7 Proven Steps for Successful New Employee Onboarding and Retention

Having a strong onboarding experience for new hires can drive better employees. It's a proven company strategy that is underutilized. However, companies that execute this correctly have seen amazing results.

For Business
two female workers going through an onboarding process for new hire.
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Quick facts for employee onboarding and retention

  • Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. [7]
  • Employees who undergo an exceptional onboarding experience are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace. [6]
  • New hires who have a positive experience in their first 90 days are 10x more likely to stay with the company long-term compared to those who don't. [7]

The statistics clearly show that investing in a robust, well-designed onboarding program pays dividends in terms of higher employee retention, increased productivity and job satisfaction. Effectively, onboarding lays the groundwork for engaged and committed employees who are more likely to remain with the organization.

Here are 7 steps to effectively onboard new employees and improve retention, backed by relevant statistics:

Start Onboarding Before Day One

Pre-boarding, or engaging new hires before their official start date, can make a significant difference in setting them up for success. According to Aberdeen Strategy & Research, best-in-class organizations are much more likely to engage with new hires before they start compared to others. By sending relevant information ahead of time and getting new hires acclimated to company culture, you can start their journey on the right foot and make them feel fully prepared.

Extend Onboarding Beyond the First Few Weeks  

A one-day orientation is simply not enough. 49% of companies only include onboarding for two weeks, but research shows this is inadequate. Additionally, Aptitude Research states, "Companies must extend onboarding beyond the first 30 days." New hires operate at only 25% productivity in the first month, increasing 25% each subsequent month. Extending onboarding helps new employees ramp up faster and increases the likelihood they'll stay long-term.

Utilize native video for a deeper immersion when on-boarding new employees. Research shows that effective video-based onboarding can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Use an Onboarding Checklist and Formalize the Process

Surprisingly, even though an effective onboarding process boosts retention and productivity - it's not enough. Using a standardized onboarding checklist and formalizing the process is crucial. Guide the new hire, their manager, and HR to ensure all bases are covered.

Focus on Three Key Dimensions  

The Harvard Business Review recommends focusing onboarding on three dimensions:

  1. The organizational (company culture, policies, etc.),
  2. The technical (tools, processes, etc.),
  3. The social (introductions, team building, etc.).

An integrated approach enables employees to better understand their role, build connections, and ultimately thrive long-term.

Involve Leadership and Set Clear Expectations

Nearly two-thirds of organizations fail to include team leadership in their onboarding. By not involving leadership and setting clear expectation, there is a missed opportunity. Leaders should model expected behavior and help new hires understand how their role fits into broader goals. Clear role expectations from the start reduce the chance of new hires feeling misled and quitting early - 20% leave in the first 45 days when expectations aren't met.

nearly two-thirds of organizations fail to include team leadership in their onboarding.

Gather Feedback and Measure Effectiveness  

Per HRChief.com, more than half of organizations don't measure the effect of their onboarding programs at all. This makes it impossible to identify areas for improvement. Gather feedback from new hires and examine metrics like time to proficiency. Continuously refine your process based on data.

Commix.io Surveys combine built-in targeted engagement to help identify pain points and areas of improvement for better decision-making.

Adapt for Remote Employees

With more remote work, effective virtual onboarding is critical. The top challenge for employers hiring remotely is remote onboarding. Use video tools for introductions, send materials and equipment ahead of time, and check in frequently to replicate the in-person experience as much as possible.

With an employee engagement platform that provides native audio, video, rich text editor, multi-channel communication, and a built-in employee directory, platforms like Commix.io can enhance employee retention and sense of belonging in order to help deepen connections with the organization.