Supporting employee retention has never been more essential for business success. Even before the effects of The Great Resignation, turnover cost U.S. businesses $1 trillion annually. That’s because nearly a quarter of new hires leave within a year and replacing each one is estimated to cost between one-half to two times their annual salary.
So, what can business leaders do to encourage new hires to stick around longer and improve employee retention rates? Many realize the importance of HR practices such as cultivating a positive company culture, offering competitive compensation and benefits, and even enhancing the recruiting and hiring process.
However, even if you spend considerable resources attracting top talent and building your company culture, without the right employee onboarding process, it can be a serious waste of time and money. This is an important area of human resource management that, while often overlooked, can provide the most bang for your buck when it comes to boosting retention.
What is the employee onboarding process?
Employee onboarding integrates new hires within your organization and culture and provides the information they need to become a productive member of the team. Beyond orientation, which involves completing paperwork, onboarding is a strategic, iterative process. The first few days and months of the employee experience is a crucial window in which new hires are highly impressionable, so the employee onboarding process should ideally last at least one year to truly set team members up for success.
Why onboarding is an essential human resource management tool
An effective employee onboarding process not only improves retention, but also performance, engagement, and satisfaction. In fact, organizations with a formal employee onboarding process can experience 50% greater employee retention and 62% greater productivity among new hires. When new hires are given the tools they need to succeed from day one, they become more productive, faster, gain the confidence they need to succeed in their role, and are more likely to effectively assimilate into the company culture.
On the other hand, if largely ignored and left to fend for themselves, new hires will fail to thrive and likely leave your organization just as fast as they joined it. Unfortunately, more than a third of employers lack a structured onboarding process.
How can you improve the employee onboarding process?
How can you help new hires hit the ground running so they can become long-term, high-performance members of your organization? Every company’s needs will vary depending on its size, industry, and each individual employee’s job responsibilities, but here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind for a successful employee onboarding process.
Set the tone - What impression do you want new hires to walk away with on the first day? What does it take to be a successful member of your organization? What are the cultural norms they should understand and respect? Communicate these standards clearly to new hires in order to set expectations early on.
Develop a training checklist - A good onboarding training checklist will include information about your work culture, policies, procedures, and organizational structure, as well as your mission, vision, and goals. For the most relevant content, have key team members document processes and resources, and ask new hires to share their ideas for future training material.
Encourage mentorship - Who in your company exemplifies your ideal employee? Have new hires shadow some of your highest performers for the first few days and weeks so they can witness successful behaviors firsthand.
Tailor your approach for remote workers - Virtually onboarding new hires is more important than ever, so create a plan and stay in close communication to ensure these employees get the same level of support as they would in person.
Automate your onboarding - When you automate onboarding through your payroll software system, new hires can complete paperwork easily and efficiently from any location and gain access to all the training material they need.
Keep the process going - It’s easy to get busy and neglect the employee onboarding process after the first few weeks, so schedule ongoing check-ins with new hires throughout the first year to help ensure they stay on the right track.
Need to overhaul your onboarding? We have HR solutions for that!
Our team of HR Advisors are experts in proven human resource management solutions, including onboarding, offboarding, employee training and more. We’ll help upgrade your organization's approach to onboarding in order to boost employee retention and performance.