HR: Employee Onboarding Improves Retention

Businessman Standing Out in a Line of Business People Waiting Outdoors on a Step

Businessman Standing Out in a Line of Business People Waiting Outdoors on a Step

When you hire a new employee, hopes are high all around and everything is shiny and new. Studies show that the longer you extend the pink cloud stage, the longer you can expect to retain that employee. A thoughtful plan for bringing new employees into the fold can greatly improve your odds of keeping the great employees you worked so hard to find and hire. According to HCI (Human Capital Institute), an estimated 90% of new hires made the decision to stay or leave a job within their first six months.

One way to avoid a high turnover rate is by using a defined welcoming process to introduce and acclimate new employees known as onboarding. Onboarding is all about making sure the new employee feels comfortable with not only their new job, but also the people and culture. A proper onboarding process takes more than just a day or two and involves the HR team, managers and co-workers. As such, it’s critical that you identify what tasks and roles each person will play.

When onboarding a new employee you should:

  • Complete all new hire paperwork (I-9) within the first 24 hours
  • Provide a comprehensive overview of the company including all products, services and departments in the company.
  • Give the new employee a tour of the facilities so they feel comfortable to navigate to break rooms and bathrooms.
  • Introduce the new employee to all team members and groups with whom he or she will work closely
  • Introduce all new employees to your leadership team
  • Go over company policies, procedures and handbook to ensure they feel comfortable about company policies, rules and expectations
  • Describe company culture including do’s and don’ts
  • Have the new employee sit down with IT to navigate their new computer and ensure all programs are set up properly.
  • Make sure the new employee has someone he or she can go to for questions besides their direct manager
  • Encourage new employees to ask questions
  • Follow up with new employees at least once a week to see if they have any concerns or questions
  • Take the new employee to lunch or coffee with the group so they can get to know each other
  • Explain parking procedures and guidelines

For those employers who managed to retain their employees past the first year, the news is good. According to a new survey by CareerBuilder, 59% of workers are generally satisfied at work, and only one in five (21%) said they plan to change jobs this year or next.


To date, no one has coined a term to describe a process for HR and management professionals to hold on to the 20% who may seriously be considering leaving jobs this year. However, the survey creators do emphasize the importance of continuing to measure the job satisfaction of your employees as a way to reduce employee turnover. For example, two reasons high on the list for wanting to leave a job are dissatisfaction with advancement opportunities and a feeling of being underemployed. Employers who fail to identify employees whose primary motivator is advance or to work harder to reach their full potential will be losing valuable resources indeed. Investing the resources to find those employees and then developing the willingness to address employee relation issues will only pay off in the long run for employers.