It’s the key to job satisfaction. It’s the foundation of professional success. It’s critical to retention and loyalty.

It’s onboarding

Onboarding is the period at the beginning of a new role when you get to meet your team, understand your role, and get embedded into your company’s culture. The onboarding process’s proven impact on retention makes this period critical for any HR team or people manager concerned with retaining great talent.

Let’s answer a few questions and help you get your new hires on the road to success.

  • What does a good onboarding experience look like?
  • What’s so important about onboarding?
  • 3 tips for successful onboarding

Onboarding basics

Filling out forms? That’s not onboarding.

Orientation is boring; onboarding is an experience. It’s the time you spend getting to know the people you’ll be working with, building relationships, and understanding your role in the organization.

So how do you design a great onboarding experience?

Preboarding, have you heard of it?

What’s fun about paperwork?

… crickets …

Nothing. That’s why we want to do it fast and early. Implementing a preboarding program allows you to take care of the (boring) administrative work with your new hires, like health declarations and NDAs, before onboarding starts.

Thorough preboarding programs take care of everything that used to be part of orientation, so onboarding can help new hires jump right into their teams and work without getting bogged down signing this and that.

Side perk of preboarding: with 28% of new hires backing out of job offers before the start date, you really can’t afford to lose contact with your new recruits. Preboarding helps you introduce these new hires to your culture early on, building loyalty and affinity.

Come prepared with an onboarding checklist

Onboarding isn’t a one-and-done kind of situation. It doesn’t take a day or a week—it’s a 90-day multi-step process that needs to be planned out meticulously.

We put together checklists of onboarding steps separated by timeframe for remote and in-office onboarding, so you won’t miss any step—and you will strengthen your retention.

What work happens throughout the onboarding process?

Successful staff onboarding begins prior to the new hire’s arrival on their first day. In order to focus on completing the program’s objectives, all paperwork should be handled remotely and they should be welcomed with a desk and equipment already prepared for them. Once the employee arrives, their manager has two main tasks: to ensure they understand their responsibilities and objectives and to introduce them to their new coworkers. 

While the new employee acclimates to the organization and is progressing through the onboarding process, HR managers should schedule regular check-ins to discuss how they are enjoying the company and their work. Communication is the key here: with the ultimate goal of retaining talented workers, listening to their feedback is essential. As time progresses, it’s vital to maintain regular check-ins and updates. As the one-year mark approaches, the onboarding process comes to a close, yet the objective of engaging employees and listening to feedback never ends.

9 important statistics about the importance of great onboarding 

Let’s go by the numbers: what’s so important about great onboarding?

  • Only 12% of American employees surveyed by Gallup “strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.” That’s…really bad.
  • Do you think that has anything to do with 20% of employee turnover happening in the first 45 days?
  • The numbers say probably. According to Hibob’s research, 64% of American employees citing bad onboarding as a reason they leave their jobs.
  • Organizations with standardized onboarding processes see 54% greater new hire productivity.
  • 20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend their organization to friends or family after onboarding.
  • Friends in the workplace are the best way to get acclimated according to 49% of employees
  • 1:1 time with managers is the most important part of onboarding for 72% of employees.
  • 38% of employees report that they feel most welcome during onboarding when included in a group of other new hires.
  • …and with all these numbers, only 27% of companies actively invest in onboarding.

So if you’re practicing any kind of onboarding, you’re already ahead. But the great onboarding processes are the ones that win—that retain talent, boost recruitment, and reduce time-to-productivity.

3 tips for creating a great onboarding process

You have the checklist, you know what steps to take. Now, what should you keep in mind during the process?

Build trust with transparency

When new hires are joining your company, they will have a ton of questions. Employee onboarding needs to be an open and transparent process.

You should be able to answer all the candidate’s questions and give them all the necessary information about their new workplace. If your new hire doesn’t trust you, it will be difficult to establish a productive relationship with them.

Live your company’s mission

The better the employees understand and align with the company’s mission and strategy, the higher the chances are of them staying on board. A clear vision statement will help you connect and engage with your newest hires. To keep everyone on the same page, you should also try to understand the employee’s perception. 

Foster a great team culture

Another critical step to take during the onboarding process is to understand how the new hire’s team works. Your responsibility is to help all members of your organization really connect with each other. You can easily start reinforcing your company culture by using engagement tools like bob alongside digital communication platforms like Slack and Teams.

Go forth and onboard!

You know why, you know how. Go forth and bring your people what they want!

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From Shayna Hodkin

Shayna lives in south Tel Aviv with two dogs and a lot of plants. She writes poems and reads tarot.