The Great Resignation/Realisation has shifted the power balance between employers and employees, complicating onboarding with new challenges posed by remote and hybrid work models. To address these challenges, employers need to be adaptable and prioritise their onboarding processes to attract and retain top talent.

A successful onboarding process can make all the difference in creating a motivated, high-performing team, while a poor onboarding experience can lead to staff attrition, low engagement, and unnecessary costs for the business.

So, what does an ineffective onboarding experience look like?  An ineffective onboarding experience can leave new employees feeling uncertain about their roles and responsibilities. If you’ve ever started a new job and felt unsure about what was expected of you or how to succeed in your role, you’ve likely experienced a poor onboarding process. As a result, it’s important to consider whether your current onboarding process could be leaving new hires feeling the same way and to take steps to improve it if necessary.

So what are the consequences of poor onboarding?

  1. Employee engagement levels go down and business performance suffers

The quality of an organisation’s onboarding process is closely tied to employee engagement. To ensure that employees are set up for success, it is important to invest in effective onboarding programs. When onboarding is inadequate, employees may become disengaged and it can lead to missed personal KPIs. Organisations with effective onboarding programs experience a 54% increase in employee engagement.  Therefore, it is essential to provide new employees with the right tools, processes, documentation, and motivation from day one. 

  1. Staff turnover rates go up

Employee turnover and attrition rates can be a significant challenge for businesses, particularly in the current job market where candidates have more options and are more willing to switch jobs. Organisations with effective onboarding programs retain 69% of their employees for at least three years. Therefore, investing in onboarding is crucial for retaining talent and reducing costs associated with high turnover rates. 

  1. Your bottom line is impacted

It’s essential to consider the expenses involved in properly onboarding a new employee. The cost of employee turnover could be significantly higher than the investment in effective onboarding. This includes the cost of retraining and development for a new employee if they leave, as well as other expenses. Decreasing your attrition rate can translate into substantial savings for your organisation. It’s crucial to prioritise the experience of new hires from the moment they sign their employment contract through the end of their probationary period.

Dos and don’ts for onboarding new employees

So, how do you get ahead of these issues? Here’s a quick list of what not to do (and what to do instead):

DON’T be vague – It’s important to be clear about your expectations for new hires.  60% of companies don’t set any goals or milestones for their new employees. This lack of direction leaves many new hires unsure of what they should be working towards, which can hinder their ability to start off strong.

DO set specific and measurable expectations for your new hires through goal setting and tracking – This may include establishing goals and objectives for the first month, three months, and six months, as well as encouraging employees to set their own additional goals. Take the time to ask them about what they hope to achieve in their first few months and how they can contribute to the success of the company.

DON’T hand over a laptop and disappear without further communication – Maintaining communication is essential during the first few months of employment and beyond, especially when onboarding remote workers. Simply completing the necessary paperwork and processes is not enough, keep communication flowing. 

DO ensure regular check-ins and feedback opportunities – promptly address any concerns by setting up a continuous feedback system. This approach is highly effective in keeping you connected with your new hire and understanding their requirements during the first few vital months of employment.

DON’T neglect your onboarding strategy after implementation – While it’s not necessary to constantly modify your techniques for welcoming new employees, neglecting to evaluate and improve the process could lead to missed opportunities. Taking the time to review and optimise your onboarding approach/tools can ensure that each new hire benefits from a productive first few months.

DO consider using feedback and data from new employees –  By analysing concrete insights from early performance reviews, regular check-ins, and ongoing feedback sessions, you can determine whether your current onboarding strategies are effective. Ask yourself whether your new hires feel ready, involved, and satisfied in their roles. Do they comprehend their job responsibilities and meet performance expectations? Evaluating this data can help you make informed adjustments to your onboarding procedures before recruiting new staff.