7 Top Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Process (And Reduce Turnover)


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Great onboarding can set the tone for an employee’s future experience with a company. How can you ensure you’re doing all that you can to give employees the right first impression and reduce turnover?

Article 4 Minutes
7 Top Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Process (And Reduce Turnover)

Research has found that implementing a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82% and increase productivity by 70%.

Ensuring you’re setting up recruits with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in their role can make a huge difference to their performance, engagement and overall job satisfaction. For hiring managers, this can be the difference between having a happy workforce or starting the onboarding process over and over again due to high turnover rates.

With the average cost per hire in the US standing at just over $4,000, losing new employees due to poor onboarding can lead to huge financial losses and leave a lasting impact on the reputation of your company.

When asking yourself how to onboard a new employee, consider how you can optimize the process to be as effective and efficient as possible.

7 effective onboarding strategies you need to adopt

Implement these 7 strategies in your employee onboarding checklist to optimize the process, improve employee satisfaction and increase retention rates. 

1. Engage new recruits before their start date

Don’t wait until the first day to start engaging with new employees.

Use the time in between the initial offer and the candidate’s first day to reach out with a welcome message with friendly advice (such as where to park) or start introducing them to aspects of the company culture and even the rest of the team.

The more communication and engagement they experience before they set foot in the office, the more comfortable and prepared they’ll feel going in for their first day.

2. Schedule one-on-one time

Talking directly with a manager can make all the difference to an employee’s experience with the company, understanding of the role and ability to hit the ground running.

Instead of relying on emails and training materials to onboard employees, plan one-on-one time to personalize the experience.

This can be used to ensure the new hire has the chance to clarify any concerns they may have, deepen their understanding of the company and start building relationships.

It’s also a way for the hiring manager to set out expectations and let the employee know what is expected of them and how they can be successful in their new position.

3. Automate paperwork

Contracts, non-disclosure agreements, compliance forms - unfortunately, paperwork will always be part of the hiring process.

Fortunately, nowadays hiring managers have a range of digital tools at their disposal to automate the tedious task of filling in and sending paperwork back and forth.

With 58% of organizations reporting that their onboarding activities focus on processes and paperwork, streamlining these can truly set your company apart.

From payroll to sending out branded materials - there are plenty of software solutions to automate every aspect of the onboarding process.

4. Ensure your training materials are engaging

Training materials are an essential part of every onboarding new hires checklist.

Although they may not be something employees would read in their leisure time, make sure training materials are as interactive as possible to keep employees engaged.

Video is an effective medium for doing this and can also be leveraged to better communicate your company’s culture and core values.

5. Introduce new hires to the team

Socialization is a vital step in the onboarding process. Ensure that employees feel welcomed and a part of the team from the get-go. The more connected they are with colleagues, even those in other departments, the better their understanding of the company and their performance will be. 

A good way to do this is to introduce a buddy system in which the new hire is paired with someone who can show them the ropes and help them feel more comfortable at work. Additionally, lunches, team-building activities or happy hours are great ways to help recruits feel included while encouraging a positive workplace culture, even if your company operates remotely.

6. Set a clear timeline and outline expectations

Don’t risk overwhelming new hires with copious tasks during the onboarding process. Instead, set out a timeline that outlines the different processes and activities involved so that they know exactly what to expect and can remain focused.

Everyone learns at a different pace, so give them adequate time to learn what’s involved in their role to help them feel more prepared. Be sure to monitor their progress and check in often to allow them to ask questions or raise concerns.

7. Gather feedback

Only 26% of employees recall being asked for feedback during their onboarding to a company.

Give new hires the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas for improvement throughout their training period. This helps to create an open and mutually beneficial dialogue between the employee and the employer and ensures they feel heard in the workplace.

Moreover, if your company is experiencing high turnover rates, direct feedback could shed some light on what’s not working in your onboarding process.

An effective onboarding process ensures new employees feel equipped to take on their new role and engaged with the company and its culture. Not only will this mean they become proficient in their jobs faster, but it also improves the likelihood that they’ll stick around for a long time and recommend the employer to others.

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