Why good onboarding leads to better employee retention

A quick summary:

At the heart of every robust recruitment strategy, is an even stronger onboarding process. And that has to be the case if companies are to maintain high levels of employee retention. 💚

Unfortunately, employee turnover plagues companies across all industries. However, people don’t always leave their employers because they loathe their job, or hate their manager.  

In fact, some people simply move on because a new position elsewhere works better for their lifestyle; whether that’s because they’ve relocated, or become parents and want to step back from full-time employment. 

We now understand that turnover isn’t a direct reflection of a business, as there are hundreds of reasons for departing employees. That said, it shouldn’t stop us from looking at how we can improve employee retention. 🤔

Believe it or not, a great onboarding process can support better employee retention, and with 16.45% leaving their job after just the first week, it’s important leaders get it right. 📊

According to one study, great employee onboarding can actually improve employee retention by 82%, and 72% for productivity. What often goes overlooked by leaders is how employee retention is the recipe to success - and that’s exactly what we want to explore in this post.

Below, you’ll find out what makes the perfect employee onboarding process, and why you need to take action right now instead of waiting for people to make a swift exit from your business.

The basis of all employee onboarding 🔎

An employee onboarding process is a set of actions to support a range of objectives. Before you go about refining how to improve employee retention through onboarding, identify which of the following your current process takes into consideration: 

  • Provide account credentials to all platforms, software and applications
  • Introduce new starters to other colleagues and understand their roles
  • Ensure your new team member is clued up on company culture
  • Making sure an employee can carry out their duties and responsibilities
  • Find out if they have all the necessary equipment for their job
  • Motivate and excite your new starter for their new position

It’s likely your onboarding process will incorporate one or more of the above fundamentals, and this is a great starting point. ✅

Onboarding Ideas for better employee retention strategies 🚀

To reinforce the basics and build an onboarding process that supports better employee retention, what else can you do as a manager? 

Have a 30, 60 & 90 Day plan of action 🗓

Every and all employee onboarding strategies should have a plan of action for the first 30, 60 and 90 days of a new starter. 

This three month period allows for employees to immerse themselves in the company culture, understand what’s expected of them, and ultimately become part of the wider team. 💪

It’s an essential time in the onboarding process, and it’s where most of your work to build people into your company happens.  

The emphasis on timeframe also allows you as a manager to set metrics and goals for the progress you make in introducing new starters to the various departments, equipment, processes and more. 

It’s about taking on accountability for both parties and that’s why the 30/60/90 day plan of action is crucial to your onboarding process. 

Regularly check in with new employees 👋

Regularly checking in with new employees is extremely important. Firstly, take a look at the proportion of people who have left a job in the following timeframes, according to Inc. Magazine

🗓 Week one: 16.45%

🗓 Month one: 17.42%

🗓 Month two: 16.77%

🗓 Month three: 17.42%

With such large percentages of people leaving new jobs in the first 90 days, this reinforces the importance of the 90-day action plan. It also shows us just how much managers need to communicate with their new team members. 

By having regular meetings with new employees, managers can get a better idea of what they enjoy, and what they dislike. This act of listening and understanding could be the difference between them joining the 16.45% of first-week leavers or not. 👀

What’s more, this allows new starters to take on more challenging work in their early days of employment, knowing they can call on you for support in your regular meetings. This may sound insignificant, but this level of communication can go a long way for employees.

Your Check-in Checklist 📋

What good would the suggestion of regularly checking in with new starters, without a few ideas and prompts to get you started? 🤔

Remember to use this as a guide, and build a bespoke meeting plan for your new team members. Here are a few points to add to your agenda for new starters:

  1. Project and goals updates 🚀
  • Any challenges overcome and lessons learnt?
  • Are all projects and goals on track to meet deadlines?
  • Raise and discuss new projects for the employee
  • Are they comfortable with the timeframes and milestones set?
  • Are there any areas of projects that require further support?
  • Acknowledge their achievements so far
  1. Learning and development updates 🎓
  • Are there any areas they’d like to develop?
  • Can they explain how it fits into their day-to-day role?
  • Do they feel they are getting enough feedback on their work?
  • Recommend training or learning materials, courses or opportunities
  • Do they feel they are learning in the first week, month and three months?
  1. Team wide and company updates 🎙
  • Have they been introduced to all of the team? 
  • Do they know of any upcoming team events?
  • Discuss any further team updates and news
  • Confirm if they have actioned any items related to the team, i.e introductions

