Employee Onboarding Process: The 2022 Guide

 

Did you know that 25% of new employees quit their jobs within the first year, and 20% of them actually do it within the first 45 days on the job? The start of a new job is a make or break time for any new hire. Your employee onboarding process tells more than you might anticipate. This is why companies cannot overlook the importance of an effective onboarding for shaping the best new hire experiences.

You might wonder, why a 2022 guide? We will discuss how in 2022, more than ever, companies cannot afford losing capable employees due to a careless onboarding process. Thus, we will start by briefly addressing what is onboarding and the relationship between onboarding and talent retention. Additionally, We will provide our recommendations for how to build an effective and rewarding employee onboarding process in 2022. It is our firm belief that, through effective onboarding, you will get best results at your new job. Additionally, your organisation will be spared from the costs associated with high new hire turnover rates.

When drafting our recommendations, we used the data and insights revealed by our Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021. With answers from 2044 employees, we view it as a competitive advantage to know what employees actually want, what they lack, and what they struggle with. If you would like to get all the insights from the survey, we highly recommend reading our eBook Your Pre & Onboarding Buddy.

And, if you are interested in a more specific implementation of an employee onboarding process, we have tackled the software developer onboarding process on our blog HR. Additionally you can discover the specific elements of a remote onboarding process.

 

What is an Employee Onboarding Process?

 

Onboarding starts on your first day on the job. Whether you walk into the workplace, or you log in for the first time remotely, onboarding starts with your first lived experience as a new employee.

From a formal perspective, an employee onboarding process refers to all the activities and steps that target a key objective: guiding the growth of new hires from mere promising candidates to fully integrated and performing employees. When you start a new job, there is always a period of learning and a steep learning curve. One cannot be expected to simply start working at full capacity from day 1.

Onboarding has multiple facets: social, administrative, training etc. We will not go into further detail here on what does onboarding mean for a job, as we already covered this topic in a separate article. (We do invite you to consult that article on our blog HR).

Employee Onboarding Meaning

Onboarding starts the first day on the job. Whether you walk into the workplace or log in for the first time remotely, onboarding starts with your first lived experience as a new employee.


In 2022 the Need for a Strategic Employee Onboarding Process is Higher than Ever

 

Employers spend a lot of money and time to hire you. Additionally, you will not achieve peak performance from the very start of the employment. So, any new hire turnover bears extremely high costs for employers.

But, experiencing a bad employee onboarding process can make you question your employment relationship. After all, the way your employer prepares for and receives you can be forecasting how they will treat you in the long run.

 

“The Great Resignation” and the Need for Strategic Employee Onboarding Process

 

But why is the need for a strategic onboarding process higher than ever? Well, there are multiple reasons for that. First and foremost, there is a global shortage of talent. The USA alone is currently missing 4.3 million workers, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is coupled with shifting attitudes towards work. In fact, employee willingness to change jobs is higher than ever. Achievers stresses that two-thirds of employees have one foot out the door.  “41% say they will definitely job hunt in 2022, with a further 25% saying they’re undecided about whether to stay in their current role.”

You must have heard it yourself. The “Great Resignation” and “the Great Reshuffle” are key trends characterising workforce mobility in 2022. And the is no sign that this will stop soon. 

This means that a lot of employees will need an employee onboarding process once they land new jobs. Nothing problematic so far. But then, a key factor needs consideration: 90% of new hires decide to stay with their new employer within the first six months on the job. So, there seems to be a clear window in which employers need to convince employees to keep the job and build a career inside the company. 

 

Changing Power Dynamics between Employers and Employees

 

We have conducted interviews with employees who were let down by their employers from day one. They are those employees who leave after poor onboarding experiences. Those employees felt like walking in the dark at the start of a new job. Why would you want to continue working for an employer that is not supporting you?

Employee Onboarding Process Spotlight

My job start was like working with a blindfold, blinded. So, it was hard to get used to it, because there was no real employee onboarding process in place for me.


—Anonymous Naval Architect.

Read experience.

 

There seems to be a new sense of urgency about jobs and companies that provide purpose, belonging and clear support and development. Employees are less willing to put up with companies that are not willing to invest in their well-being and progress. Additionally, employees are seeking out employees whose ethos aligns with their personal values. Gone are the days of the 30 years tenures in the same company. Mobility, flexibility, life-work balance, hybrid work are just a few themes for attitudes and desires towards work post-COVID 19.

A strategic onboarding process lays the foundation for a successful employee lifecycle in your new company. It connects you with the values of your employer. A strategic employee onboarding process will make your employer’s mission your own. It will equip you with the tools for performing in the present, but also provide an outlook into the future.

