Why Onboarding is Important for Business

9 min read

Hiring new employees is difficult, especially in the current labour market. That is why it is more important than ever to have a thorough, well-planned, and creative approach to onboarding and welcoming your employees.

Once you’ve gone through the rigmarole of reaching out, finding, and successfully hiring someone, you want to keep them. The last thing you need is to lose employee interest within the first few months of welcoming them.

According to recent statistics, most people decide whether a job is right for them or not within their first 6 months of employment. A good onboarding process will certainly impact overall impressions and ultimately alter employees’ decisions to stay or leave.

By the end of 2021, job vacancies in the UK had reached an all-time high. Wages have continued to rise, but even as companies match these growing salaries, they still can’t find and retain the skilled workers they need for their business. Employers are in crisis, with some losing close to 1 employee for every 2 they hire. It is becoming clear that hiring new staff is not enough to keep most companies running smoothly. HR teams need to retain as many current and new employees as possible.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is often confused with orientation. The two have a fair amount in common, but orientation tends to be over and done within the first few days or weeks, while onboarding focuses on getting new staff fully settled and happy over an extended period.

You should know that onboarding is not just meetings and spending long days in board rooms. It should be interactive to engage employees in their new job, company, and team.

But what is onboarding? Typically, it involves integrating new employees into the company, its values, and its culture. The new starter should get a good feeling for what your company does and is about in this initial period. During this time, you should also give your newest member all of the information and tools they need to succeed in your company.

Did you know that engaged employees are approximately 5 times less likely to leave a job early than those who aren’t? An excellent way to ensure all of your staff are engaged right from the get-go is through your onboarding procedures.

Take your time to acclimatise new staff to the job and clarify expectations and any uncertainties held. Introducing a new hire can cause a lot of shifts and concerns, both for the new starter and other employees, who may feel confused or even threatened about what the new person will do and how it might affect them. The employment journey of everyone involved is guaranteed to be smoother if you can iron out these kinks sooner rather than later.

The process doesn’t have to be too confusing or time-consuming for you. Onboarding should be as strategic as possible. That way, every person gets the same great welcome. Plus, a structured approach takes some of the pressure away from you and means that everyone knows what to expect without you needing to handle every minute detail.

How long should it last?

The consensus says that onboarding should last for at least 3 months and anywhere up to 1 year. A solid onboarding scheme should last at least 6 months. The longer and more in-depth your onboarding process, the better it is for everyone concerned.

It’s natural to want your new hire settled as soon as possible, but it’s critical not to rush the process. Give your new employees the time, training, and information they need.

If you can, continue the onboarding process through the first year of your staff’s new employment. The more complete your welcome, the more you improve retention rates and overall employee experience.

On average, the process should take somewhere between 20 and 70 hours. Focus on the essential aspects of welcoming your employees first and ensure your newest member feels supported.

onboarding gift

Why should you be focusing on onboarding?

The more time you can spend onboarding employees, the happier your staff and the better your retention rates will be. And in today’s highly competitive job market that makes onboarding worth every penny and minute you spend on it.

It is estimated that organisations using systemised onboarding processes see 62% increases in new hire productivity and an approximate 50% boost in new hire retention.

Let’s not forget that hiring new employees is expensive. Ultimately, it is best to spend the time and money onboarding, which generally costs less than finding and hiring new people, than to keep losing your new employees. You waste your resources if you don’t work to keep your employees, and must find, hire, and train new staff all over again.

Onboarding is considered one of the keys to achieving a successful and smoothly run company. If you are willing to put forth the effort now, you can save yourself from stress in the future. Ultimately, a careful onboarding process is better for the new and current employees, the work environment, and the company as a whole.

Onboarding is a great time to start or continue building trust. You can set your employees up for success and increase their overall job satisfaction. The importance of a positive first impression, particularly within the first few months of work, cannot be underestimated.

Give your new hire a comprehensive overview of company goals, values, and what all of that means for them. Help your employees understand what you want from them during this period and provide details of what the company can do for them. Get your newest addition excited about working with your company and let them know of any exciting events coming up.

Lack of onboarding leaves new employees in the dark about what they are doing. They don’t get a chance to learn company values and culture or understand expectations. All of this leaves them more likely to fail and feel dissatisfied with the company and position.

If you show that you care about them, for instance, by investing time and effort into your onboarding procedures, they are more likely to care about the company. When an employee cares, they work harder and more consistently to meet business goals so that both the company and they can succeed.

Good onboarding has been linked to lower employee turnover rates, higher profits, better quality products, safer workplaces, improved customer reviews, and fewer absences. The positives employers experience thanks to a well-executed welcome are almost limitless. And with all of these benefits, you are sure to experience a less stressful work life. A happy and healthy workforce means less putting out fires and scrambling to find suitable employee replacements for you.

Overall, a creative and structured onboarding process leads to greater company success and a load off your plate. The right approach will ensure you can enjoy a less taxing work life.

What to do when onboarding

The idea of creating or renovating an onboarding process may feel a little overwhelming, but don’t worry because we have listed some tried and tested onboarding methods below. You can pick and choose the ones that best fit your company.

  1. Give a warm and enthusiastic welcome

Never underestimate the importance of a friendly face. You can amp up productivity and positivity by making your new hire feel excited and happy to join your team.

  1. Communicate

Regular communication with your new employee will guarantee that both of you are on the same page throughout their entry and settling period. If you know what is going on, you will also be able to nip potential problems in the bud and keep your employee feeling enthusiastic about the company.

  1. Plan the first week

Make sure you have got all the crucial details sorted, from their workspace to informing front desk staff of the new arrival and preparing any necessary documents or forms needed to get started.

