The Importance of Employee Onboarding

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April employment report, the rate of unemployment is at a 50-year low (3.6 percent). As a result, companies have to work harder than ever to attract and retain qualified employees. One way to improve retention rates is through the onboarding process. In order for new employees to be effective and engaged members of their team, department, and organization, they must go through a proper onboarding process. This program works best when it’s tailored to the needs of both individual job requirements and overall business needs to ensure high productivity, encourage long-term retention, and boost morale.

Often times, the terms “onboarding” and “orientation” are used interchangeably even though they are completely different. Orientation is a singular day event, often occurring on the employee’s first day, which then leads to the onboarding process. The onboarding process typically takes course over weeks, months or even years and requires careful thought and planning. A poorly executed initiation could mean the company is perceived as disorganized, leading to higher turnover rates at a time when companies are already vulnerable to losing new hires. Statistics show that 33 percent of new hires will look for a new job within their first 6 months of working at a new place, and 22 percent within the first 45 days.

All company employees, from support personnel to top management executives, should play a role in achieving onboarding’s goal of converting job candidates into successful long-term employees. Otherwise, the time and resources spent during the hiring process is inevitably wasted. But of all the people involved in a new employee’s onboarding, the hiring manager is most prominent.

Hiring managers work alongside recruiters and HR managers and oversee the process of selecting new talent in an effort to ensure the qualifications and characteristics are met with the best candidates. The job of the hiring manager begins with an initial recruiting planning meeting where the recruiter, hiring manager and the Human Resources team meet to develop a job position’s specifications. Then, the recruiter posts the job online and screens incoming resumes for potential candidates. After the applicant pool has been narrowed down to several candidates, the hiring manger will schedule interviews and conduct any follow-up assessments. Helping a potential new employee feel comfortable and welcome beginning with the first interview is one of the most important objectives for a hiring manager to ensure a successful onboarding program.

Being a new employee can be a stressful, nerve-wracking situation. An effective onboarding process helps alleviate those concerns and puts an employee in the best position for success. In upcoming articles, we’ll look at the phases of the onboarding process during a new employee’s first year.