Starting on the Right Foot – Why Onboarding a New Employee Properly is so Important

Did you know that only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees? (Gallup 2017)

How much time and effort did you spend on your last new hire? Did you just wing it, or did you take some time to create an onboarding plan and process? Employee onboarding is the first impression a new employee has as an official member of your company and team. This process tends to set the tone for what they can expect. When recently speaking to a client about his new hire, he said set up a lunch with them, he blocked off an hour to welcome them and go through some information before sending them off to HR and IT. What I have found is that most managers provide a similar onboarding experience to the one they were given, which is not much of an improvement. When I ask if they have a plan to onboard them, I usually hear back, “I don’t have time to onboard the employee,” or “they can just jump right in,” or “isn’t that HR’s job to create one?”

The Human Capital Institute found that 1/3 of the employee onboarding program was informal, inconsistent, or reactive.


There are a few reasons why it important to spend time onboarding your employee:

  • Increased Retention: Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82% (Glass Floor). 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced a great transition into the company;
  • Increased Productivity: Great employee onboarding can improve productivity by over 70 percent (Glass Floor) – this really allows them to hit the ground running;
  • Reduced Stress: We’ve all experience nerves on the first day of a new job, by providing more information to your new employee for them to fulfill their role, helps them to reduce their stress and feel happier.

So how do you start?

  1. Create a plan – While HR has their process and checklists, I believe it’s important to create your process and plan. Understand what HR will be covering during the process and identify the gaps. Think about what information does this employee need? What training do they need? What are some quick win activities they can get started on? Who do they need to be introduced to internally and externally? Review this plan with an employee who has worked in the role and run through the list of questions to see if you’ve missed any important questions.
  2. Share expectations and priorities – Take some time to outline your expectations for the employee in their role and ask them if they have any expectations. Clarify their roles and responsibilities. Share the company culture and work environment. Let them know the company objectives and how your yearly objectives are aligned to them. Share the quarterly priorities that are in relation to their role and responsibilities. Be clear about your management style and communication style.
  3. Support their integration within the company – Set up a team lunch for the team to get to know them. Take them around the office and introduce them to their cross-functional partners. Share why they stood out during their interview process or why they are the right person for the role. It helps set them up for success as they begin to meet with the individuals one-on-one.
  4. Be Accessible – Onboarding is not just completed in an hour, a day or even a week. Try to block some openings in your busy schedule to check-in and ensure the employee can come to you if they have any questions or concerns. Schedule some check-ins over the first three months to ensure the employee is acclimating and performing.

Great onboarding can reinforce a person’s decision of joining your team and the company. I know I have hoped for better onboarding in the companies I had previously joined. With all the money and time put into finding a new hire, is it not worth spending that extra time to properly onboard your new employee if it could mean you can retain them longer?

What have been some of your personal onboarding horror stories? What have you done to ensure you’ve not created the same experience for others? Don’t hesitate to reach out and share!