Employee Onboarding: A Crucial Process That You Can’t Ignore

A good employee onboarding program aims at making the new hire feel welcome at the workplace, providing them with tools, training, and resources to make them productive in a short time and integrate them into the culture of the company.

McKinsey conducted a global study wherein they found that the most challenging job faced by CEOs of this digitally connected age is retaining their employees after they hire employees. In the search for talent acquisition and retention, recruiting is not where the job ends, onboarding is an equally important leg of the entire hiring process.

What is Onboarding?

Just like the first day of school, onboarding can feel like a formidable process for the new employee, but it need not be. A good employee onboarding program aims at making the new hire feel welcome at the workplace, providing them with tools, training, and resources to make them productive in a short time and integrate them into the culture of the company. It is the best time to bridge the gap between the new employee and the organization in a subtle way with respect and care.

Depending on the company, the onboarding process can be approached in different ways. Some companies passively make the employee go through a series of meetings and presentations while some companies make it more fun, laid-back and interactive with games, costumes, and skits.

There is no hard and fast rule about the choice of approach, but onboarding should be taken as an essential part of the hiring process to retain the star performers in any organization.

How does onboarding affect attrition and employee retention?

Let us take a look at some of the figures which depict how onboarding can affect attrition and retention:

  • An engaging employee onboarding program helps in retaining 91% of their hires in the first year.
  • As per SHRM (society of human resource management), with a well-structured onboarding process in place, 69% of newly hired employees remain in the company for three years.
  • A good 17% of employees leave the organization within 90 days of getting hired if they experience an ineffective onboarding program.

So what constitutes an effective and engaging HR onboarding?

Some of the features that make for a great candidate experience while onboarding are:

  • Engage them before their first day at work – A mistake that many companies make is that once the contract is signed with the new hire, the new employee is left in the dark till the first day of orientation. What they miss to discern is that this is the riskiest period to lose the new hire as the candidate might be getting offers from other places.

The company must encourage their employees and HR to reach out to the new candidate and show how excited they are to have him/her on board. A welcome email, a handwritten note, or saying “hi” on LinkedIn or other social media platforms by existing employees of the company are some of the things that send out a warm signal to the new employee and make him/her feel accepted.

  • Pairing employees – When the new employee is paired with a veteran employee in the team, it eases the new hire into his/her new role. Moreover, they get to know the team and are given hands-on-training through the first contact. Apart from work, the workplace partner can also let them know about great places to eat or some employee engagement activities conducted by the company.
  • Have a one-on-one with the manager– Merely signing some papers is not what an onboarding experience should look like. A one-on-one with the manager is a very important aspect of the process. The manager must prioritize this activity with the new employee and give ample time to it. A LinkedIn survey showed that 96% of new employees valued one-on-one with the manager and rated it as a great onboarding experience.
  • Give them a roadmap for the future – Like the customer journey map, one needs to have an employee journey map. It is the blueprint which details the employee’s current responsibilities along with future goals and the next steps in their career. This sets the expectations and milestones for the new employee and also gives a feel of the new hire’s strong and weak areas to the manager.

Onboarding is a process that builds the reputation of the company as well. The impact of a good or bad onboarding process shows how soon an employee leaves the organization and whether he/she is likely to encourage or discourage other applicants from applying to your company. The speed and tone of the onboarding process can determine the trust in the employer-employee relationship and also affect the productivity of the newly on-boarded person.


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