Business team smiling welcoming new hire, manager's hand extended for handshake

After spending lots of time and resources on the hiring process, many companies then make the mistake of neglecting their onboarding process. Accepting the offer to join a company is a big decision for any new employee and the first 3 to 6 months are the most critical for new hire success. This is when employees feel overwhelmed, unsuccessful and often question their decision to make the move to the new company. During this timeframe, they may also be receiving alternative job offers or a counteroffer from their previous employer. That’s why it is so important to reinforce the reasons your new employee chose the position.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding goes beyond orientation. It is the process of integrating new employees into the workplace and providing the knowledge and tools for them to achieve success early on in their new jobs. It is the bridge between selection and productivity, encompassing activities from pre-arrival through to the end of their first year.

Most companies don’t have an onboarding program. They give their employees a desk, computer, quick overview of how to do the job, perhaps an employee manual, and direction to speak to their manager if they have any questions. Often times when the new employee does ask for assistance, everyone is too busy to give them the help they need.

There are many reasons why a company might not have an onboarding program; typically a lack of time, lack of leadership or lack of knowledgeable employees who have the ability to train. However, continuing to neglect this important process can be an extremely costly trap.

Why is Onboarding important?

“New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.”The Wynhurst Group

A comprehensive onboarding process helps new employees gain confidence and become productive quickly. It is your opportunity as an employer to set goals and expectations, train and develop, and introduce your new employees to the people and resources that affect their role. It improves overall engagement, performance and retention.

Onboarding best practices

Onboarding produces the greatest return on investment when it is intentional, collaborative and managed over the span of the first year as your new employee evolves in the job. There are many methods to bring employees on board. Choose the techniques and tools best suited for the situation and create some of your own.

  • View onboarding as a partnership between your new employee, their supervisor, Human Resources, and various subject matter experts within your company.
  • Begin onboarding activities with the acceptance of the job offer and continue through the first year of employment.
  • Prioritize ongoing, open communication and feedback
  • Where possible, explain the “why” behind policies and procedures. Employees are more likely to adopt a process when they understand the impact.
  • Provide opportunities for new employees to connect with their colleagues; those who they work with most closely and those in other departments that interact with their role.
  • Match the new employee with an experienced peer mentor or “buddy” to help them understand and navigate the organization.
  • Encourage participation in the organization’s social activities or groups (in person or virtual).
  • Don’t forget about your remote or hybrid staff—it can be easy to lose track of their progress if they’re not in the office with you.
  • Refer back to the Workstyle & Performance Profile results for your new hire and your entire team on an ongoing basis.

Need onboarding support?

Our Onboarding Guide leads you through the steps necessary for effective onboarding and provides you with best practices, tools and templates to set it up quickly and easily.

Download our free Onboarding Guide »