Onboarding is the process by which new employees become integrated into a new company. All companies with employees have an onboarding process, but some may handle it more conscientiously than others. The onboarding process has a significant impact on how quickly employees become productive, how content they are with the company, and consequently, how well the company performs.

Onboarding versus Orientation

Many companies think that onboarding is synonymous with orientation and that a single session in which employee information is collected is the extent of onboarding. Onboarding generally lasts for up to a year, however, whether the employer is aware or not. While orientation is a step of the onboarding process, the process encompasses all aspects of employee acclimation to the company.

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Strategizing Onboarding

Strategizing the onboarding process can help new employees to quickly develop the tools they need to contribute to company productivity, while also forging connections with other members of the team and acclimating to the company culture. Ideally, all of these events will happen for every new employee in every company, but strategizing onboarding helps to ensure that they happen quickly and smoothly.

HR software can help with strategizing the onboarding process, automating certain repetitive tasks and fostering communication between key team members. When employees can use employee portals to access the HR software solution and submit required forms, access training modules, view feedback, and reach out to peers or managers, onboarding becomes easier and more enjoyable for all parties.

Onboarding and Turnover

Employee turnover can cost a company in both direct and indirect ways. When an employee quits, a company must devote resources to attracting new talent, screening candidates, and finally to bringing new employees up to speed. While there is a vacancy, customer service and productivity may also suffer, impacting the bottom line and potentially the business reputation.

With all of this in mind, it’s preferable to keep employees on for as long as possible. Unfortunately, roughly 30 percent of new employees across all industries quit within the first 12 months.

The way the onboarding process is handled naturally has a major impact on retention. New employees that feel welcomed into the company and that are provided with the proper tools to perform expected tasks will generally be more content than employees that feel they have been left alone to navigate new territory. While it’s not possible to predict and prevent all circumstances that will cause a new employee to quit, creating a pleasant onboarding experience can help mitigate turnover.

Leadership Is Critical to Onboarding

Employees cite the relationship with their boss as a top factor in company engagement. When managers or employers guide new employees through the onboarding process and open their doors for questions, it establishes a relationship while also streamlining the process. A patient and enthusiastic leader can inspire and assist a new employee, making them feel like part of the team and boosting the overall company culture.

Onboarding is an important part of the employee lifecycle that’s frequently not given as much attention as it deserves. Investing in your onboarding process may yield a favorable ROI while improving the candidate experience.

Authored by: Dave Rietsema