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New hire onboarding guide: How to retain and engage

onboarding new employees
Every company does onboarding, but not every company does it well. The process of welcoming a new hire into your organization is critical, as negative onboarding experiences are a direct cause of employee turnover.

Consider that more than 20 percent of employee turnover happens within the first 90 days of employment. Nearly 90 percent of new employees decide if they will stay or leave a position within the first six months, according to the Society for Human Resources Management.

In contrast, employees who are part of a positive, well-organized onboarding process are 69% more likely to remain at a company for up to three years (Source).

In order to succeed, employees need to feel welcome and confident in their ability to do the work that is expected of them. Disorganized processes hinder the success of new employees and will impact your bottom line in the form of increased turnover.

That means it’s crucial to set up an effective onboarding program that paints a big picture of the company and how each employee will fit into that picture. Read on to learn more about the onboarding essentials that will help your company engage and retain new employees.

 Onboarding essentials

Generally speaking, the term onboarding refers to a long-term process designed to acclimate employees to their new positions and the company culture. It usually begins before the employee is hired and may last an entire year.

One of the most valuable goals of onboarding is to help employees feel knowledgeable and empowered every step of the way. Over the course of the first year of employment, employer involvement at key times will maximize and support a positive onboarding experience.

Pre-start date: perform all logistical tasks

To start an employee off successfully, make sure all legal paperwork is filled out and everything they need to perform the job is prepared in advance.

  • Extend an offer letter that includes the title, pay, and conditions of employment
  • Confirm with the manager on the start date
  • Set up access to a computer, email, and voicemail
  • Fill out essential documents including I-9 and tax forms

Essential documentation can be a hassle—no one likes to be faced with a pile of paperwork—but technology makes it easier. The QuickHire module in HR Symphony efficiently takes news hires through all the forms requiring signatures and acknowledgment, including benefits enrollment.  Forms are stored online for easy access.

First day: welcome new hires into your organization

Take the time to make your new superstar employee feel warmly welcomed into your company. A warm greeting, a cup of coffee, a plant on their desk—little touches count for a lot.

Beyond the initial greetings and welcomes, take the time to give an overview of the company so new hires are equipped with the working knowledge to apply themselves most effectively. At many companies, this is done during a formal orientation event.

  • Introduce leaders, supervisors and team members
  • Share the company history, mission, values
  • Go over the dress code policy, benefits, and other need-to-know items
  • Give a thorough tour of the facility, explaining where they can go to get important information should they have any questions
  • Ensure access to email, computer programs, security doors, and other essential items

Within the first week: facilitate social connections

According to one estimate, 60 percent of managers cite failure to create positive and effective working relationships as the primary reason new hires leave. Help new employees find a space in the social dynamic of the team and feel socially accepted by their peers.

“The number one goal of the first week is to introduce employees to the culture they are stepping in to,” says ALTRES Corporate Recruiter Kelly Marrotte.

  • Schedule lunches with the team and immediate supervisor
  • Pair the new employee with a coworker who is not their direct supervisor to answer any questions about the company, such as “Where do people eat for lunch?” or “How do I submit a parking reimbursement?”
  • Introduce team members from other departments that will work directly with the new employee

Within the first months, up to a year: check-ins and expectations

Plan to check-in frequently with new hires over the course of the first year. At ALTRES, our in-house recruiter schedules two-week, one-month, three-month, and six-month check-ins. The goal is to gauge how the employee is feeling, find out if there are questions or pain points, and generally get a sense of how they are doing.

In addition, the employee’s supervisors need to provide specific, detailed instructions regarding their role and duties in the company. Employees who do not understand their jobs cannot perform them effectively.

The greater perspective a new employee is given in their initial role with a well-drafted job description and training checklist, the quicker an employee can achieve a high level of productivity.

Need help with onboarding and orientation?

A well-executed onboarding process will help you retain the fresh talent you worked so hard to recruit. But even with the checklists above, it’s not easy to do consistently over the long term. That’s why simplicityHR by ALTRES helps businesses with everything they need to help their new employees start successfully. Depending on what you need, we can help you with the onboarding process as well as lead an orientation at your worksite or at our facility.

Clients of simplicityHR also have the benefit of our world-class technology, HR Symphony, to ease the challenges of onboarding. HR Symphony features paperless new hire onboarding so forms get done efficiently and are stored securely, where you and your employees can easily access them.

Contact us to find out more about how we can help.

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