What is Onboarding, and Why Does It Matter?

Liz Stanton

What is onboarding, and why does it matter? In our upcoming three-part series, we discuss why onboarding matters, what your onboarding program should include, and how to measure its success. Below, find part one, or click here for part two (part three coming soon)!


What is Onboarding, and Why Does It Matter?

We’re sure you’re familiar with the term, but what does onboarding actually mean, and why should you care about it?

It’s simple, really: onboarding is the process that turns a brand-new employee into a successful, high-contributing member of your team.

Onboarding doesn’t just happen in the first day, month, or even three months of employment. Contrary to common misconception, it’s not just first day orientation and HR paperwork. Onboarding is about ongoing communication and training. The goal is mutual; as much as you depend on your employee’s success, their success depends on you.

Onboarding isn’t just about orientation. It’s also a major factor in employee retention.

If you’re worried about the cost and frequency of turnover in your workplace, then you probably need to take a good look at your onboarding program.

When people leave is important…

According to a 2014 Equifax report, forty percent of employees who left their jobs voluntarily in 2013 did so within six months of their start date, and an additional sixteen percent left within twelve months. That means more than half of voluntary turnover happens in an employee’s first year!

When people decide to leave a new position, they decide quickly, which means that the first year is crucial for encouraging employee retention. 

…and so is why they go!

Communication in hiring is key. You might know about the importance of hiring for culture fit, but here’s where it really comes into play.

When someone understands a prospective employer’s company values right from the start, they’re less likely to end up confused, disappointed, or overwhelmed by their new position. 

Ongoing support is also crucial. Your new hires are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work when they know who they can go to for help. (They’re also less likely to have an eye on the exit.)

So what’s the cost of ignoring onboarding?

A good onboarding program can reduce new employee turnover, boost employee engagement, clarify responsibilities and expectations, and provide employees with the tools necessary to succeed. 

Without a focused onboarding plan, though, you risk losing new hires before they’ve become valuable contributors. 

Ready to learn how to build your onboarding plan? Head over to part two of the series!


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