A new year is a new opportunity for organizations to refocus on their people — especially new employees. The important question is: Does your organization implement an effective onboarding experience for new hires?

According to a recent SilkRoad and CareerBuilder survey, onboarding is an important process for newly hired employees, because it is a vehicle for continuous engagement and retention over an employee’s entire career.

Key findings from the survey illustrate how a poor onboarding experience can affect employees desire to stay with a company long term:

  • 93% of employers say that a good onboarding experience is critical to a new hire’s decision to stay with the organization; however, 29% of employees think their organization did not do the right things during the onboarding process to help them prepare and begin their new role.
  • Nearly one in 10 employees have left a company because of a poor onboarding experience.
  • 37% of employees didn’t think their manager played a critical role in supporting their onboarding experience.
  • Nearly one in five employees want to receive feedback on their performance at least once a month or more often.
  • 51% of employees expect human resources (HR) to check in with them regularly throughout their first year of employment.
  • On a scale of one to 10, 27% of employees rated their most recent onboarding experience as a five or worse.

It’s not just employees that are affected by the onboarding process. An effective and engaging onboarding experience is also vital for any organization, because:

  • Employee retention can save a company from turnover costs: Replacing an individual employee costs one-half to two times an employee’s annual salary.
  • According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer for three years if they experienced great onboarding, and new employees who had a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to stay on for more than three years.
  • SHRM also found that companies that implement a standard onboarding process can boost new hire productivity by 50%.

These findings reveal how effective onboarding can help employees feel engaged, motivated and comfortable in their roles, encouraging loyalty from the start of the relationship, thus saving the company from high turnover costs.

The Process To a Good Onboarding Experience

Implementing a new and effective onboarding process can help new hires:

  • Quickly settle into their new role.
  • Gain a clear understanding of their role’s responsibilities.
  • Understand company policies and protocols.
  • Learn how to use performance management and collaboration tools.
  • Provide opportunity to ask questions.

To create an effective onboarding program, employers should follow these practices:

1) Build Engagement During Preboarding   

Onboarding does not have to start on the new hire’s first day. During preboarding, employers should introduce new employees to the company beforehand with a welcome package.

Welcome packages can help the new hire feel acquainted with the company prior to their first day, building engagement from the very beginning. This can be sent via email and can include information on who they will meet in the office and during virtual meetings, directions on how to get to the office or a link for remote workers with a welcome video.

To get the entire team involved, employers can encourage team members to send messages with tips and advice to their new teammates on their role.

2) Extend Onboarding Through Their First Year

Onboarding does not start and end on an employee’s first day; it is a process that should extend throughout the employee’s first year. This can provide the company insight on how the employee is settling into their new role, and for the employee, the chance to voice any questions or concerns they may have.

To set the pace for a yearlong onboarding, employers should:

  • Schedule check-in meetings with new employees in the morning and at the end of the day for their first week, then transition check ins to at least once a month.
  • Plan informal virtual team meetings and lunch meetings in the office so newly hired employees can meet their colleagues.
  • Set up new hires with performance management software that allows the employee and the company to track their progress and achievements in their role.
  • Provide new employees with brochures, videos and resources to the company’s history and mission.

3) Use Performance Management Software To Track Employee Progression and Achievements

Setting up employees with performance management tools can not only support their well-being but also improve their work performance. It provides them with the opportunity to track their progress, self-reflect and provide feedback on their role to the company.

An effective performance management tool includes features that aim to improve a new employee’s performance and track their development while still providing valuable measurements that companies use when making key business decisions.

Implementing a standard onboarding process in the new year not only benefits new employees, but the organization by reducing turnover expenses and helping their people adapt to their new role, while envisioning a long-term future with the company.