9min

Written on September 13, 2022

Recruiting and retaining top talent starts with great onboarding 

Recruiting and retaining top talent starts with great onboarding 

Today, most companies understand that onboarding plays an epic role in building and sustaining a high-performing workforce. However, other crucial activities, such as hiring efforts and retaining employees, are often prioritized. Solely investing in hiring strategies does not protect your company from its top talent leaving. Why is that? A bad retention rate is often the consequence of poor processes. And the foundational process of any company begins with onboarding. Onboarding activities not only overlap with sourcing talent and retaining them — they also work hand in hand with each other. 

In other words, good onboarding leads to employees sticking around longer and spreading the word about the great employer they work for (which makes recruitment even easier). Onboarding is a worthwhile investment. We say use it to your advantage. 

How (good) onboarding increases employee retention 

As Forbes puts it, employee turnover can kill a business. When you consider that replacing an employee costs about 33% of their annual salary, this statement is far from dramatic. The good news? 75% of turnover is preventable, and we think onboarding is (likely) the answer. 

First impressions matter 

Onboarding sets the tone for the environment that your new employees join. Bad onboarding gives the impression of a disorganized culture that doesn’t prioritize welcoming new hires. Good onboarding highlights a structured, thoughtful organization that cares about them and that anyone would be excited to work for.  

Want to wow your new recruits? Read how 4 major companies nailed the onboarding experience to their (and their employees) benefit. 

A butterfly effect of positive repercussions 

When employees fall in love with the company they work for, everything else follows. Great onboarding experiences get new hires excited, keep them motivated and focused, and help them integrate the work culture. This not only helps them achieve optimal productivity faster, it also develops stronger feelings of loyalty and commitment to do good work. 

Great onboarding also boosts recruitment efforts 

Retention aside, you can make onboarding work in your favor for recruitment objectives too. How is that possible? Because great onboarding increases your overall employer brand (i.e. reputation) and people want to work for great employer brands.  

Sure, investing in onboarding helps retain your employees. That said, some may still leave. There are many reasons for that to happen, and some might not be personal at all. That doesn’t mean that the positive effects of onboarding stop there.  

Ex-employees who have had great onboarding experiences, who have felt a positive connection to their job, are more likely to leave positive reviews of their time at your company for others to see. They might refer their friends to new job openings you advertise … and even apply to come back and work for you years down the line. 

You can kill two birds (or three, or four!) with one stone, now or in the future, thanks to a solid onboarding strategy. 

Why it matters to align onboarding experiences to the overall employee journey 

We previously highlighted the importance of designing onboarding experiences to be integrative, comprehensive, intentional and human. That’s because onboarding experiences follow and shape the overall employee journey —  both need to work hand in hand. 

From the very first impression, throughout the entire employee journey, and even in the context of reboarding, crossboarding and offboarding scenarios, investing in solid onboarding has its advantages. 

Onboarding: Key at each step of the employee journey

Some examples of how thoughtful onboarding can benefit different stages of the employee life cycle: 

  • Before being hired: Thanks to a former employee’s positive onboarding experience, a new hire prospect read a good review of your company and applied immediately. 
  • Before the first day: HR managers and others involved in the onboarding of upcoming new hires quickly and efficiently design onboarding activities and get ready because great onboarding is one that is planned ahead. 
  • On the first day: Your new hire immediately engages in the steps to get set up and familiarized with company processes because onboarding covers this. 
     
  • Throughout their employment: Great onboarding sets up employees for success because it encourages teamwork, includes touch points for feedback, offers opportunities for improvement, and feeds belongingness.  
     
  • During and after departures: Leaving a job can still be a positive experience, as ending things on a good note can be as memorable as a first impression. Former employees will continue to advocate for your company if they had a great experience while they were there. 

Ambassadorship as a true marker of spectacular onboarding 

It’s great to read good things being said about your company, isn’t it? Glassdoor, LinkedIn recommendations, and social media platforms can be chock-full of rave reviews. But company ambassadors bring more value than just flattering your ego. 
 

Remember: Social proof is the most valuable advertisement there is. This is no different for employer brands.

📊 Statistics show that prospective candidates would trust your employees and former employees 3X more than your company itself to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there.

Putting efforts to turn your employees, current and former, into your ambassadors is not something to snooze on! 

Cost-saving: How onboarding can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars… and more

We all know this: losing an employee is expensive. And often, we think of this in terms of hard costs, including the:  

Paid time of HR staff

Administrative processing of an employee’s departure

Cost of paid ads

Advertising and recruitment of finding a replacement

Paid time of hiring managers 

Interviewing and testing of candidates

Paid time of training managers and new hires 

Orientation and training of new hires

But the true cost of losing an employee goes beyond the dollar. Because losing an employee isn’t just about losing the individual itself. The loss of an employee can put your business’s morale, productivity, and performance at risk. 

Sometimes, these soft costs are harder to see. They are however very real. And very costly. Think about how turnover can affect your employees that remain:  

  • Lower productivity because morale is affected from losing a work friend  
  • Lower efficiency of who covers their responsibilities until a replacement is found 
  • Lowered loyalty as turnover can damage a company’s reputation in their eyes 

Investing in onboarding: A proven ROI for retention 

Turnover losses can be calculated. What about retention gains? And what about retention gains linked to onboarding investments? The numbers speak for themselves. 

69% of employee are more likely to stay

with a company for at least 3 years when receiving a positive onboarding experience

54% productivity increase for new hires

who receive a structure onboarding experience

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to invest in better onboarding. The importance is to start somewhere, and we’ve got pre-designed templates and dynamic features to get you started. Get your free Softstart trial underway now!

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