Employers Guide To Effective Onboarding

Employee Onboarding Program

28th February 2023

They saw and loved your job posting. You met and loved them.

Now, it’s time to roll out your employee onboarding process, so you start as you mean to go on!

We’ll show you how. 

Day one is critical of course, first impressions count.

The importance of an employee onboarding program

Research by Brandon Hall Group reveals that employee onboarding increases retention by 82%. Not only that, but in another piece of research by Northpass, businesses with organised employee onboarding boasted a 60% increase in revenue, whilst Atrivity found that a yearlong onboarding program made new hires fully proficient in their roles 34 times faster. If that’s not enough to inspire you to invest more time and effort in this crucial phase, we don’t know what will be.

Here are some of the questions and answers that will help you to shape an optimal employee onboarding program:

When should employee onboarding start?

Arguably, onboarding starts at the moment you make the offer. You start to build your employer brand as soon as you begin the hiring process and as soon as you decide someone should be part of your organisation, it’s time to level up your delivery on that brand promise.

Dealing with the offer and acceptance in a nice way, then staying in touch with your new employee until the start date are critical factors that influence both their offer acceptance and the chance that they’ll reject any other offers they receive during this period.

How long should employee onboarding last?

On average, an employee spends 5 hours being onboarded, but experts say that a yearlong process produces measurably better results. Day one is critical of course, first impressions count; but SHRM attributes 20% of staff turnover to the first 45 days of employment, so you need to think beyond the day they open your door for the first time. Ongoing support should be available for at least 3 months and if you can extend this to a full year via regular check-ins and training, this is even better.

Who should be involved in employee onboarding?

Often onboarding is left to either HR or the direct manager. Both those people should be involved, but so should other people such as direct reports, co-workers and important stakeholders.

What needs to be covered by an employee onboarding program and when?

The first day or two is all about familiarisation with the business. Meeting people within the business, getting comfortable with the office if there is one and making sure there’s clarity around the business, the role, their responsibilities and your expectations. It’s also a good time to remind your new employee about their benefits package, guide them through company culture, policies, procedures, and ensure they have access to all they need to do their job e.g. tech. 

The first few weeks are all about familiarising them with the role’s day-to-day and training as necessary. Just because someone has had a similar role elsewhere, that doesn’t mean they know how you do it within your business. You should check in regularly with your employee, plus provide extra support and training as needed for the first 3-6 months. Ongoing training and check-ins over the next 6 months will help keep employees motivated and engaged.

You might want to have an employee onboarding form template that covers things like:

  • Things they need to know
  • Things they need to read
  • Things they need to sign
  • Things they need to do
  • People they need to meet
  • How to ask questions about different topics

Should you use tools to automate elements of employee onboarding?

Onboarding tools are extremely useful as they help to manage a consistent delivery mechanism for your program and eliminate the need to manually repeat tasks. They can also capture feedback and metrics to prove the success of your program. Many of them offer employee onboarding form templates to help you.

How will you obtain feedback on the employee onboarding program and measure its success?

There are a few key metrics you’ll want to look at, including comparing retention and career progression in the cohort who’ve experienced enhanced onboarding compared to those who went before. You’ll also want to gather feedback directly from the employee about their onboarding experience, verbally 1:1 and anonymously via a survey. You may also wish to monitor things like time to full competence.

Revamped your onboarding process and ready to try it out? Let us know what vacancies you have available, and we’ll get to work finding dream candidates to fill it.

Connect with us

You can email us, phone us, DM us, post a letter to us at our offices in Cork, Dublin or London - whatever your preference, find all our contact details here.