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  • Writer's picturejana tulloch

Are You Short-Changing Your New Hires With Your Current Onboarding Process?

Are you short-changing your new hires with your current onboarding process? Studies have shown that a well-designed onboarding process can improve employee retention rates by as much as 82%, and productivity by over 70%. Now that is a strong ROI!

In this blog post, we will discuss not only the importance of an effective onboarding process, but also provide some helpful tips on how to create one that is right for your business.

Why Onboarding is So Important

Consider this: you've just booked a one month expedition trip to a very remote part of the world. You are a seasoned traveler; in fact, you're an exceptional, resourceful, intelligent traveler and have tons of experience navigating countries and cultures. This trip, though, is different. For one, it's to the Arctic. You researched this company and paid a lot to do this trip. Imagine if, after you booked and paid, you didn't hear from them again over the next few months as your travel date approached. No outreach, no reminder emails, no checking to see if you had any questions, no education on the equipment or clothing you'll be using, safety information - nothing but silence. Our friends at Arctic Kingdom know the value of good onboarding for their guests - and it is the same experience that employers need to emulate for their new hires.

What should your new hire expect on their first day, their first week, their first month? What will be their main focus? Will they receive any training and, if so, on what and when? If they are remote, what time should they log on and where should they 'say hello'? If on site, should they bring a lunch their first day? So many questions and a great opportunity to set the tone of a supportive, communicative, and engaged organization.


When does your onboarding usually start? If it's not started right after they sign their offer letter, you're missing a huge chance to start off on the right foot and make a great impression with your newest employee.

Reach out the week before they start; the person they will be reporting to should personally reach out (a call is perfect) and welcome the new hire, provide a high-level overview of what to expect their first day and first week, and note that HR will be working with them to get all the required paperwork done. Make sure they have your number to contact with any questions they think of later.

IT should be arranging for systems access before they start so it's ready to go on Day 1.


This is where your company should shine: organized, well-thought out first week of activities that isn't leaving your new hire stranded and wondering what they should be doing.

Walk through your current process and ask: is it providing relevant and thorough information? Is it consistent for everyone who joins? How long is it and is it spread out appropriately or is it disjointed? How much time is spent by the new hire on their own versus with new team members?

Are you providing job specific information (such as reviewing their job description and full deliverables for the role) alongside organizational information such as the strategic plan, structure of the company, its history and achievements, general product/service knowledge, culture and norms, and so forth? What are the individual's priorities in the short term and long term and how do they align with the company's priorities?

And if we asked your recent hires for their perspective, what would they say? Your team members are a huge source of critical data - their experience. Recent new hires are a great source of information on what they liked about their onboarding, and what they would recommend you change for future hires. Creating a survey that helps measure the new hire's onboarding experience is a metric that should be measured and improved where needed.

Failure to Launch

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost to replace an employee with an annual salary of $60,000 is $15,000. This includes the cost of recruiting and training a new employee alongside lost productivity. Time is money.

Effective onboarding is critical to engaging and inspiring your new team members, to having them feel welcome and valued, and to ensuring they have clarity around their role and responsibilities. Poor onboarding is a waste of an opportunity, and increases the likelihood of the new hire leaving before they even really start.

Top 5 Tips - In Summary

So, what can you do to create an onboarding process that is right for your business? Here are the top five things to focus on:

  1. Make sure your process is consistent for each new hire.

  2. Start onboarding before the new hire's first day.

  3. Keep interactions with new hires high during the onboarding process.

  4. Talk big picture, position deliverables, and expectations.

  5. Survey for feedback with a goal of continuous improvement.

If you're finding onboarding very labor-intensive, consider automation. HRIS systems like BambooHR can automate much of the onboarding process for new hires, and save team members a ton of time while keeping checklists and tasks organized.


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