The Importance of Employee Onboarding

Let’s set the scene. You’ve gone through all the recruitment hurdles asked of you – from the initial CV submission and the phone call with the recruiter to the in-person interview and the pre-employment assessment test – and now you’re waiting to start at your new company. You feel excited and nervous at the same time, but you’re sure your new company will help you settle in no time.

You arrive on your first day and it’s nothing like you expect. The whole office is in chaos and everyone seems too busy to even know you’re there, let alone take the time to know your name. You feel out of your depth and like you’ve wasted your time. You decide to see out your probationary period but feel completely unmotivated to work to your full potential. Why should you, after all, when the company has shown no interest in you either?

This situation is unfortunately all too familiar in the world of work, and many companies fail to recognize the importance of implementing a proper onboarding process for new employees. However, this process shouldn’t be overlooked, since the way new staff integrate into an organization can make a huge difference to their productivity, retention, and mental health.

Let’s look at the research to see why employee onboarding is so important.

1. Onboarding increases staff retention

Staff turnover can be very expensive. In fact, it could cost up to 100 – 300% of the individual’s salary when you take into account the total costs involved, since it’s not just the cost of the new training and recruitment process you need to consider – there’s also the fallout to deal with after the employee has quit. After all, your fellow staff members will be the ones who’ll have to pick up the slack once they’re gone. Implementing effective methods that can help retain staff is therefore vital. 

According to research by Gillespie Associates though, having an effective integrated onboarding process can do just that. Their research found that employees were 60% more likely to remain with an organization for three years or more if there was a structured onboarding program available.

Image source: Pexels

2. Onboarding gets employees up to speed more quickly

While it’s obviously important to get new employees up to speed as quickly as possible, it’s unfair to expect them to know your company’s processes like the back of their hand within a short space of time. Again, having an effective onboarding program in place can help with this.

Without onboarding, it can take between 8 and 12 months for a new employee to reach their full productivity level and, in that time, a business could lose up to 3% of its total revenue. That means, businesses across the UK and USA combined could lose up to £30 billion each year due to unproductive employees.

With onboarding in place though, companies can enjoy 54% greater productivity from new employees, especially training programs last for six months or longer. This is because 9 out of every 10 employees decide whether they want to stay at a company after their first six months of working there.

Image source: Artemis Marketing

3. Onboarding increases employee engagement

If an employee isn’t motivated to work, they’re going to be incredibly unproductive. And if they’re unproductive, they’re going to take a lot longer to complete tasks, which will cost your business a lot of time and money.

Fortunately, having an effective onboarding process in place can prevent this from becoming an issue. While it won’t turn your employees into workaholic machines, multiple studies have shown that well-structured onboarding processes can significantly improve employee engagement. One such study, conducted by the Corporate Leadership Council, found that onboarding actually increased employees’ work effort by up to 20%.

Image source: Pexels

4. Onboarding reduces anxiety

One of the biggest workplace issues of recent times has been the rise of mental health problems. A staggering 70 million workdays are lost each year due to these conditions, which costs UK businesses over £2.4 billion annually.

Effective onboarding systems can again prevent against these issues. After all, starting as a new employee can be a highly nerve-wracking experience so, the easier the company makes it for them, the more likely they’ll be to settle in quickly.

Plus, as research suggests, employees are more likely to turn down other high-paying jobs if it means they have to work somewhere they don’t get on with their co-workers. This, therefore, highlights the importance new employees place on working relationships.

Image source: Pxhere

Final thoughts...

So, there you have it – four definitive reasons why an effective onboarding process can really make or break a business. From improved productivity to an increased likelihood of retaining staff, there’s really no reason why all businesses – large or small – shouldn’t have an integrated onboarding program.


Dakota Murphey -

Dakota Murphey has over a decade of experience in numerous HR and Marketing roles. Since becoming a full-time Mum, she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge through her writing and connecting with like-minded professionals.

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