The Importance of an Employee Onboarding Strategy

Could it Make or Break the Entire Employee Experience?

Written by Lauren Fischer | June 28, 2019

Employee Onboarding

You’ve interviewed, discussed and interviewed some more – and you’ve finally found and are ready to welcome your ideal new hire. Now, what do the weeks, months and years ahead look like for your new employee?

Employee onboarding is more than just introductions and a tour of the office. It’s an opportunity for employers to truly ‘wow’ new employees and increase the likelihood that they’ll become loyal and engaged team members. In fact, the onboarding process could be the deciding factor of whether an employee truly invests in their position.

That said, the onboarding process is not to be rushed. It should be thorough, organized and well-planned. Before you dive head-first into revamping your employee onboarding strategy, it’s important to understand why having an effective process is necessary for company-wide success.

Top 3 Reasons to Improve Employee Onboarding

1. Increase Employee Retention

It’s no secret that the war for top talent is on – making it more important than ever to regularly evaluate employee engagement, turnover rates, benefits offerings, and even your employee onboarding strategy. After all, the likelihood of retaining employees starts on day one of employment and increases when there’s an effective onboarding process in place. As a benefits and human resources professional, you know that the better your retention rates, the better your reputation is among job-seekers and even customers or clients.

2. Reduce Employee Ramp-Up Time

Adjusting to a new position takes time, and it may be months before a new hire is making real contributions to the company. Nonetheless, the goal is for new employees to provide value as quickly as possible. In the case of onboarding, faster isn’t always better. According to Work Institute, effective onboarding reduces the time it takes an employee to effectively contribute to the organization. Without an organized onboarding process, employees may feel lost and end up taking more time to adjust to their new position.

3. Improve Employee Engagement

Aside from interviews, the onboarding process is often an employee’s first impression of their new work environment. That experience sets the tone for their view of the company – long after the onboarding process is over. For example, if your onboarding process is disorganized and lacking pertinent info, the new hire may view the entire organization as sloppy or unprepared (or even question if they made the right decision by joining the company).

Consider these quick facts from SHRM:

Consequences of Ineffective Onboarding

Negative First Impression

As mentioned above, the onboarding process could be an employee's first impression of your organization. Make it count by being organized, informative and open to feedback. Fail to do so and you may see new-hires becoming ex-employees sooner than expected. Additionally, a sub-par onboarding experience could lead to the absence of employee engagement.

Consider this: if your organization isn't putting forth the effort to embrace new hires, will they be motivated to grow into engaged employees?

Tips for Planning an Employee Onboarding Program

We've gone over the importance of an employee onboarding strategy - now it's time to get to work. Before introducing your onboarding program, it's important to gather some key insights to ensure a well-planned, organized and informative process. It will also help you pitch the program to upper management. Consider the following questionnaire.

  • When will onboarding start and how long is the process?
  • What takeaways do you want new hires to walk away with?
  • What do new hires need to know about the company culture and environment?
  • Who or what departments will be involved?
  • What goals do you want to set for new hires? How do they differ from one department to another? 
  • How will you measure the program's success?

Once these insights have been attained, HR professionals and department leads can create a plan for welcoming new hires and helping them acclimate to their new positions.

Want more employee onboarding tips? You're in luck! We're publishing a 3-part series dedicated to the topic. Stay tuned for next week's topic where we explore strategies for an effective employee onboarding program. In the meantime, be in-the-know on all things HR and benefits and subscribe to our blog!

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Topics: Company Culture, For Employers