Effective onboarding can save your business – 4 tips to retain new hires

Senior shuffle for Notts cancer detection firm
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Jirsak

Yes, there are many ways to make it in business. But here’s a fact no business owner can ignore: Your employees determine where you’ll be in five years – even where you’ll find yourself next year this time. How adept are you at managing this part of your business?

Working with people has many challenges and the business world is filled with theories about how to get it right—is there one magical answer? No. But if you can at least retain your current workers you’ll have half the battle won.

Read on to find one effective tactic to make that happen.

Why is employee retention important?

Keeping a low ETR (Employee Turnover Rate) is a dynamic KPI for any business with many benefits:

  • You save because you don’t spend time and money on finding new employees.
  • When employees stay you have a chance of growing company culture so they can benefit your values and business goals
  • You’re able to build a strong team where people trust one another; this leads to higher productivity
  • You keep morale high—when someone leaves there will be gossip about his or her reason, with people wondering if they shouldn’t leave too

Now you know this subject needs your urgent attention. But do you realise how important your onboarding is in keeping your ETR low?

ETR & onboarding

Something many business leaders forget is how ETR and onboarding are related. The key to why someone wants to leave today may be related to something you forgot to cover during onboarding. Can you guarantee your current process leads to the following?

  • Helping employees feel at home from the start so they start trusting others
  • Feeling loyal to your brand so they won’t easily leave to work for your competition
  • Understanding your exact expectations in order to be productive and feel valuable

And no, you can’t leave this until later – 20% of employees that leave, leave within the first 45 days. You need a solution NOW.

But that’s a lot that must happen during one process. So, let’s help you get it right from now on.

How to make onboarding work for everyone involved

These practical steps will help you create a foundation with each new employee which won’t only benefit you, but them as well. And when workers experience those benefits, they’ll stick with you.

Understand the values listed below and use the practical tips if you’re not sure how to go about it.

Build community

With a high percentage of people feeling lonely – studies show it can be as high as 40% of adults – it’s vital your work place is seen as a safe, familiar haven. If not, people may leave in search of more inviting work environments. Why sit for eight hours a day feeling isolated?

Your business needs a culture of caring for others and allocating time to allow social interaction is vital. People need to feel they’re surrounded by people who they can trust and who they enjoy spending time with.

Practical tip

Don’t accept your workers will automatically engage with each other. Sit with a new employee and list five people he or she needs to connectwith (one to one) in the upcoming months or year. This includes:

  • Managers
  • Colleagues
  • Clients

It’s the employee’s task to make a plan regarding interaction, but in due time new relationships will start. Tasks can be asking for mentorship, working together on a project or networking with customers.

Day 1 matters

First impressions last no matter what the scenario, and you need to impress your new employee on the first day on the job. Leaving for home after positive experiences will help create expectation for future as well as alleviating some fears:

  • He or she must see you’re a quality employer they can trust
  • They must feel proud to be associated with you
  • Breed identity and belonging

In addition to allocating desks on arrival day, why not try a few of these methods?

Practical tips

From the moment your new team member steps in the door you can manage his or her experience and perception:

  • Have a welcome party ready and give the individual your full attention (at least for a while). You’re confirming their value to the company by setting aside this time, which goes a long way in helping someone feel purposeful. Remember—finding purpose is important to any worker.
  • Be ready with all paperwork that needs to be completed. Also be prepared to add personal information to the hr system, such as HR files, employee details and attendance records such as the ones Advance Systems provides. Once again you’re helping them to feel they belong, but you also communicate the value of professionalism.
  • Assign one other employee to act as mentor for the first day or week. When a familiar face helps them through each information session or process it will be less overwhelming and you’ll see they settle in faster.

Information is key

You may think it’s a good idea to see if a new employee takes initiative, but you may damage the process even before it starts. Providing ample information about the business will help someone be productive faster. They need information about:

Practical tips

Something many companies forget is that they work with company specific acronyms. Have you gone to the trouble of listing and distributing these so a new employee can follow conversations? If not, he or she can quickly feel like an outsider, no matter how hard they try to be part of the team.

Manage expectations

All people are unique and what you view as important may not be what your new employee values. He or she won’t know how to prioritize and what your definition of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ work is if you don’t communicate this.

You also need to help new employees feel excited about their futures at the company.

Practical tips

A clear job description goes a long way in clarifying what needs to be done in your unique setup (not how they’re used to doing it at their previous places of employment).

Also set up goals for the first few weeks and months so they have a sense of accomplishment early on. This will keep them going while they settle in.


You can keep your new employees from heading out the door within those first few weeks. You’ll be doing yourself and them a favour, so get to work on day 1.