The Importance of Employee Onboarding

Employees on a sailboat looking through a telescope

Employee onboarding is a way to ensure the first experiences of new employees are positive. While employee orientation is a one-time event, employee onboarding is a long-term process designed to help newcomers acclimate to a company’s operations and culture. Implementing this process can be tricky. However, doing so effectively leads to substantially positive outcomes.

Why Onboarding Matters

Onboarding serves as a helpful practice of continual employee support. It is also good for business. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), studies have shown:

  • 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a successful onboarding experience.
  • New employees were 58 percent more likely to stay with an organization for more than three years if they went through a structured onboarding program.
  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process benefit from 50 percent more productivity from new hires.

In contrast, the price of turnover can run steep. According to report by SAGE discussed in Inc., replacing an entry level worker can cost between 30 and 50 percent of that person’s individual salary. Replacing a mid-level employee can cost 150 percent, while replacing high-level employees or employees in specialized areas can cost up to 400 percent. Additional expenses can include productivity loss as new employees get up to speed or overtime coverage for seasoned employees.

Because employee onboarding is so vital, companies can maximize their success by clearly defining the aims of their program.

Employee Onboarding Goals

An effective employee onboarding experience should reach goals that comprehensively prepare a new employee for success in their role. Another article by SHRM defines three main objectives companies should strive for when preparing their employee onboarding program:

  • Every company has its own culture, personality and philosophies. Formally assisting new employees to acclimate means helping them understand company procedures, expectations and how their role contributes to company goals.
  • Engaged employees contribute to higher profitability, a better safety record, less absenteeism and a host of other benefits. To engage an employee during onboarding means to help them build relationships with management and peers, giving recognition and providing opportunities for professional growth.
  • An effective employee onboarding program makes new workers excited about the choice they’ve made to work at a company. It makes them feel welcome and respected and look forward to their future at the organization.

Onboarding Considerations

Once a company’s goals are established, they can then begin to consider practical ways to implement their onboarding program. Companies should ask the following questions when building their process:

  • When will the onboarding process start? How long will it take?
  • What impression should new hires feel about the company at the end of their first day?
  • What do new employees need to know about your company’s work culture?
  • How does Human Resources play a role in the onboarding process? Direct managers? Peers?
  • How does the company measure worker success?

Additionally, the company should strive to make new employees’ transition into the organization as easy as possible. The company should take proactive measures, such as:

  • Sending out emails to the office about the new employee’s arrival.
  • Providing new employees with name plates, business cards and security badges if necessary.
  • Setting up new employee computers and configuring email accounts.
  • Preparing to answer common questions, such as where to park, where the restrooms are, how the copy machine works and who a new employee should talk to if they have additional questions.

Many more considerations can be taken into account when developing onboarding procedures, particularly when the unique needs of the company must be met. Individuals passionate about this kind of intelligent leadership can benefit from earning the right degree.

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