Why Onboarding is Critical in Talent Acquisition


Imagine this: a company recently hired a new employee. On her first day, she comes in, receives some paperwork and meets her manager, and gets started. Her performance is shaky at first, but shows real promise. Then, two months after she begins, she puts in her two weeks notice. What happened?

Poor Onboarding Drives Away Good Employees

Here are some shocking numbers regarding new hire retention:

  • Half of all leadership outside hires fail within 18 months
  • Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within 120 days (Source)

What it comes down to is onboarding.

The onboarding process should start during recruitment, ensuring that candidates are good fits not only in the skills that they bring to the position, but also that their personalities mesh with the company culture. First impressions make a huge difference, so start familiarizing new hires with job expectations, company culture, and work environment before their first day. Ditch passive onboarding in favor of proactive HR training and creating connections for the new hire to help them find their feet.

Hiring is Expensive (So Make it Count)

A 2022 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that the average cost-per-hire for companies was $4,683 – not exactly pocket change. So while a targeted and thorough recruitment process can help you find the perfect employee, failing to outline and implement an onboarding process that prepares new hires for doing their best work in your company could cost you.

Instead, investing in the creation of a formal onboarding process could increase your hiring return-on-investment. An onboarding study by the Aberdeen Group found that in companies with the best onboarding practices, 62% of employees hired in the last 12 months met their first performance milestones on time. Customer retention increased 16% year-to-year, and revenue per full-time employee was up 17%, over just a 9% year-to-year increase for companies with less structured onboarding.

HR Training and Onboarding Improve Satisfaction

Understanding the importance of onboarding is the first step, but where do you go from there? Here are some critical aspects of any onboarding process to get you started:

  • Make their first day great. When a friend or family member of your new hire asks, “How was your first day?” make sure that their answer is excited and enthusiastic. Have their workspace ready with everything they’ll need for their position, welcome them in person, set up a lunch with key coworkers, and don’t overload them with paperwork.
  • Introduce company culture quickly. Establish how the company functions, how people interact, and how work gets done right off the bat. Even the most skilled candidate will fail at a company where they don’t fit in.
  • Design a process, and make it transparent. If you want your new hire to complete half of their training by the end of their first week, let them know, and give them a space to check their progress. Whether it’s an online portal or a checklist on a notepad, they should have a clear understanding of your onboarding process and be able to see their progress.
  • Give regular, honest, and constructive feedback. Clear feedback helps new hires understand their position and what’s expected of them even after training is complete. Have your HR training team expand on their initial training when situations arise, and your hire will gain confidence in their performance.

After putting time, effort, and money into the hiring process, following through to nurture a great new employee is the critical next step. Here at HR Collaborative, we understand that recruitment doesn’t stop at hiring. Take a look at our case study about one of our great onboarding success stories:

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