Organizations have become increasingly aware of the need to implement an effective onboarding program. Around one-third of employees quit within the first six months of a new job, and the same percentage knew within the first week of the job whether they would be with the company in the long term. The cost of employee turnover is increasing, too. It now costs companies about 1.5 to two times an employee’s salary to find and train his or her replacement, and it can take up to two years for the new employee to reach the productivity of the previous one.

Because high employee turnover can have such detrimental impacts on an organization’s performance, a structured and engaging onboarding program is vital. This process should start before the new employee’s start day to make a good first impression and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the first day. These activities might include:

  • Calling the employee to provide basic information about the office, such as dress code, office hours and important documents they need to bring with them on their first day
  • Creating an onboarding packet that includes general information about the company (e.g., products and services), a job description and a list of responsibilities
  • Preparing a schedule for the employee’s first two weeks, including projects and meetings with employees from different departments so they gain a wider understanding of the company

During the employee’s first week, your aim should be to help them become comfortable enough in their surroundings to start performing. Week 1 activities can include:

  • A tour of the office and introductions to members of different departments to help the new employee build relationships
  • Setting up the employee on their laptop and introducing them to the programs they will be using
  • Going into more detail about the employee’s job role, assigning them their first project and giving them access to resources that will help them complete it
  • Checking in with the new employee each day to ensure they are happy and fully understand their job

As the new employee settles in over his or her first month, additional onboarding steps should include:

  • Further clarifying the employee’s role and providing feedback on their work
  • Scheduling weekly meetings to learn how the new employee is progressing and if they need extra support
  • Ensuring the employee has started or is aware of required training
  • Gaining feedback from other members of the team to see how the new employee is performing and if they are adjusting well to the workplace culture

In addition to these steps, when you reach the six-month mark, it’s a good idea for the new employee’s manager to have a meeting with them to evaluate their progress. This meeting is important to understanding if the new employee is confident in their position and if there are any knowledge gaps you need to fill.

From these steps, it should be evident that good onboarding is not a one-off event but a continual process. This approach will help employees understand the business and culture of their new company. Providing a good first impression and ongoing support will ensure high employee satisfaction and lower turnover.