Onboarding – what do you know about it? What makes a great onboarding process? How are employees impacted by their onboarding experiences, and does it truly have an effect on employee satisfaction and retention? At BizLibrary, onboarding is one of our favorite topics! From manufacturing to managers, BizLibrary wrote the book on onboarding and orientation – the playbook, that is.  The truth is that we’re passionate about onboarding at BizLibrary because we understand the impact it can have on an organization’s success – we’ve experienced it ourselves!

If you’re stuck and wondering how to create an onboarding program – check out our comprehensive checklist for onboarding best practices and tips on how to create an impactful and engaging experience!

The Cost of a Negative Onboarding Experience

Most executives and managers can agree that onboarding is important – but the why and the impact that a poor onboarding experience can have is not often clear. A 2022 Paychex survey found that a negative onboarding experience left employees feeling disoriented, disappointed, and devalued.

The impact of a negative onboarding experience was also strongly felt by the organization with 40% of new employees losing interest in their position, 33% losing trust in the company, and 20% creating a negative opinion about the organization as a whole. Remote employees were more likely to have a negative onboarding experience than on-site employees – which is why it’s so important to create an onboarding process with the hybrid experience in mind!

Recent studies have shown that up to 40% of employees leave a position in just the first six months after taking the job – and up to 20% more will leave within the first year.

There are a lot of hidden and upfront costs to losing an employee, regardless of their tenure. There are costs associated with re-advertising the position, the time spent on finding and reviewing candidates, loss of productivity due to an understaffed team, and more. To avoid these costs, it’s important that organizations invest in giving their employees reasons to stay from Day 1.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Okay, so we know that having a poor onboarding experience is bad, but what really makes a new employee leave? How can you avoid making those same mistakes and set all of your new hires up for success? While early leavers cited reasons such as poor cultural fit, manager relationships, or increased salary elsewhere as their final straw, all these factors are indicative of a larger problem: the new employees did not have a realistic picture of what it would be like to work in that organization.

We’ve compiled a few best practices on onboarding to help you maximize engagement and retention in the most important six months of your employee lifecycle – the first six. We’ll also be providing examples from our own onboarding program! Not to toot our own horn (too much), but we think we have a pretty great one.

Remember that onboarding is a marathon, not a race.

Don’t rush through onboarding or new hire orientation (which may or may not be the same thing – depending on your programs and processes). An employee’s first few days on the job can be filled with emotional and information overload. Create an environment where questions and curiosity are welcomed – and give them time to process.

Utilize technology whenever possible to mitigate draw on bandwidth.

A recent study found that 76% of executives believed that onboarding processes were being underutilized at their organizations. HR personnel cited a lack of bandwidth in creating, maintaining, and tracking these programs.

At BizLibrary, we get it – that job is really difficult! It’s why we our organization exists – to provide support through excellent training content, program assistance, leadership development, and more. Using technology like an LMS to deliver and manage an onboarding process can replace a huge amount of manual work.

Include team building and culture exercises.

Onboarding and orientation are the prime time to reinforce your company’s culture with every employee. Paperwork is an important part of the onboarding process, but it doesn’t always help a new hire understand what working with your organization is like. At BizLibrary, our employee paperwork is exchanged before onboarding begins so that we can focus on the reality of our new positions. Plan activities that will help integrate new hires into their teams and departments. You can also encourage cross-departmental collaboration! We use an activity called “Scavenger Hunt” to do this at BizLibrary. 

Our program manager keeps a running list of “scavenger hunt squares” that contain fun facts about nearly every employee at the organization. Many of the squares are general or apply to more than one person – but some are unique! Before onboarding begins, existing employees are notified that new hires may be contacting them in the coming week to have a conversation about the scavenger hunt. During onboarding, new hires are given a list of the squares and are asked to contact as many people within the organization as they can – starting with their own team members. This helps give new hires and existing employees a common ground to talk about in addition to an information exchange about what each person’s roles and responsibilities are. This also creates a touchpoint for future projects where the two may collaborate.

Components of an Excellent Onboarding Program

Now that we’ve laid down the foundation of what makes for a great onboarding program, let’s get into the details. What kind of content and topics should be covered during onboarding?

One of the goals of onboarding is to give all of your new hires a baseline – let them know the expectations and rhythm of your organization. Include topics that are relevant to your organization’s standards, including:

  • Core values – Values and a company’s adherence to them is ultimately what creates a company’s overall culture. Let your new hires know what makes the heart of your company beat and how they contribute to the organization’s mission.
  • Anti-harassment training
  • Cybersecurity training (did you know that the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. was $9.44 million dollars in 2022?)
  • Departmental overviews – this can be provided in pre-recorded lessons (custom content) or in a live demonstration from your leadership team!
  • Company policies – this kind of content can also be delivered via custom video content, or your policy packets can be uploaded and distributed through BizLMS.

Job-specific training is often conducted by a new hire’s manager, however, there are lots of ways to set them up for success in the earliest stages of onboarding. For starters, prepare your new manager for what a successful managerial relationship looks like. BizLibrary’s onboarding includes a segment on how to build an effective relationship between a new hire and their supervisor.

This segment includes asking questions about how both the manager and their new hire prefer to work, how they like to receive new information, their specific pet-peeves about the workplace, and more. This relationship-building training helps ensure that the manager and their new hire both have clear expectations about their standards of work. While ultimately, it’s up to the manager and the new hire to build a functional working relationship, program managers can help facilitate the first steps by ensuring that regular 1:1s and check-ins are scheduled for the first 3 months – 1 year of tenure.

Other job-specific training that can be offered during onboarding might be:

  • Job-specific video training
  • Information about how the employee’s new role directly relates to organizational needs and goals
  • Skills assessments that directly relate to an employee’s current position and future goals within the company

According to Gallup, a great onboarding program should answer the five following questions:

  1. What do we believe in around here? (Core Values)
  2. What are my strengths? (Skills assessment)
  3. What is my role? (Job-specific training)
  4. Who are my partners? (Department integration exercise)
  5. What does my future here look like? (Job-specific training + Skills assessment)

As long as your onboarding process can effectively answer all five of those questions for every new hire – the details can be up to you! Identify key metrics of success for onboarding so that you can effectively track how well your goals are being achieved.

Great Programs Require Great Support

We understand that running an exceptional onboarding program isn’t easy. It requires a lot of work from program managers in addition to support from executive sponsors that is sometimes hard-won. However, we’re experts at giving you the tools and resources you need to receive executive support.

One of the best parts of partnering with BizLibrary is our unrivalled customer support – our learning program designers work directly with your program managers to assist in the creation of training initiatives that fit your needs and solve the problems you need them to solve. There are lots of moving pieces to an award-winning Onboarding program, but don’t worry – we’ve coached lots of award-winning programs over the years!

If you think you’re ready to take the leap and see the BizLibrary difference for yourself, contact a BizLibrary representative today!