The Importance of Nailing the Onboarding of new Employees

May 9, 2022

You did it. You nabbed the perfect candidate who’ll take your organization to new heights. But amidst all the excitement, you forgot to get the benefit paperwork rolling. Oh, and IT ordered the hardware too late and it won’t be there for the first day. At least facility services remembered to set up the desk, although they put it in the wrong place. Whoops.

Onboarding involves a lot of moving pieces, departments and individuals coming together — both for the basics and the training and education needed to ensure success. A well-planned onboarding sets new hires up for that success and reduces the “ramp” time needed to get comfortable in a new role, yet a large portion of companies lack a structured process. Sprinkle in the rise of remote and hybrid workplaces, and you’re just pouring gas on an already well-lit fire. In fact, Gallup suggests less than 15% of employees feel their company does a good job onboarding new teammates. 

The upside to doing it well is clear: companies with a formal onboarding program can see as much as 50% improvement in retention and even higher increases in productivity. There’s big money on the line getting the foundation right. Let’s examine the keys to success. 

Define Success

The old adage rings true again: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. How do you want to define success for your onboarding program? Speed, completeness, competencies, etc.? Whatever it is, document it and ensure there are ways to capture the results so you can focus on continuous improvement. 

Identify Responsible Parties

When left only to a hiring manager, onboarding can be inconsistent at best. Establish a cross-departmental team (including hiring managers) who have key roles in the success of new employees. This should extend from the person who orders the business cards all the way to training and development staff. Make sure the process is properly implemented so things happen in the correct order, and then hold people accountable to your performance standards. 

Provide a Place

Playing hot potato over email leads to things getting missed and lost. Centralizing and standardizing the workflow so the onboarding process can be tracked step by step prevents things from falling through the cracks. It also keeps documents centrally located and easy to reference. Finally, managing onboarding on a platform provides the opportunity to measure the outcome as well as performance of individual team members. 

Good employee relationships aren’t built on poor foundations. Don’t let something as important as the successful start of a new employee devolve into a series of emails, checklists and paper trails. Turning your onboarding process into a well-oiled machine saves time and money while providing benefits to all parties involved.