The importance of good onboarding to engage new hires

Written by: Jules Rollet | Illustrated by: Officevibe team
Updated on: Published on: July 27, 2021 |  Reading time: 4m

This article is a guest post from Softstart, the all-in-one onboarding platform to start your new hires off on the right foot.

Every manager wants an engaged, high-performing team of all-star employees. And when you bring someone new onto your team, you want them to feel like they’re a part of that dynamic. Onboarding is the structure that welcomes your new employees, ensuring they feel at home in their new role and setting the tone for their new work environment. But the importance of onboarding goes beyond a new hire’s first weeks and months. Good onboarding impacts employee engagement and their overall performance. In the long run, onboarding even has an affect on employee retention on your team.

When people are set up for success and properly integrated into the team, it sets the tone for their experience as an employee at your company. And the intangible benefits of proper onboarding — from making employees feel empowered, excited to work, and like they are a part of something — lead to real, tangible outcomes.

4 reasons to focus on proper employee onboarding

Onboarding is investing in the short-term for a new employee’s long-term success. You can’t expect a newcomer to do well without equipping them with the right knowledge, resources, and support. And numbers don’t lie — investing in onboarding impacts a company’s bottom line. Applying effective onboarding practices will:

  1. Build employee engagement: When you take the time to onboard a new employee, you’re not only providing them with a clear path to success, but also strengthening their sense of belonging. An engaged employee makes a loyal and committed one, and companies with engaged employees are 21% more profitable.
  2. Support employee performance: What do engaged employees do? They show up with better focus and apply themselves more to the tasks at hand. They are generally happier, more collaborative and perform better overall. A study shows that happy employees perform 20% better than unhappy ones.
  3. Increase team success: A clear sense of direction and the motivation to get there makes every employee a better teammate. When you reinforce everyone’s capabilities, no one has to overcompensate for a lack of productivity. And strong workplace collaboration can increase successful innovation by 15%.
  4. Reduce employee turnover: Engaged and happy employees will stay longer at a company. Financially, this is the ideal scenario. A company can spend on average $3,000 to onboard a new employee, but it can cost them up to six times that amount to replace someone due to low employee retention caused by poor onboarding.

The importance of onboarding: examples

These examples highlight how a new hire’s onboarding experience shapes their employee experience with your company and your team. As a manager, you’ll play a key role in how people feel as they join your team, so take note.

An example of unsuccessful onboarding

Annie was excited to start her new job as a Graphic Designer, but she quickly lost her enthusiasm after her first week. She felt lost in trying to figure out how to access resources and follow team processes, and she had no idea who to turn to. She gave her new job a chance but continued to feel unsupported. Annie didn’t want to keep working for an organization that clearly seemed disorganized, so she quit after just 3 months. 

Annie is part of the one third of people who leave an employer after less than six months due to poor onboarding.

Statistic from Business News Daily

A situation like Annie’s could have been avoided had her manager used a complete employee onboarding checklist that included:

  • Taking the time to do tool tutorials
  • Assigning a go-to person for help and guidance (buddy system)
  • Having regular daily or weekly touch points, especially in the first month

An example of successful onboarding

Jon loves his new job. Sure, it’s not always easy. But he knows exactly what he needs to achieve and feels supported day-to-day, which motivates him to rise to the challenge every time. Whenever he’s not sure what to do or has to tackle a task he’s unfamiliar with, he can turn to his team and get someone to walk him through it. Plus, he wouldn’t let his team down because he knows that his contribution, like everyone else’s, is valuable.

Jon’s experience isn’t by accident. Employers that provide a good onboarding structure like his can see up to 54% greater productivity with their new employees — along with 50% greater retention.

Statistics from Urban Bound

What key onboarding best practices can contribute to employee success stories like Jon’s? Here are some ideas:

  • Setting clear objectives and milestones on a timeline
  • Regular touch points to give and receive performance feedback
  • Moments for team communication and bonding

A tool to onboard new hires with care

An effective onboarding program covers both the practical and the human side of joining a company. And with so many factors to consider to create the perfect onboarding process, managing onboarding each new hire isn’t a one-person job. But, short of time and resources, it often feels like it has to be. Using an onboarding tool can help take some of the pressure off.

Example of checklist and video integrations of the employee onboarding software, Softstart
Employee onboarding software Softstart

Softstart helps you create memorable and effective onboarding experiences effortlessly, so you can spend more time building your employees up rather than building onboarding plans. The software comes with ready-to-use, customizable templates to build onboarding plans for every new employee. It’s a collaborative platform that your team can access online, so you can get team members to contribute to welcoming their new colleagues.

Don’t underestimate the importance of onboarding

Companies who take the time to invest and care about their new employees’ onboarding experiences get employees who care about their employers in return. Now that hiring activities are spiking up again, are you ready to start onboarding on the right foot?