Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

Onboarding – A Key to Retention!

Posted by on July 5, 2019 in Human Resources

Onboarding – A Key to Retention!
By Maggie Johnson

If you think onboarding consists of new employees completing documents such I-9 and W-4 forms, among others, on their first day of employment, you may be missing the value a robust onboarding process can bring to your organization. Onboarding can be the key to increased employee engagement, higher productivity and lower turnover.

After spending considerable time, effort and, most likely, dollars recruiting the right person to join your organization, it makes sense to make every effort to effectively assimilate that employee into your company for a mutually successful outcome.

According to Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report, there are 150 million people currently working in the US, that’s more than ever before. In 2018, 41.4 million US workers voluntarily left their jobs. National employee voluntary turnover was over 27%. The cost of voluntary turnover is estimated to exceed $600 billion.

A report on onboarding by Urban Bound stated the following statistics:


Without Onboarding

  • Companies lose 25% of all new employees within one year
  • As much as 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first six weeks of employment
  • It takes 8 – 12 months for new employees to gain proficiency

With Onboarding

  • 50% greater retention of employees
  • 34% faster for new employees to gain proficiency

It’s hard to retain employees, but you can increase your chances of keeping them by starting them out right! How? Based on the above statistics, the answer may be through a well-executed onboarding program. Here are some suggestions:


Reach Out to New Employees Before Their First Day of Work

  • Send them information about the company
  • Give them a call
  • Send a simple “Welcome” email letting them know how excited you are that they will join your team

On the First Day of Work

  • Make sure your new employees meet everyone on the team and others who they might work with on a regular basis
  • Make sure their desk is set up with a supply of tools they’ll need to do their job
  • Give them a tour of the work premises
  • Take them to lunch
  • Send an announcement to the company about their hire

Match them up with a Work Buddy/Mentor

Assign a “work buddy” to your new employees. The work buddy is someone with who will generally help to get the new employee acclimatized more quickly by answering their questions showing them around, and so forth. According to Gallup, having work friends contributes to workplace engagement. Work buddies should receive training to make sure your Buddy program is consistently applied throughout the organization and monitored for its effectiveness.

Set Expectations for Job Performance Early

Meet with the employee to establish performance goals in 30, 60 and 90 days. Make sure you have an open welcoming door, so the new employee feels he or she can ask questions or seek clarification.


Do not think of onboarding as a one-day event. It is a process that can last from a few weeks to more than a year, depending on the role the new employee holds, although there should be an established onboarding end date. A good onboarding strategy can set up employees to be successful, and successful employees lead to the success of the organization as a whole.

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