“Onboarding is a magic moment when new employees decide to stay engaged or become disengaged. It offers an imprinting window when you can make an impression that stays with new employees for the duration of their careers.”

So says Amy Hirsh Robinson, principal of LA consulting firm The Interchange Group, and the evidence suggests she’s absolutely right. A study by the Aberdeen Group shows that 86% of new hires decide whether or not to stay with their companies long-term within the first six months of joining, and onboarding is likely to play a huge part in this.

With pressure on to get the next set of candidates lined up, it’s perhaps too easy to assume that once terms have been agreed with the new hire, the job is done and dusted. However, the onboarding stage, which starts as soon as the role has been offered, is a vital time which can shape your new employee’s perspective of the company – and ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

So why invest time in a proper onboarding process?

The benefits of great onboarding

1. Reduces unnecessary stress

A new starter’s first few weeks can be a stressful experience. They are doing their best to remember a whole bunch of new names, get to grips with new systems, and make a good impression from day one.

However, too much stress has been shown to stop people assimilating information or performing at their best. That means it is important not to overwhelm new joiners – especially on their first few days.

A good onboarding process that starts as soon as they’ve accepted your job offer can make a huge difference. If you let them know what is planned for their first few days, get some of the paperwork out of the way before they start, and introduce them to their team (digitally, if not in person) they’ll have less to worry about and more energy to focus on their new role, and be more productive as a result.

2. Gets new hires up to speed faster

Studies show that your new employee will be most engaged with the company from the moment they are hired, right through the first six months of working, so why not make the most of this window of opportunity?

By ensuring important issues are clearly communicated in the run up to their start date and during their first few weeks; such as the values, culture and vision of the company; what is expected of them; and how they should deliver their work properly, new hires will get up to speed faster, make fewer mistakes and feel better equipped for their job.

3. Protects your investment

It’s your first day of work, and nobody is there to greet you on your arrival. Your desk isn’t ready yet, and your computer and phone haven’t been set up. What sort of first assumptions do you make about your new employer? That they’re disorganised? Mismanaged? Maybe you start questioning your decision to join the company, or your commitment to stay?

Research has shown that organisations with a systematic onboarding process boost new hire retention by 50%, and new employers who experienced strong onboarding were 58% more likely to stay with the company more than three years.

After all the effort you have put into recruiting, losing new recruits soon after hiring because of poor onboarding doesn’t make sense. It’s also expensive. The cost of replacing an entry level employee is approximately 30-50% of their annual salary, and for more senior roles it can be anywhere between 150-400%. It’s therefore important for companies to protect their recruitment investment with a thorough onboarding programme.

4. Ensures legal compliance

Without a well-thought out and organised onboarding process, vital pre-employment checks can easily slip through the cracks and put your company at risk.

Failure to take up references or carry out CRB checks on time, could delay new staff starting and leave your business short-handed. Deficiencies in your process around ‘right to work’ checks could lead to civil penalties – as much as £20,000 per employee if you are found to have employed someone that doesn’t have the right to work in the UK.

5. Helps you attract the best talent

As a company, you probably want only the best talent, and the best talent is attracted to the best organisational culture. Stories of poor onboarding spread fast, and the last thing you need is a new joiner sharing a bad experience on a site like Glassdoor. An effective onboarding process can help ensure that new employees feel engaged, and excited about working with you. They may even become a brand ambassador. You’ll keep your reputation intact, and this will have a positive impact on future recruitment drives.

How HR software helps

Managing all the tasks associated with onboarding is incredibly time consuming. Hours can be wasted chasing up colleagues, checking on paperwork and ensuring appropriate resources and training are lined up. And, it’s easy to overlook the needs of new hires for information – and reassurance that they’ve made the right decision.

Cezanne HR’s Onboarding and Lifecycle Management module combines easy-to-set-up welcome portals (no technical skills required!) with flexible task management, so you’ll find it easy to create a great onboarding experience that works for you and your new starters.

You’ll be able to share essential information with employees before they join and automate the flow of onboarding tasks: from checking the paperwork through setting up IT to organising team introductions, inductions and check ins.

With all your onboarding processes managed in a single, secure Cloud HR system, you can be confident that everyone knows what they need to do and quickly check to see whether important activities have been carried out.

To find out more, give us a call or visit the Cezanne website to book a demo.

Chris Wells author image

Chris Wells