Go Overboard on Onboarding: Why It’s a Good Idea

This week I received an interesting question asking how important onboarding is for new hires.

I have worked at organizations that have done a terrific job with onboarding and other organizations where it was not so terrific. I had an employer show me to my desk without introducing me to the team or telling me anything about the history of the organization. My onboarding consisted only of filling out the standard new-hire forms. It was a bit of a letdown, and I felt like maybe I had made a bad decision to join this company. I did not feel welcomed by the team.

I’d like to share some numbers that paint a picture of the importance of effective onboarding. Sixty-nine percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding. New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity.

Onboarding is often confused with orientation. While orientation is necessary for completing paperwork and other routine tasks, onboarding is a comprehensive process involving the leadership team and other employees and can last up to six or even 12 months when done right.

Onboarding includes an overview of the organization including its structure, history, brand, culture, vision, mission and values. Provide a tour of the worksite and personally introduce the new person to his or her colleagues. Make sure the new employee’s worksite and computer equipment are set up and ready to go on day one. Some companies decorate the new employee’s workspace with a team welcome message and company swag like a T-shirt or mug. Schedule regular meetings to check in to find out how things are going. Include a member of your senior leadership team to have a meet-and-greet with your new hire. Assigning a buddy or mentor to your new hire can really help the individual learn the ropes. Train your managers on the importance of onboarding and creating a great first impression right from the start.

In today’s competitive labor market, an effective onboarding strategy is more critical than ever and impacts the employee’s experience. Can you afford not to go overboard on onboarding?

If you want to know more about developing a great onboarding program or have other HR questions, we’d love to help! Give us a call or send an e-mail. We’re also available by chat. It’s one of the most valued benefits of SHRM membership!

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