Employee Onboarding Process Spotlight

In a highly competitive job market, we cannot blame employees for wanting more from their workplaces and their careers. But this must not mean changing jobs.


—Anders Thorup, Pre & Onboarding Specialist at introdus.

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How Does Onboarding Improve Employee Performance and Workforce Retention?

 

Gallup reports that only 12% of employees feel that their company does a good job onboarding new team members. This suggests that the remainder 88% of workers faced lackluster onboarding experiences. This is not very surprising. After all, more than one-third of employers don’t have a thorough, structured employee onboarding process for new hires, reports Business News Daily.

Let’s go back to the ultimate goal of an onboarding process for new employees. It is to ensure that it optimises the time til your full efficiency in the role. A strategic and structured employee onboarding process will de facto set you up for success in your new role.

It is not surprising for us that organisations with a strong Pre & Onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Why is that? How does onboarding improve employee retention?, you might ask.

Employee Onboarding Process Spotlight

Organisations with a strong Pre & Onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.


Brandon Hall Group, The True Cost of a Bad Hire.

Onboarding Is Key to Employee Success

 

Starting a new role in a new company implies learning about the company and its position and objectives on the market. It also implies understanding the role and expectations for performance and success. Additionally, starting a new role requires you to start building the trust and connection within the team, the foundation upon which to start performing and further building a career. Your employee onboarding process has to enable you to achieve all of these goals. You get engaged and confident for a career within this new company. This is how a good onboarding process leads to retaining your talent.

In contrast, feeling ignored, isolated, not supported, blindfolded will lead to a negative first impression. Your initial impressions can lead to prejudiced notions about the organisation. This can cause you to quit as soon as a new opportunity presents itself. There are even some employees that don’t even wait around for a new opportunity to arise and quit right away. Remember, a significant share of new employees quit within 45 days on a new job.

Data collected through the Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021 by introdus.

10 Steps to a Successful HR Onboarding Process

 

The fact that you signed your offer letter does not mean you’ll enjoy a fruitful new employee experience. We probably already made this clear in this very article. As complex as an employee onboarding process can be, it does need to be so daunting. And it is definitely not impossible to get onboarding right.

We have formulated a list of 9 steps that are guaranteed to form the blueprints for a rewarding and effective onboarding process for new employees. You can always improve the employee onboarding process, so

 

Step 1: What Are the Goals of Your Employee Onboarding Process?

 

Before getting into drafting an onboarding plan, it is essential to establish clear onboarding goals. Obviously, the generic goal of an employee onboarding process is employee integration and performance. But knowing this is not enough. How do you define employee integration? What steps do you have to go through until achieving integration? Additionally, what does performance mean? Completing a specific task? Or completing a project from beginning to end? Any onboarding planning has to build on clear goals.

When defining employee onboarding goals, it is important to consider the 4 C’s of Onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

 

Step 2: What Are the Measures for Success?

 

This step is intimately linked to the previous one. Once goals are set, it is crucial to have a mechanism to review and measure their accomplishment. There are multiple onboarding metrics that can provide value and insight over the evolution of the process. As onboarding is a journey rather than a limited series of events over a short time frame, you can expect progressive objectives. As you gain confidence, and you progress towards full productivity, your success metrics will reflect your journey.

 

Step 3: Who is Your Onboarding Team?

 

Onboarding is a cross-functional process, with multiple sub-processes. This means that there might be multiple actors involved in efforts targeting your integration. (This will of course depend on the size of your new employer).

Who will be supporting you in achieving your onboarding goals? Also, who will oversee and support your journey? When there are multiple actors involved, who is responsible for who? In what circumstances should you contact a specific person? You can expect some participants to have a more comprehensive input, while other to be present only at the very beginning. For example, an IT admin will help you set up at the very beginning of your employment. On the other hand, an onboarding buddy can be present for the longer term, until your full integration.

A multi-department onboarding team can provide a richer experience to new hires. An onboarding process onboarding only the HR responsible will never provide a complex palette of experiences.

New Hire Journey

At Apple, I was given all the skills needed to perform and make an impact, not just a bunch of random tools.


—Sean Choi, Senior Strategist at The Martin Agency.

Read experience

Step 4: What, When, Why: Structured and Comprehensive Planning

 

Once all the other steps are completed, drafting an onboarding plan is the next required action. A clean plan will contain your goals, success metrics, stakeholders. Additionally, you will understand the key milestones of your journey. For example, a way of structuring the employee onboarding process is the 30-60-90 day onboarding plan.

