Employee Onboarding Strategies: Transforming The New Hire Experience

Employee Onboarding Strategies: Transforming The New Hire Experience
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Summary: Onboarding is a key factor when it comes to retaining new talent. It’s about more than paperwork and the first 90 days. Learn 5 ways you can transform the employee onboarding experience and increase your ROI.

Why Is The Onboarding Experience Important?

The professional landscape has been shifting. New industries, career paths, and jobs have developed, causing changes in recent employment trends. It is no longer common for a person to work at one or two companies for the duration of their working lives. Recent studies have shown the following trends: (and, don’t expect them to change anytime soon)

  • The average rate of new hire turnover is 20% within the first 45 days [1].
  • The average person will have between 5-7 jobs in a lifetime [2].
  • 30% of the working population will change jobs once a year [2].

This makes a new employee’s first impression of a company more important than ever before. As employee retention rates rise, employers are looking for ways they can reverse these trends. A recent study by Glassdoor has found that the implementation of onboarding programs has been proven to reduce retention rates by more than 80% and increase productivity by over 70% [3]. Having a standard onboarding process is a great first step, but the most successful onboarding programs focus on creating a positive onboarding experience because 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding [4].

The Definitive Guide To Onboarding Programs
Learn how to improve new hire retention rates, speed up the rate of competency and increase productivity.

How Do You Create An Exceptional Onboarding Experience?

The overall experience has become such an essential part of onboarding new hires, that we have put together the following list of 5 strategies to help you transform the employee experience.

1. Get A Head Start With Pre-Boarding

Traditional onboarding begins the first day and consists of mostly paperwork and ends within the first 90 days. This process can be overwhelming and leave new employees with more questions than answers. Getting a head start with pre-boarding activities helps employees feel confident and prepared for their first day. Here are 3 pre-boarding activities you can do for new hires:

  • Share information
    Make use of time before a new hire's start date. Send them links to employee handbooks, benefits pages or information about the company and its culture, so they can absorb this information before their start date.
  • Get started on the paperwork
    Get paperwork, like tax information and direct deposit details, out of the way by having them fill it out digitally. This saves time for employees, HR professionals, and employers.
  • Schedule a check-in
    Schedule a call, email, or an in-person meeting before a new employee's start date to answer any additional questions or concerns.

2. First Impressions Count

Employees notice when companies are not prepared to receive them on the first day, and it slows down the onboarding process. Only 12% of employees think their organization onboards well [3]. Be ready to welcome your new employee and have their work station, email accounts, company swag, and anything they might need ready before their arrival. Be sure to include time to introduce the new employee to everyone, so they can get to know their team members and start acclimating to the company culture. Building a sense of belonging has a great impact on the new hire experience. Human Resource management professionals have reported that one of the top reasons employees choose to leave a company is that they did not build professional relationships with their peers.

3. Have A Plan And Share It

60% of companies fail to set milestones or goals for new hires [3]. This often results in failed performance reviews and slows productivity. Providing a structured onboarding plan is a helpful way to give guidance to new hires and show them what to expect throughout the process. Having a checklist ensures that both the employee and supervisor are on the same page from the very start. This eliminates potential confusion and frustrations for both parties.

4. Provide A Mentor

Mentoring is both an effective and underrated onboarding strategy. 87% of organizations that assign mentors during the onboarding process say that this is an effective way to speed up new hire proficiency [3]. Companies can improve the onboarding experience in several different ways by providing a mentor. Mentors help new hires by:

  • Sharing knowledge
    Mentors can provide important technical information such as passwords, logins, or explain work jargon and acronyms.
  • Career coaching
    Mentors can assist in career development by helping new employees align their personal goals with organizational goals.
  • Developing social connections
    Mentors help new hires to develop connections with co-workers and to better understand the organization's power structures.
  • Understanding the company culture
    Participating in a company’s culture may be more easily understood if a current employee explains it. Mentors can give a deeper explanation of the company culture, and how it is applied in everyday work life.
  • Promotes safety and security
    Mentors can work closely with new hires to check and make sure they understand and follow procedures. This is extremely important for jobs that have many potential safety or security risks.

5. Plan Check-Ins

Providing scheduled check-ins with new hires has been proven to boost employee engagement. Long-term onboarding programs with regular check-ins with a mentor are more successful than shorter programs without regular check-ins [2]. Employees whose companies have longer onboarding programs gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in the shorter programs [4]. These meetings give employees, and their mentors, opportunities to address problems, questions and discuss the next steps or future plans.

Key Takeaways

Transforming your employee onboarding program by focusing on the new-hire experience can improve your ROI by reducing employee retention rates, increasing employee engagement and by reducing training time. You can improve the new employee experience by:

  • Implementing pre-boarding activities in your onboarding program
  • Making a good first impression by being prepared and providing opportunities to connect with the team
  • Providing a structured, long-term onboarding plan in the form of a checklist
  • Assigning a mentor to provide guidance
  • Planning regular check-ins to ensure the plan is being followed and goals are being met

Overall, creating a positive employee onboarding experience is about removing onboarding obstacles, encouraging engagement by making connections, and providing a clear plan with goals for new hires to strive for.

The hiring process is an ever interactive part of the onboarding process, with various ways to approach it. Download the eBook The Definitive Guide To Onboarding Programs to read how it can transform your internal processes, too.


[1] How to reduce new hire turnover

[2] Career Change Statistics: You Will Change Careers 7 Times in Your Life?

[3] 10 Employee Onboarding Statistics you Must Know in 2019

[4] 18 Jaw-Dropping Onboarding Stats You Need to Know