Why great new hire onboarding matters

June 1, 2022

When you think about onboarding, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Is it checking off the right boxes to make sure your tasks are completed? Or getting as many new hires onboarded as quickly as possible? How about pushing them through a process to make sure you hit your deadlines?

If you thought, “yes”, to any or all of those questions, we understand why. We know how overwhelming it can be to spend hours on tasks that have seemingly no end in sight, but need to get done. And while those things are part of the overall process, we want to challenge you to think differently - to enter a world of onboarding that goes beyond speed and numbers.

New hire expectations - are they being met?

Setting the right tone from the beginning so your new hires come in ready to embrace their new roles and feel empowered to deliver. Showing your new hires who you are as a company and delivering on the promises you sold to them during the interview process. Drumming up excitement, letting them know they belong, and keeping the momentum going from the day they sign their offer letter. These are all part of a different kind of onboarding experience - one that changes the way you and your new hires feel about onboarding.

Think about your first day on the job with a new company or organization. How did you feel? What were your expectations of the team to help you ramp up?

We all want to feel welcomed by our managers and new team members, so it's important to have things like:

  • Resources to help us learn more about our new role, team, and company
  • Welcome lunches and coffee chats
  • Product training or call shadowing with other colleagues
  • A 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan
  • Surveys that get to know us on a personal level

No one enjoys having to guess what’s expected of them or where to find answers to burning questions they have - especially when they’re new. 

If new hires don’t feel welcome and supported in their first few days, weeks, and beyond, they’re going to feel disconnected from the team or the company - and no one wants to feel like just another number.

When people feel like they belong, they stick around.

Did you know that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they experience great onboarding? That’s a pretty big statistic (and an even bigger reason to rethink the way you onboard your new hires).

Onboarding has lasting effects, one way or another

Hiring is hard - and expensive. Good, loyal employees are invaluable in an extremely competitive job market, especially if you have multiple open positions to fill. When you finally land a great candidate you don’t want to let them down by failing to follow through with a strong first impression. 

When you strategize about the way you onboard your new employees, you should factor in the company’s long-term goals for that employee as well as their own personal and professional goals for themselves.

What are their needs as they step into their new role? What will help them to succeed in the short- and long-term? Do they see themselves with the company over the next 3-5 years? If not, what can be done to change that? Offboarding is just as a considerable expense as hiring.

When new hires understand how they fit into the company and contribute to its success, they feel a sense of pride. They want to stay around to help achieve long-term goals.

According to the SHRM, new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after 3 years, and organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity.

What does a great onboarding program look like? First and foremost, it involves leaving an impactful first impression.

Make introductions that will enthusiastically welcome your new hire into the team. Set up training and demo sessions to bring them up to speed on product and company knowledge. Make sure they’re comfortable and familiar with their agenda for the first few days. Assign them an onboarding buddy for any “silly” questions they have (but might be afraid to ask).

We believe that every new hire should have a personalized onboarding experience because one size doesn’t fit all.

Let’s say you’re looking for a new pair of running sneakers to train for an upcoming marathon (non-runners: picture anything else you might train for 😄). You might like the same brand and colors as someone else, but you ultimately choose the size that will give you the space and support to be comfortable and successful throughout your training.

Just as you wouldn’t buy shoes that aren’t your size, you shouldn’t expect your new hires to fit into an onboarding process that isn’t personalized to them. We want our new hires to be prepared for the journey, not destined to fail on the first step.

Get to know your new hires as human beings

Really think about who your new hires are, like where they live and what matters to them in their role. Ask questions to get to know them. What are their favorite foods? What hobbies do they have? Keep their responses on hand for thoughtful gifts.

Anticipate your new hires’ needs before they even start with the company. Are they set up with a comfortable home office? Do they know what perks they have through the company? Do they have access to everything they need on day 1?

These seemingly small gestures will make a big difference for your new hire.

According to a recent Gallup study, employees with an exceptional onboarding experience are 2.6 times as likely to be extremely satisfied with their place of work. 

Every employee will have a different perspective and need a different experience depending on many factors. It’s extremely important to make sure you capture the heart of who your new hires are so you can tailor an experience to each of them that says, “We’re really excited you’re here. Stay with us for a while.”

Did you know that compared with employees who rate their onboarding at a "4" or below on a 5-point scale, employees who give their onboarding a "5" are about twice as likely to strongly agree that they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their new role?

Ultimately, when you think about new hire onboarding we hope that much more than speed and numbers comes to mind. Going forward, if your perspective and approach includes some of the human elements we’ve touched on, your new hires will undoubtedly become long-time veterans.

We want our new hires to feel supported, succeed in their new role, and love the company they work for. New hires are an essential part of the company culture and success over the long-term, so we want them to understand that they are important to us and that we care about their personal and professional success and development from the start.

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