Mastering the New Hire Onboarding Process


According to recent data referenced by the Society for Human Resource Management:

  • 50% of all hourly workers leave their new positions within 120 days of hire
  • 50% of all externally hired senior managers leave within the first 18 months

What do these alarming statistics mean for you ? If someone says the term “onboarding” to you and you immediately think of a cruise to the Bahamas, you could be spending as much as 200% more in hiring expense than you need to.

What is onboarding anyway?

According to the father of all internet knowledge ( Wikipedia ), onboarding is the “ mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. ” It’s a highfalutin way of saying that onboarding is what you as a company do to help your new hires make the transition to becoming productive, well-adjusted and, dare I say it, happy contributing members of your team.

How do you know whether your onboarding process is in need of a makeover; whether that means applying some new liquid eyeliner or whether it’s a full-on face lift with a side of Botox?

Let’s start with the basics. What is your current new hire turnover rate? To calculate this metric, start with the number of employees who left your employment within the last year. Then figure out how many of them had been employed with your company for less than one year. Divide that number by the total number of employees who left and that’s your new hire turnover rate.

If that percentage is close to the average for your industry and you’re the complacent type, you can pat yourself on the back. If you’re a Type A sort of person who has to come in ahead of the pack, then start looking for new liquid eyeliner. If your new hire turnover rate is higher than the average for your industry, it’s time to start researching plastic surgeons.

What are the steps involved in improving your onboarding process?

Ask yourself what your current onboarding process is. When a new hire walks through your door on day one, have you made sure she is equipped with key details such as what time to arrive, what the dress code is, what the expected work hours are, who to report to upon arrival, etc.? Do you have your new hire meet with someone from your HR team to educate him on your benefits package, code of conduct, vacation policy, etc.? What kind of job-specific training do you provide to new hires?

There’s no single right way to successfully onboard a new employee but there are plenty of wrong ways out there. Research has shown that a formal onboarding process, where your company has documented a set of policies and procedures intended to assist new employees in adjusting rapidly and effectively to their roles, is more effective than an informal process where there is no set plan.# Think of a formal process like a snug fitting pair of boots; the structure ends up providing security and confidence.

Below is a list of key steps you should consider including in your onboarding process to make sure you are setting your new hires up for success and minimizing your turnover rates.

  • After your new recruit has accepted an offer with your company, make her feel warm and fuzzy from the get go by having her supervisor send a congratulations email or make a quick call communicating that your company is excited to have her join the team.
  • Make sure your new hire has been instructed on what to expect the first day , including who to report to, what time to arrive, dress code, any documentation he’ll need to bring, what work hours he can expect and whether your company offers any fun perks like free lunch or coffee.
  • On that first day, give your new hire a tour of the facilities , introducing her to her new teammates along the way and making sure to point out the important stuff like bathroom and kitchen location, emergency exits, etc.
  • Coordinate a meeting between your new hire and a representative from your HR team to educate him on your company’s benefits, vacation, sick leave, and holiday policies as well as your company’s handbook or code of conduct.
  • Give your new hire the level of job-related training that is appropriate to the position and make sure she has access to all of the resources she’ll need to succeed. For example, access and login details for any company software tools necessary for the job and/or a company directory. Some companies keep it old school by handing employees a 3-ring binder with sections for each functional area of their job. Don’t knock it because it took these folks more effort to put that binder together than having an electronic shared folder or company wiki (which are other great options that are less harmful to trees).
  • Let your new hire know who to go to with questions and how your company prefers to communicate internally. For example, perhaps your company prefers to use a chat system or a message board or heaven forbid the telephone. Also communicate response times you expect, if any.

Time to take action!

Take 15 minutes (yes, you really can spare that amount of time for something so important) and compare your current process to the best practices listed above and make the commitment to improve them where possible. Remember, that 15 minutes could save you 200% off your bottom line by improving your employee retention rates. If you really want to go for the Gold Standard in best practices, keep the employee development process lifelong and offer your employees the ability to take training classes, attend conferences and seminars, and even participate in a mentor program.


Author: HiringThing

HiringThing is easy to use, intuitive online recruiting software that makes it easy to post jobs online, manage applicants and hire great employees.