It is essential that your plan contains checkpoints for review and a mechanism for improvement. After all, not employees are identical in their needs and preferences. Maybe you need more feedback from your supervisor, or maybe you are OK just with some sporadic 1 on 1 sessions. The key is to find the balance between your needs and the expectations for improvement.

Needless to say, a clear role description should be at the core of onboarding planning. Additionally, a comprehensive onboarding will also have a social dimension. If you would like to know more this, we covered the social benefits of a good onboarding programme in a separate article.

 

Step 5: Preparations Prior to Day 1 on the Job

 

We are firm believers in the power of Preboarding for your new job start. You will find multiple article on the subject on our blog HR. (For an introduction into the subject, we recommend reading our Pre-Onboarding article.)

A preboarding process is the ideal method for preparing prior to the arrival of a new employee in a company. But, if resources are scarce, or time is limited, there are still some small gestures that can make a positive first impression. One of them is sending out communication to announce the arrival of a new employee, as well as a welcome email.

 

Step 6: Training is of Utmost Importance

 

Regardless of the means of delivering the training (in person vs e-learning), new employee training is a crucial part of starting a new job. Training does not have to be limited to role and skill specific learning. Training also refers to compliance, organisational knowledge and various company policies. Even if you are an experienced professional, even a

 

Step 7: Proper Introductions

 

As a new hire, you need to understand the who’s and the how’s of the organisation. There is a very low chance that you will work completely independent, so you need to understand how collaboration would work outside your team. Our own Pre & Onboarding Survey 2021 reveals that employees are not being properly introduced to other departments of the company. Only 19% report being introduced at least briefly to other departments.

But aren’t you and your colleagues across departments working towards accomplishing the same goals?

Another meeting you should have is with the main leader of the organisation. Be it CEO, Regional Manager, VP or whatever their title is, meeting the main leader of your office is extremely meaningful for a new hire. That leader is definitely a busy person, yet, when they take the time to welcome you, even over a coffee break, it showcases a culture of respect and integration. After all, you will also become a contributor to the growth of the company, right? This deserves acknowledgement and encouragement.

 

Step 8: Efforts Targeting Engagement are Never too Early

 

A study published by the American Psychological Association, links employee engagement to finding meaning at work. The engaged employee is: attentive, connected, integrated, and absorbed at work. “Employees who find meaning in their work are more likely to be engaged in their jobs, thereby enhancing their effectiveness and job performance.”

Employee Onboarding Process Spotlight

Engagement can happen organically. But why waste precious time? Why not ensure that you feel an instant connection to your new workplace with strategically designed and effective Pre & Onboarding?


—introdus, “How to Get Engaged Before Day 1 on the Job” eBook.

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Step 9: A Support System throughout the Journey with Onboarding Solutions

 

When dealing with a process as complex and new hire onboarding, a manually drafted checklist will simply not cut it. Employee onboarding solutions came on the market to address the needs of both employees and employers.

An employee onboarding platform, such as introdus, will represet your main point of reference during your onboarding process. You will consult your onboarding metrics, your task progression, your introductory videos and similar multimedia content, onboarding surveys and so on.

 

Step 10: Onboarding and a Future Outlook

 

A study from Gallup quotes professional development as a crucial component for a successful employee onboarding process. “Employees who strongly agree they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5 times more likely to strongly agree that their onboarding process was exceptional.”

Not only is it engaging to discuss your development needs, but it is also reassuring that you can have a long career within that new organisation. This will lead to your employer retaining your talent for the longer term.

Employee Onboarding & Employee Engagement

Companies with high levels of engagement show turnover rates 40% lower than companies with low levels of engagement.


Korn Ferry.

A 2022 Employee Onboarding Process: Concluding Remarks

 

With a structured process that enables, enlightens, and impassions, you can reach your potential as soon as possible. This is why your employee onboarding process is essential for achieving the best possible performance in your new role.

Every employee desires to work in an organisation where they can hit the ground running and contribute in due time to its growth. However, the major hurdle you have to scale through is the employee onboarding process in your new job.

Good employee onboarding solutions should assist and enable all new hires in an exciting new work journey. You can get a dose of motivation to explore the organisational context of your new workplace without a hint of hesitation.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations leveraged virtual onboarding in their bid to comply with the WHO’s rules and regulations in the management of the virus. If you want to gain more insights into what is a virtual employee onboarding process, we invite you to read the dedicated article on our blog.

Furthermore, if we convinced you of the power of good onboarding, we have some complimentary resources, which we think will help. You can read about what makes the best onboarding programme, with some concrete examples, one of them being Google. Additionally, you can read more about the key differences between preboarding vs onboarding.

Enjoy a rewarding employee onboarding process supported by your onboarding plarform.

 

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