Onboarding is a simple term, but with such a complex meaning. A formal definition may not be the best way to comprehend the intricacy of this word, but you need to know that it refers to the process of introducing a newly hired employee within an organization.
Analysis: According to Bersin Research1, 4 percent of new employees leave a job after a disastrous first day and 22 percent of staff turnovers occur in the first 45 days of employment. These losses can add up, given estimates that losing an employee in the first year costs at least three times that employee's salary.
 Bersin by Deloitte Research: Onboarding, On-Ramp for Employee Success
For those of you that like videos, and you would like to get a straight to the point intro to the topic, Gregg Learning explores in 7 minutes the HR basics of employee onboarding by unpacking three rules to effectively integrate employees into your organization.
"The speed of the boss is the speed of the team" - Lee Iacocca
Onboarding new employees is a crucial process for any company and it has a lot of advantages:
“Beyond the challenges of recruitment and retention, productivity is perhaps the most important reason onboarding has taken on such immense strategic relevance for progressive firms.” - Mark Stein and Lilleth Christiansen, authors of “Successful Onboarding”
It is important to look also at the costs of poor onboarding, as there are four areas impacted:
Insight: A survey put together by global organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry reveals2 that “98% of executives say employee onboarding is crucial to employee retention”.
 Korn Ferry: : 90 Percent of Executives Say New Hire Retention an Issue
Note: The opposite of onboarding is offboarding. Offboarding is the process when an employee leaves the company.
“Pay attention to your culture and your hires from the very beginning."
Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn
If your organization has a strong onboarding process, this will help in welcoming, retaining, and engaging new employees. Successful onboarding is about planning with the employee in mind: what he/she needs to know and do in order to have a successful start. It doesn’t begin when your employee enters into the office on the first day. However, the process will continue until they are fully settled in their job.
Moreover, a successful company onboarding process must reflect the four C’s of onboarding in your organization: compliance, clarification, culture and connection.
Note: Organizations with a standardized onboarding process experience 62% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention3. Ron Carucci, co-founder and managing partner at Navalent
Find below eight of the key steps you need to do as part of the onboarding process:
The Trello team put together a nice board with some additional cool onboarding ideas. You should check them out.
As an HR Manager, employee engagement is important for you, so you need to be proactive and follow-up. Check how the new hire is doing. Ask if she has any difficulties, how she is getting used with the organization and if needed schedule some additional meetings. This will create a stronger bond with the employee, it will stimulate commitment and professionalism.
According to HBR, onboarding is linked to administrative arrangements, business orientation, legal and procedural formalities, expectations and culture.
While hiring is time-consuming and costly, investing into onboarding the new employees will be reflected into their productivity and work effectiveness. A solid onboarding plan can shorten the learning curve for the new hires and solidify the company culture.
In building an onboarding plan, as HR manager you should answer yourself a set of questions:
Note: In an HBR feature2, Never eat alone author Keith Ferrazzi, highlights some impressive data on the importance of successful onboarding:
Explore below our onboarding process checklist from pre-arrival untill the end of the first year. Don’t forget that there is no one-size-fits-all and this template needs to be personalized according to your organizational culture, and be fit for the new hire role. By crafting such a plan in your organization you will ensure that no steps are forgotten, your employees will be fully equipped, guided and have a toolkit to help them succeed in the new company.
Example: Learn from successful onboarding program: Percolate, a leading Content Marketing Platform5
|#||Before day 1||Day 1||First week||First month|
|Scope||Preparation and purpose||Welcome the new hire||Orientation and Learning||Engage and collaborate|
|#||First 3 months||First 6 months||First year|
|Scope||Build and do||Perform||Review and grow|
Tip:We have prepared an onboarding checklist template for you to download instanly.
Gregg Learning summarizes once again the onboarding process in an easy to follow educational video.
Survey: Forty-four percent of employees and 60 percent of managers consider4 that mastering new processes and procedures tops their list of concerns when joining a company.
 Accountemps: Greatest Challenges When Starting a New Job
Job orientation is defined as the process that enables the employer to welcome the new employees to the company, while also giving them the needed information to start the job and an insight into the company’s culture.
Onboarding is often be confused with orientation. This is usually happening in smaller companies, where the HR expertise is limited. Let's clarify the differences between these 2 human resources terms.
You don't have a choice here. You can't have one without the other. These 2 processes serve different purposes and your new employees need to be part of both.
Although HR experts argue about the length of the onboarding process, they see eye to eye on the following: it starts the moment a job offer is accepted and it ends when a new hire is totally integrated into the organization and fully productive. Depending on their size, culture or vision, every company experiences different types of onboarding:
You may find it in a large company, with hundreds of employees. Those who support this type of onboarding believe that using specific procedures to support the newly hired is essential for him/her to adjust to the organization’s culture. The sooner they become part of the team, the faster will they be able to help the company succeed.
Also known as “sink or swim” is mostly favored by startups and small businesses. This general idea is that new employees will need to find out on their own what is expected of them. There will be some shadowing and one-on-one meetings with direct supervisors and team colleagues, but that’s it. This type could generate turnover matters.
Tip:To help HR managers, with the paperwork, we are sharing our free to download Employee information form.
If you want the new employees to get “on board” as soon as possible, do not overwhelm them with tons of paperwork. In order to save time during the onboarding process and avoid human error, create an onboarding checklist with all the steps you need to take and all the documents they need to sign and acknowledge.
Welcome the new employee. The new team-mate will want to feel nice and appreciated by the members of the team they will work with. So, do not stop at introductions with the CEO and the direct supervisor. Set up a 15-minute coffee break with 2 of the most cheerful members of the team to talk about the way they see the company and their work. Also, consider assigning a mentor for the first days or first week.
Show the newly hired that your company knows how to have fun. Besides the paperwork, desk allocation or introductions, you can surprise them with a funny history of the company, a customized welcome gift waiting for them at the desk or a fun lunch with the CEO. These types of activities will show you are willing to offer the best, being the employer so that they feel appreciated.
“We want to focus on creating a memorable experience for the new hire in the first year rather than processing them in the first few weeks.”
Cheryl Hughey, Director of Onboarding at Southwest Airlines
When it comes to software, you would have various choices.
Report: “Companies that succeed at onboarding and employee retention experience 2.5 times the revenue growth and 1.9 times the profit margin”5
The Creately team put together this flow-chart with all the milestones and key steps from pre-arrival to the 12-month review in a simple visual diagram.
Hopefully, the guidelines provided in this article will be of great help in designing your onboarding process, adapted to your company’s needs and culture. Remember that happy employees lead to a successful business, so make investments in this area and go out of your way to make newcomers feel welcome. Offer them the information they need in order to become productive right away.
“Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”