Finding and retaining top talent is a Herculean task for most firms today. Firms often lose top talent within the first two years of joining. Why is this happening? The answer lies in your employee onboarding process. Organizations spend so much time on sourcing, screening, selection and interview that developing an employee onboarding program is often neglected.


What is Employee Onboarding?

Wikipedia defines onboarding as “Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.”

An effective onboarding program will:

  1. Empower new hires to contribute to business success faster
  2. Enable organization to grow and achieve their objectives
  3. Allow HR teams to plan for and fill skill gap in the workforce.

Onboarding is more than just a checklist or to-do list. It is a journey that new hires undertake that will have a profound impact on business success. Onboarding should be approached as a strategic process, where the first few months of an employee’s experienced is designed to improve retention.


Why Does Onboarding Matter?

22% of turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment -according to a study by the Wynhurst Group. Effective onboarding practices can help reverse this trend. Onboarding provides a way to secure financial investment in recruiting new hires. The Onboarding process must extend beyond a new hire’s first day. Onboarding is more than just orientation, paperwork and administrative tasks.

The benefits of an onboarding program are immediately visible such as new hires who are well adjusted. Long term benefits include Long-term benefits include improved retention, improved productivity in a shorter time span and customer satisfaction. There is greater job satisfaction, better organization commitment and lower stress levels. Here are the benefits in greater detail:

  1. Shorter initiation time: New hires get up to speed faster. Within a few weeks they become seasoned employees.
  2. Reduce anxiety: Arming new hires with the right information helps them to focus on their work and lessen anxiety.
  3. Reduce Turnover: Onboarding programs have to be designed to make the new hires feel valued. Provide them with all the tools they need to succeed. Incorporating care and concern into your onboarding program can help retain new hires for longer.
  4. Educate new hires: Employees are educated about their role, how their work aligns with organizational objectives and how their performance will be measured. This eliminates mistakes and rework. It also ensures that employees are aligned with company culture.


Key Elements of Employee Onboarding

An effective onboarding program is a combination of administrative tasks and three key elements which are listed below.


Get your new hires ready for employment. Ensure that they can access all administrative documents and complete all formalities with ease. Provide them with the resources and tools to perform their job effectively. You can also consider automating some processes associated with onboarding, so as to allow more time for strategic planning.


Remind new hires about why they chose to work for you. Show them how their career can grow in your organizations. Schedule regular one on one between new hires and their managers. Use this time to establish responsibility, performance measures , timelines for training and development of necessary skills. This is also the best time to discuss organization goals.

Build Passion

Passionate employees are key to customer satisfaction. Grow and maintain passion by giving employees challenging tasks. Recognize their efforts. Provide opportunities for new hires to engage with people in your organization . This can foster open and honest communication.


How to Build and Use an Onboarding Checklist Template

There are certain basic elements that you can include in your checklist template for onboarding new hires.

The week before the new hire joins

  1. Order equipment and tools that the new hires will need: This ensures that they can start working from their first day.
  2. Send a confirmation email: Welcome them and let them know what will happen on their first day.
  3. Continuous engagement: Keep in touch through emails or phone calls until the day they join. You can also consider giving them access to the learn company portal. This can help them learn about the company and its values.
  4. Prepare all the paperwork: Ensure all this is ready for the employee to complete on the first day.

Day 1

Office tour and 1:1s: Show them where different teams are, within the office. Setup one on one meetings with those with whom they will work.

Paperwork and administrative tasks: Get all the necessary forms filled. Administrative tasks such as access, assigning equipment should be completed.

Week 1

Company policies: Get new hires familiar with HR policies, company values, events and communication, work culture, etc.

Week 2

Tools training: Get your employees trained in function-specific as well as company-wide tools.

Functional training: Ensure mentors and managers are available for training

Week 4

Check-in: To ensure that they are comfortable. Discuss their concerns and schedule additional training if necessary.

3-6 Months

According to a study, close to 90% of employees decide whether to stay or go in the first six months. Regular check-ins in the first six months can help influence their choice and retain them.

The First Year

This is the best time to measure the employee’s performance and determine if they are the right fit for the organization. After a year, onboarding programs transition into retention and employee satisfaction programs. Initial job training is completed and it’s time to schedule continuous development sessions.


Onboarding Defines Your Employer Brand

The easiest way to create a great employee experience and cement your employer brand is through onboarding. Early engagement with the new hire is crucial to shaping their opinion. Give them a glimpse of your company’s history, milestones, achievements and values. Create a roadmap and share it with your new hire. Communicate goals and expectations. Set 30-60-90 day milestones and define what needs to be completed for each milestone. Company-wide practices influence company culture. Design processes to encourage positive company culture. Ensure that you enforce the right culture when a new hire joins.

The employee onboarding checklist is a great tool for designing an effective onboarding program. Shape your employee’s opinion about your company and pave the way for a great employer-employee relationship. A great employee onboarding experience will help employees reach their potential faster and be great examples of your employer brand. First impressions matter, so get them right.