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and there are plenty of other areas to cover in your regular meetings with new employees, but this should give you a strong basis to start from. 🎯

Other areas to consider include recent accomplishments, ideas and requests for change and the plan of action for the following week, month and quarter. 🗓

While these are all minor improvements here and there, you should know that 88% of organisations don’t onboard well at all, which can make all the difference in employee retention. 📈

Maintain high energy in new employees 📊

Last and certainly not least, maintaining high energy levels in new employees is easy. However, after the first couple of weeks and months, employees sometimes begin to feel the weight of their workload, and the stress of increasing deadlines. 

You should, for this reason, try to help employees maintain high levels of energy and excitement. This can generally be achieved in a few different ways. We’ve explored each below:

Praise achievements, even the smallest ones 🏆

We’ve all been there, feeling like our work hasn’t made much of a difference and goes unnoticed. And this is precisely where energy and excitement go to die. Unfortunately, a lack of acknowledgement can spur our boredom and unhappiness at work.

If we’re to spend 14 hours working on a new project, just to see it be criticised or pushed to the side as complete, we’re unlikely going to want to continue working on similar projects. 

Remember, even the smallest of wins are still wins, and they should be treated as such. Always praise the achievements of your team and individuals, regardless of the size of impact or result - it is still something your team have completed and can focus on other result generating projects. 💰

Ooze enthusiasm and energy yourself 💪

If you want your team to remain highly engaged, motivated and energetic with work, you need to ooze these traits yourself. Your team members can’t be expected to bounce around the office in excitement, if you come across as unhappy and uninterested. 

Emotions are contagious, and both positive and negative behaviours can spread like wildfire through people - and this is also the case in an office environment. 

If you’re serious about boosting employee retention strategies and minimising employee turnover, it’s time to get excited and rally your team to believe in themselves! 🙌

Promote healthier lifestyles 🧘‍♀️

Believe it or not, 1 in 5 are unlikely to recommend their new employer to their friends and family - and a poor onboarding process is partly to blame. 👀

The onboarding process of any company needs to be less paperwork and more engaging! That’s why our final point is to promote healthier lifestyles to boost energy levels. 

Unfortunately, the world has plugged itself into technology on a near 24hr basis. People are always on, and struggle to switch off. Whether that’s scrolling through news feeds or refusing to put down a spreadsheet for work. 🔢

Because of this, there’s a growing demand for better mental health and wellbeing incentives and initiatives in the workplace - and being an employee benefits platform, we’re all for this! 

As a manager, you should look to promote healthier lifestyles by informing employees of the importance of taking regular breaks. Along with ensuring people do not feel that they must work over their contracted hours.⏳

Not only will this impact their wellbeing, but it could increase presenteeism in the workplace, as team members begin to experience burnout symptoms. ❌

It’s also worth refining your employee benefits package, not only for the energy boost of new starters but for the wider team. 

If your employee benefits package doesn’t include wellbeing incentives it could be a big issue in retaining new employees; especially considering the rates at which people leave in the first few weeks and months. 

Whether it’s yoga classes, lunch and learns or healthy office snacks, start promoting healthier lifestyles, and you will see employees remain highly engaged and energetic about their work. 

1000s of wellbeing experiences to boost engagement and retention 💚

Here at Heka, we support thousands of employees throughout the UK with a wellbeing focused employee benefits platform. 🏃‍♀️

Whether it’s axe-throwing in the heart of London or plant-based meal deliveries to the northern corners of the UK, there’s something for everyone on Heka, and we take employee wellbeing seriously. 🚴‍♀️

Across 50+ categories our members can book and buy thousands of wellbeing experiences, and we’re on a mission to truly build happier, healthier teams for you. 

If you’d like to speak with our wellbeing experts, book a demo today! 👋