  1. Expectations

Clarify what will be expected from your new employee and their manager. You cannot hope for your own goals to be met if you don’t communicate and make them understandable. Let them know what actions are required and what they must do. You can provide a checklist for them to follow so they know what they should be doing and when.

  1. Introductions

Introduce new employees to internal colleagues and external partners or clients they are likely to work with. These meetings allow them to make connections and find their place within the business. You can ensure they feel like they belong. It is essential to facilitate introductions whether your new starter is in the office or remote.

  1. Schedules

Provide your staff with a schedule and checklist to help clarify what they can expect from their first week. Knowing what to expect can help considerably lessen nerves.

  1. Paperwork

Pass on and explain necessary paperwork, such as employee handbooks or job benefits, so your new hire can read or fill out forms as needed.

  1. Facility tours

If your newest addition is joining you in the office, show them around your facilities. A tour will help ensure your employee feels comfortable in their new workspace and know where everything they need is.

  1. Training

Plan a training schedule and assign your new employees with a suitable trainer. You can set targets and discuss aims with your new hires and their manager. Training will help employees become more effective in less time and ensure everyone knows what is expected from them.

  1. Pass on vital business knowledge

Educate new starters on your company vision, the products you offer, how you will accomplish the mission, and so on. Keep your company values and culture at the centre of your onboarding process since these are likely part of the reason why a new hire chose your business.

  1. Work

Ensure all workers have meaningful work right from their first day. You may want to keep things basic since your new employee won’t have had a chance to train yet, and even with experience in the field, they won’t be familiar with your company’s particular processes yet. Feeling productive helps keep boredom at bay and ensure new hires feel involved and invested in their new job.

  1. Keep a record

Starting a new job is a stressful process for all involved. It’s no wonder aspects are easily missed. Use a checklist, which your newest member also has access to, and this will help keep things clear and on track. It’s much easier to see if a procedure has been forgotten when everything is in one easy-to-access list.

  1. Offer feedback

It is particularly important to offer insightful and regular feedback within the first few months. These conversations can occur directly between the new hire and their manager or involve HR. Feedback can ensure employees are heading in the correct direction and are also a great opportunity to hear about how new starters are getting on.

How can you improve your onboarding process?

It can help to assign your new employee a mentor to help them get through the first few weeks or even months of their time with you. A mentor can keep them on track with their learning, answer any questions they might have, and ensure they feel comfortable in their new work environment. If you can get the managers of new employees involved in the onboarding process, then even better.

Remember, day 1 is critical. This will be the first impression of the company beyond the interview process. It may well be the first time they see more of the workspace and get to meet more of their new colleagues. Ensure that all relevant people, including the receptionist, know who is starting and when to expect them. Passing on this information helps avoid an awkward first meeting that leaves a sour taste.

You don’t have to wait until an employee’s first day, or until they are physically in the office, to show you care. Sending a gift is an amazing way to build positive feelings immediately.

Our new starter welcome packs show appreciation for your employees’ time and efforts by providing them with something tangible. Your employees will have something they can share with friends and family that shows how much your company values them. Simply put, a gift during onboarding is a tried-and-true way to boost job satisfaction and encourage new staff to stay with you.

And you don’t have to stop there. Ongoing activities, like social or bonding opportunities, can also help enhance your onboarding process. These events don’t just have to be for new employees as involving the whole company can keep everyone more invested.

Continue check-ins throughout the first 6-months or year of a new hire’s employment. Keep track of how new employees are doing and progressing to see if they are settling into their roles well. You can also see if they are on track for the expectations and goals set when they first joined.

You can also enrich the onboarding process and reduce turnover by planning hands-on learning experiences wherever possible. For instance, you may allow new employees to sit in on calls or meetings or try out your programs and products. Active learning results in more involved, loyal, and confident staff.

Wherever possible, add something fun into your onboarding process. It could be ice-breakers during introductions between the newcomer and their team or a social event. Whatever you choose, a light-hearted experience within the welcome and acclimation period can make the whole process a more positive experience.

The difficulties of onboarding

With the world turning more to working from home, onboarding is facing more challenges than ever. It’s perhaps even more important to give your new remote employees a warm and structured welcome given that you don’t have the physical opportunity to do so. Scheduling zoom meetings or socials, providing introductions, giving checklists, and arranging regular check-ins are just some of the ways you can ensure your new hire becomes quickly and continually acclimated.

Whether your new hire is coming into the office or is joining you from afar, you must invest in acclimation. Take the time to build rapport. Show you care and demonstrate why they should too, and ensure you both start on the right foot.

Onboarding can seem like it requires too much time and attention to welcome new employees. Others believe that the best way forward is to let new hires get stuck straight in with training and work so they can do their job as soon as possible. And it’s not hard to see why people might feel this way, especially since onboarding is the last step of an often laborious hiring process.

We won’t blame you if you feel uncertain about putting additional effort and attention into onboarding your new employees. But it’s worth remembering how many benefits a good onboarding process can have. Each component is designed to make your latest addition feel welcomed and confident in the new position.

Companies that don’t focus on onboarding their employees put themselves at a significant disadvantage, which could be disastrous in the current climate.

A job is much more than the day to day tasks we carry out, and it’s amazing what effect a friendly and informative onboarding process can have on new hires. You will see your staff quickly excelling within your company and guarantee your retention rates rise significantly. Put in the work now to make sure your employees love their new company and want to stay longer. You can make your life easier in the long run.

Once you have your onboarding process thought out and the right steps in place, you will see that it takes a lot less effort than you thought, and the results are astonishing.