Introduction to Onboarding

February 1, 2019 Julia Hisey

Why is onboarding new employees important? 

In the workplace of the past, employers relied only on a first-day orientation to get new hires acquainted with their new roles and company expectations. Many organizations believed that filling out the required paperwork, taking a tour of the building, and reviewing a list of job responsibilities was sufficient for them to get acclimated to their new positions.

Today, we know better. How? Well, we started to put the pieces together: employees who weren’t properly integrated, adequately trained, or given enough attention and feedback were leaving their jobs—quickly. And all that time spent recruiting and interviewing was not only being wasted, it was in a perpetual state. That costs money. According to a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) study,

Employee turnover adds up to anywhere from 90 to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.

Nobody likes throwing away money. But, these days, our time is just as precious a commodity. There’s a famous quote that states: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Continuously filling and replacing positions within your company is kind of insane, isn’t it? That’s why smart (and sane) organizations are moving away from just first-day orientations and toward onboarding.

Human Resources MBA defines onboarding as, “the process focusing on helping employees to become acclimated to their new workplace in a timely fashion and bringing them “on board” with regard to company culture, understanding of job function and overall comfort level.”

That’s 35 words strung together with a lot of nuance behind them. We’re here to take you through all the steps, from evaluating your current program, to building a new and better one, to maintaining its effectiveness year after year.


How is onboarding different from new employee orientation?


Typically, orientation provides only the basics and lasts no longer than a few days or a week. Ideally, onboarding should last between 90 and 100 days, but can extend to six months in more complex environments. The problem is, many companies believe they’re onboarding, when they can’t possibly be doing so effectively given the short duration. A Career Builder survey found that nearly 75% of companies’ onboarding programs were a month or less. About half were a week or less.


Yet, a study by The Wynhurst Group revealed that new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with an organization after three years. Structured and strategic onboarding takes time, but that time pays off.



Ready to see how effective your current onboarding program is?

Download our onboarding eBook!


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