leaders take this opportunity to call and personally extend the offer and others leave that up to their HR teams to execute and check all the boxes. I feel leaders are missing out on a crucial moment when the HR team handles this exciting call—a call that can show your enthusiasm for the candidate to join your team, help answer any questions he or she may have before the offer letter comes through, address potential salary concerns, and better understand challenges with relocation logistics and possible family dynamics that might impact the success of the transition.

When creating an onboarding plan, keep in mind the long-term objective for your new hire. The onboarding experience should be designed to not only take them through orientation (the employee handbook and the basics of the job) but also help your new hire build and establish meaningful relationships with other team members. Gallup says one of the best indicators regarding an employee’s longevity with an organization and engagement is whether the employee has a best friend at work. Making friends and connections right away helps put the employee at ease with some aspects of the transition and helps to foster engagement. In my career, I have seen success when organizations go out of their way to help new hires quickly establish meaningful relationships with their peers. Be mindful of the balance of technology. With so many great tools to make recruiting and onboarding go smoothly, don’t miss out on opportunities to add the human touch.

Looking for more ideas to improve onboarding? Check out our Onboarding Toolkit.