How Employee Onboarding is Linked to Retention

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First impressions are priceless. Unfortunately, some business owners and managers may not realize how a lack of proper and efficient onboarding can affect employee turnover in serious ways. For example, according to, “New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years." That fact is huge considering that Gallup has found "that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees."

Additional facts to consider when thinking of how related employee retention is to the onboarding process:

Employees are present and want to be a part of an amazing team. But how do you find and keep them?

What is onboarding, anyway?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) gives a great explanation of the onboarding process. They state that it is “as a systematic and comprehensive approach to integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting the new employee the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team.”

In order to provide the best and most effective ongoing strategy for the onboarding process, it is imperative to understand the employee experience. High turnover can be expensive and getting this right by witnessing the onboarding process through the lens of a new employee is vital to not only employee retention but also your bottom line.  Some believe that onboarding begins that moment that an employee receives and submits a signed offer letter. Others believe that onboarding can begin with the interview process. Either way, it’s important to recognize the fact that when you are interviewing an employee, you are the face of your business and that first impression does matter.

Considering the interview process as the first part of onboarding will not only help you paint an accurate picture of exactly what your company stands for and how it operates in the community, but you are also able to begin connecting with the employee on a more personal level. You can use the interview process to think ahead about how you want your company to be seen and the goals for your employee both of which will set the stage for a formalized onboarding process.

Employee engagement is a driver in retention.

According to, “If you don't welcome new employees like rock stars, the experiential disappointment could start them off on an emotionally slippery slope, leading to low engagement and seeking out a new opportunity.”Employee engagement is your key. But how you use that key to unlock the door to a long-term and fruitful employee-employer relationship is essential. Engagement will be increased exponentially if you spend time making sure that your employees feel safe. Remember that an employee is influenced by emotions which will impact follow-through and retention. Pay attention to these emotions and get to know your new future employee. Connect in an engaging way by getting to know his or her personal and professional goals.

It is also important that you don't skip onboarding or provide it in bits and pieces. You want to make sure it is organized and structured and that you create open dialogue during onboarding. Make certain to explain and demonstrate your company's culture. Consider a welcome package as part of onboarding and remember that the first few days with onboarding can make all the difference in employee engagement and ultimately retention with your company. Whomever you choose to conduct onboarding and orientation, make sure that the individual thoroughly knows the company rules, policies, and culture and is a positive member of your team.

Set your employees up for success.

Setting your employees up for successful onboarding and a smooth transition is absolutely necessary. The interviewing and initial hiring process should flow seamlessly into an engaging, positive onboarding process. Make certain that you make onboarding personal. For example, explain the organization, communicate the ins and outs and introduce them to the team. The point is to keep them engaged and exude positivity. Work to help them feel part of the team right away. Provide them with all the information they need to succeed and fit in with the team.  

In short, make sure to keep the energy high, positive, and focused from interviewing to onboarding and beyond. First day impressions are crucial for establishing your business’s work and professional culture. Even after official onboarding is over, make sure you provide employees with genuine ongoing and consistent check-ins. This helps to establish an open-door policy and breeds trust between employers and employees.

Look into HR software.

Using technology to help with the onboarding process will not only help with first impressions, but it will also help create an efficient system for onboarding. Human Resource software helps make it easy to transition new hires onto the team. Web-based onboarding and software frees up valuable time for the fun stuff, like the hands-on training and diving into the heart of the team culture.

There are a few considerations to help ensure you are using the best restaurant software for your company’s needs and onboarding process. Make sure it is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. This allows for ease of usage and efficiency. It’s also helpful to collect important and necessary HR-related documents as soon as the individual accepts the position. Then you can make everything else easily accessible with the HR software. Lastly, consider how HR software can help you with analytics. You'll be able to use measurable statistics to follow-up and review your procedures to provide actionable results.

Ultimately, it is important to remember not to skimp on the onboarding process. After all, first impressions do matter. Making an employee’s onboarding process flow easily and flawlessly will help build that necessary trust in your organization. Again, staying organized and partaking in these best practices will lead to increased employee retention and reduce unwanted employee turnover. This will not only help provide you with a wonderfully skilled and professional team but will also save you time and money in the future.

employee onboarding

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December 2020


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