By David Pearce

Want a team of dedicated, loyal employees? You may want to look at your onboarding program. Getting off on the right foot with a new employee is the perfect opportunity to make a lasting impression.

Why is onboarding so important? The cost of replacing employees is huge, even at entry level. Couple this with the fact that we are currently in a candidate’s market, and it’s easy to see why strong onboarding is a critical lever for attracting talent and maintaining a healthy bottom line.

Want great talent? You need to get onboarding right. It is increasingly common for the perfect candidate who initially accepted your job offer to change their mind before they’ve even started. Making a good impression on prospective employees is a critical part of successful recruitment.

A report by People Management says poor onboarding is costing businesses millions.

Fast Company report that three out of ten new hires quit within 90 days. This is a shocking statistic suggesting three things – the onboarding process in many businesses is inadequate, culture isn’t hitting the mark for new hires, and in some cases the jobs themselves are a let-down.

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for a new hire to be facing all three of these unfortunate experiences!

Culture Amp argue that a good onboarding experience is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential.

“The impact of onboarding is felt in terms of years, not weeks, and by teams, not just individuals. A good onboarding experience means people become productive sooner and stay longer, the benefit of which is felt by the individual, their team, and the company.” 

Here I’ll be taking a closer look at why a great induction is vital for staff retention.

Business Culture

Business culture can make or break an employee’s experience right from the word go. In fact, holding on to people says a lot about a business’s culture. High staff turnover, on the other hand, suggests there is a problem.

Every departure has an impact on morale and productivity. It’s a vicious circle companies should be doing more to avoid. An employee’s experience of an organization’s culture begins with onboarding.

Business culture is essentially what motivates employees. It represents how employees interact and new hires can quickly pick up on the vibe. Culture isn’t onboarding, but an onboarding program does reflect the culture of an organization.

Proper onboarding creates a bridge between recruitment and the performance tracking and management of a new employee. It is an important springboard for the employee experience.

Onboarding provides the space to cultivate and nurture – it is the biosphere for introducing a new hire to the culture of the business. To ensure new recruits will contribute positively to the organization and stick around, it is important they gain insight into the inner workings of the business from day one.

Employee Engagement

According to recruitment platform Glassdoor, most thriving business have invested in an onboarding plan. They report “… highly effective onboardings make employees 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organization and 33 per cent more likely to be engaged at work.”

The biggest mistake companies make with onboarding is to treat it like a tick list. These poorly thought through onboarding tick lists tend to focus on the first few weeks, after which new recruits are often left to sink or swim.

Without a full program of cultural immersion, new hires are much more likely to become disengaged.

Employee engagement begins before the first day on the job. A new hire’s experience with a company starts the moment HR professionals engage with them. This happens prior to candidates being invited for interview or accepting a position. Creating a great impression is just as important as them trying to impress you.


Anyone starting a new job will be faced with a certain amount of stress as they get to grips with their new role. A new job often means a steep learning curve at the outset. Proper onboarding programs ensure new employees have all of the tools and support they need to succeed.

Stress in the workplace is a big deal and can cause an employee to leave. Poor onboarding can pile the stress onto new recruits.


Proper onboarding isn’t just for one day – it is a long-term process that takes place over many months. Importantly, onboarding involves a schedule of training.

According to onboarding statistics by UrbanBound, it takes new hires 8 to 12 months to gain proficiency comparable to their tenured co-workers.

If employees feel they are learning and growing in your organization, they are much more likely to stay for a long haul. Investing in the development of your employees shows your commitment to them. They are also much more likely to hit performance targets with formal training.

Ultimately, your recruiting and onboarding process will affect your bottom line. Proper onboarding makes a big difference to the churn of your employees.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos