Employee Onboarding

    Everything you need to know about employee onboarding

    Employee onboarding defined

    Defined as “the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs”, employee onboarding is essentially the link between recruitment and employment.


    Every company onboards. A few employ modern strategies to engage and inspire onboardees throughout the new hire journey. Many utilize a series of orientation activities and checkbox training modules. And 24% have no formal process in place, relying on existing staff to show new hires the ropes, which in a post-pandemic workplace is an easy way to ensure your newest hire walks right back out the door they came in.


    When does onboarding start and how long does it take to onboard a new hire?


    Good, or ‘best-in-class’ onboarding starts well before day 1. It is an umbrella that spans the entire new-hire lifecycle and takes into account both hybrid and remote scenarios.

    From signing the contract, and landing on Day 1 [pre-boarding], during their first days and weeks on the job [induction & orientation], until your new hire is fully settled in their role - whether that’s 3 weeks, 3 months or even a year [integration].

    It is a long-term strategy and recognizes that a staggering 20% of new hires leave for a new opportunity within the first 45 days on the job.

    Effective onboarding delivers an ongoing, all-inclusive experience that builds loyalty and confidence at every stage of the new hire onboarding lifecycle.

    In one sentence: A comprehensive, 2-way process designed to share knowledge, communicate values, build connections and manage compliance to transform new hires into confident, empowered team members and ambassadors.

    Why is employee onboarding important?

    Onboarding is here to stay. 

    In fact, 77% of professionals believe that onboarding is more important than ever.

    But what are the tangible outcomes? What benefits will your organization see when you commit to, and invest in, a fully-fledged onboarding journey?

    Drive Engagement

    Employee engagement is generally defined as "the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work", and 71% of executives believe that employee engagement is critical to their company's success.

    Why? Because organizations with high employee engagement have happier employees who work harder and contribute more. They’re also 21% more profitable than those with low (or no) engagement.


    Onboarding helps. Organizations that onboard effectively have 33% more employees who are engaged with their employer, a boon in 2023 in the face of plummeting post-pandemic global workforce engagement rates.

    Shorten Time-to-Productivity

    In the workplace, time-to-productivity (or proficiency), is the length of time it takes to bring new hires to targeted levels of task execution and performance.

    Estimates vary, but on average, your new hire won’t be fully productive until their 5th or 6th month of employment. And according to author and researcher Fred Charles, speed to proficiency ‘is the most devastating competitive weapon in the world where the forces of scale, automation, and capital are subordinate to the power of proficient workforce’.

    In essence, the faster your employees can get up-to-speed, the sooner they can begin to provide value to your organization.

    Onboarding helps. Good onboarding is proven to shorten ‘time to productivity’ by up to 70%. With workplace productivity dropping at the fastest rate in four decades post-pandemic, anything that helps stabilize your employee’s output is worth its weight in gold.

    Increase Retention

    Bringing on new employees is expensive, and the bigger your organization, the bigger the numbers. Estimates vary, but the average cost of hiring a new employee starts at around $3328 for a newly-created entry-level role, and balloons to almost $213,000 to fill highly educated executive positions.

    Adding to this are the effects of The Great Recession. With 40% of employees thinking about leaving their jobs in the next three to six months, organizations globally are struggling to attract top talent.

    This makes holding on to the employees you do hire your single biggest opportunity to thrive in this competitive talent market.

    Onboarding helps. Good onboarding has the potential to increase retention by up to 82%. With turnover rates skyrocketing post-pandemic (in some industries climbing as high as 24%), giving this metric a boost will go a long way in keeping C Suite happy.
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    How to create a great employee onboarding experience?


    There are 6 important things to consider when building (or rebuilding) an effective new hire journey. Exceptional employee onboarding can be most easily achieved when you map your journey to the 6 C’s of onboarding: Compliance, Clarification, Connection, Culture, Confidence and Checkback.


    To help you get started, here’s a plethora of great onboarding materials to get you inspired!

    Employee onboarding dictionary: Defining onboarding from A to Z
    Learn more
    Onboarding ideas to impress your new hires
    Read now
    Employee onboarding checklists for a seamless new hire experience
    Onboarding strategies to boost new hire engagement
    Learn more

    How to build an employee onboarding process?


    Onboarding can look different depending on each organisation’s size, culture, needs, industry, etc. 


    The first weeks of onboarding especially can make or break a newcomer’s experience  If you’d like to really zoom in on the first week, here are 15 steps you can follow to make it unforgettable. But we’ve also created a best practice onboarding template that includes all six C’s for the new hire lifecycle beyond that! 

    How to measure onboarding success?

    Most organisations recognise the need to measure their onboarding efforts, but don’t always know how to go about it. Having no clear systems in place to capture and evaluate data - or even a sense of which data to track, is usually the root of this issue.


    Onboarding is proven to contribute to better engagement, time-to-productivity and retention. So for the quantitative aspect, these KPIs might be a great place to start. Don’t forget to research what your industry standards are for a better understanding of the bigger picture, and eventually start creating your own internal benchmarks to keep track of progress or fluctuations in the numbers.


    By collecting feedback through your onboarding platform, you can gather qualitative insights into the overall experience, both good and bad. Use this information to provide numbers with context, and more importantly to improve the process for future hires. 


    There are more metrics that you can deep-dive into for a comprehensive overview and evaluations of your onboarding efforts, but these are a good place to start.

    Interested in knowing more?
    Success stories