A positive onboarding experience has a significant impact on employee productivity, retention and safety.

Research shows that up to 20% of employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment.

This number is significant when we consider the cost of the end-to-end recruitment process and the difficulties businesses encounter finding talented employees.

A positive onboarding experience has a significant impact on employee productivity, retention and safety.

The onboarding process begins before the employee commences, with clear communication about arrival times, points of contact and parking tips (if relevant).

As well as the onboarding basics (documentation, compliance training and technology) - why not also consider:

Accelerating learnings

In addition to business fundamentals (systems, technologies and people) managers should help new starters navigate the organisation's decision-making system. This can be done by connecting new starters to people of influence within the business and sharing inside knowledge about how decisions get made.

  • Tip: Create a checklist of activities for new employees to ‘tick off’ on their first day, week and first 90 days at your business. Include a list of people who will be critical to their learning and success on the job and encourage them to make contact with them.

A buddy system

A buddy system can be a great way to support a new employee. Ideally, the buddy will be a similar classification or role and should be adequately resourced to be a buddy (i.e. they should be given time to undertake the task).

  • Tip: Make sure that the buddy is easily accessible to the new employee early in the onboarding process. Formally acknowledge this role and support the buddy to allocate time to fulfil these duties.

Manage Expectations

Without clear expectations about behavioural standards and performance expectations, it will be difficult for employees to transition into new roles.

Managers should make time to have an in-depth conversation about employee goals, tasks required of them and the role the individual plays in achieving business outcomes.

  • Tip: Provide a written job description (or ask employees to co-design these with their manager) to ensure expectations are clear and unambiguous.

Gain Feedback

Seeking feedback from employees will help you ensure that the onboarding process is the best it can be for both employees and the business.

Questions about the employee experience should focus on perceptions of the onboarding process, including the strengths and weaknesses. It is recommended that this occurs through informal and formal channels.

  • Tip: Create a short survey for new employees. This should be issued 1 week, 1 month and 6 months into starting their new role.

The survey can cover questions such as:

  • What was the best/worst thing about the orientation program?
  • Were there any expectations that were not met?
  • What do you know now that you wish you knew earlier?