Written by: Priscilla Jones, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Many companies underestimate the importance of onboarding when they hire new employees. Several companies have no formal onboarding program at all, while most that do only have a partially successful process. Why is onboarding important? New employees that go through an unsuccessful onboarding process are stressed, less productive, feel disconnected from the rest of the team, and are likely to look for work elsewhere. This loss of productivity leads to a high employee turnover rate, costing companies large amounts of money.  

What is Onboarding? 

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into an organization. Not to be confused with orientation, which is typically a one-day event, that usually begins the onboarding process. Onboarding can continue for months to even years after an employee is hired. Proper onboarding increases employee engagement and helps get them up to speed with seasoned hires much more quickly. 

Benefits of a Proper Onboarding Process 

Reduces New Employee Anxiety 

We’ve all felt some nerves and anxiety before starting a new role; being a new employee can be very stressful. This stress can be reduced by employers by providing all the information that their new hire needs to fulfill their role. This starts right at the beginning of the onboarding process, during orientation. An orientation day gives new hires a first impression of the company and an idea of what they can expect working there in an informative, welcoming way. 

New Employees are Productive Quickly 

As new employees go through the onboarding process, they quickly get up to speed with the employees who have been with the company for longer. This lets them reach higher productivity levels much faster than if they had to figure everything out on their own.

Without onboarding, it can take several months  for new employees to reach their full productivity levels, which can result in overall loss of revenue  for a business. With onboarding, companies enjoy greater productivity from their new hires.  

The longest onboarding programs are the most successful. Most companies only spend a couple of months on the onboarding process, and a fraction of those don’t include any kind of training for the new hires. A minimum of 6 months is important because most employees decide if they will stay with a company within that time. Training and engagement during this time will help employees feel at home and comfortable in the company. After the initial 6 months, onboarding should slowly shift from a training approach to one that encourages continuous development. This continuous development will help employees see that they made the right decision.  

Employees Feel More Comfortable in Their Roles 

Proper onboarding procedures include training for employees. Training provides people with the knowledge they need to excel in their role. New hires are also taught about the mission and culture of the company, which helps them align themselves with these values. It also helps employees learn how to meet the expectations of the company. If you’re thrown into a job with no idea of what’s expected of you, how are you supposed to succeed? Employees need to know where their job role fits into the company and how their individual position is valuable. 

By aligning new employees with their role, they feel needed and important in the organization. This helps them associate themselves with the workplace culture, which leads to more engagement, employees are motivated to work efficiently, and are much less likely to look for other opportunities. 

Reduces Employee Turnover 

Employee turnover refers to the number of employees who leave an organization and need to be replaced. This is much more expensive than companies realize; the cost of replacing the average employee can be up to 20% of their annual salary. The good news is that turnover is very avoidable. Employees  are less likely to leave a company when they are engaged workers. Where can companies start on developing employee engagement? Onboarding! Introducing new employees to the company and engaging them with company values means they’re much less likely to leave your organization to look for an organization that better fits their work culture. 

Overall, a strong onboarding process results in much happier employees. It helps employees get to know one another and learn how to communicate effectively, which facilitates the building of relationships, resulting in friendships that are a very important element of a happy working life.