Drive Employee Engagement From the Onset: Best Practices for Onboarding

Drive Employee Engagement From the Onset: Best Practices for Onboarding


Businesses with highly engaged workforces experience 17% more productivity and 21% more profitability than others. Keeping your workers engaged also promotes less churn, better loyalty, and an enhanced company culture. And one of the most critical factors in shaping employee engagement is your onboarding process. 

The way you onboard will set the tone for your relationship with new employees. A seamless, meaningful, and efficient experience means new workers will step into their positions with optimism and confidence. Conversely, lackluster onboarding can leave workers questioning why they took the job in the first place. It may even increase the risk of churn within the first few months of employment. 

The following guide will help you pick up some practical tips for creating a streamlined onboarding process that your new hires absolutely love.

Understanding the Onboarding Process

Though you’ve already met your new hire during the interview process, you likely haven’t gotten to know each other in detail just yet. Onboarding, therefore, represents your chance to orient workers to your company’s cultures, policies, and expectations, making it one of the most important stages in the relationship between your company and its new employees. Effective onboarding helps your new hires acclimate quickly, understand their role, and become productive members of the team.

The Common Pitfalls of Ineffective Onboarding

Before shifting our attention to some best practices for bringing your new hires into the fold, it’s important to highlight what can (and often does) go wrong during the onboarding process. 

One of the biggest issues involves a lack of structure, which can be particularly detrimental if you have a lengthier initiation process. Most new workers are eager to step into their positions, which means they don’t want to endure a process that they view as wasteful or unproductive.

Onboarding processes that offer insufficient training are at the opposite end of the spectrum. These experiences rush workers through the initiation process, leaving them feeling unprepared when they step into their roles. 

A bad onboarding process doesn’t just delay an employee’s path to productivity, though. If your business gets off to a rocky start with its new workers, there’s an increased risk of churn. Roughly one out of five new hires will quit within 45 days if your onboarding process is inefficient.

You’ll need to take a balanced approach to overcome these challenges. That means choosing the right length for your training and educational processes to ensure that your new hires’ time is respected and that they are adequately prepared for the responsibilities in their role ahead. 

Best Practices for Enhancing Employee Engagement Through Onboarding

If you want to get better at finding, hiring, and retaining top talent, you’ll need to retool your onboarding process. Our roadmap for doing so includes the following best practices:

Crafting a Comprehensive Onboarding Program

It’s important to communicate your company’s expectations and goals to new hires from the outset of your relationship. Providing clarity from day one helps employees understand their roles and how their work contributes to the organization’s success. 

Additionally, you must strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Introduce new hires to existing workers, take them on a tour of the workspace, and provide necessary resources to expedite the integration process. A warm welcome can make new employees feel as though they are already a valued part of the team.

These steps require a good onboarding program, which itself requires a sound foundation. Onboard by HireRoad can lay the groundwork for a seamless inauguration into company culture while helping get new hires up to speed fast. As a scalable, customizable platform, Onboard makes it easy to align your processes with company goals and worker needs.

Building a Strong Company Culture

A great onboarding process is a solid first step toward better engagement. But it’s only half of the equation. You need to establish a robust company culture that workers want to be a part of. Embed your company’s values and mission into the onboarding process so new employees can understand and align with the organization’s core principles right off the bat. 

Alongside that, encourage collaboration from day one. Consider adding team-building activities into the onboarding experience, for instance, to help your incoming workers build relationships and integrate into the team more effectively. 

Furthermore, let everyone know that the company and its leadership team welcome open communication and feedback. New hires should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and asking questions. And that kind of synergy ultimately helps foster a sense of purpose and belonging. 

Leveraging Technology and Data-Driven Insights

In today’s age of hybrid or fully remote workforces, it can be difficult to build and communicate a company culture to engage your new hires. Using bespoke onboarding technology like Onboard by HireRoad ensures that your company brand is coming through the onboarding experience, and that your remote employees are set up for success in a virtual setting.

Because the onboarding stage connects the dots between recruitment efforts and talent management, it’s a critical piece of the puzzle when looking at your people data to understand what’s working when it comes to employee engagement, performance, and retention. People analytics software can connect the dots between these disparate data sets to paint a picture of your new hires’ effectiveness during their first year and the contributing factors, helping you extract insights like:

  • How to delineate onboarding efforts vs. quality of hire when it comes to 90-day effectiveness
  • How onboarding plays a role in manager effectiveness
  • What impact a structured onboarding process has on employee engagement and employee churn in the first 6 months

Leveraging technology for your organization’s onboarding process also allows you to track completions and engagement in real-time, and make targeted improvements that enhance the new hire experience.

The Benefits of Effective Onboarding

Immersing your new team members in company culture from the onset yields a wide range of benefits, such as:

Increased Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

A well-structured onboarding program will help new employees feel connected to your business. They’ll experience boosted engagement and higher job satisfaction, which can create far-reaching benefits for both the company at large and its customers. Workers who believe in what they are doing and its overall importance to the organization are going to provide a better experience while ensuring you get the help you need.

Improved Retention Rates and Reduced Turnover Costs

Effective onboarding reduces the likelihood of new hires leaving your business prematurely. In turn, that decreases turnover costs and helps you break the hire-train-quit cycle that tanks the profitability of so many companies. Businesses spend an average of $4,700 to connect with and onboard just one worker. Depending on the role you are hiring for, your costs might be even higher. 

Getting yourself out of the turnover cycle will also have a positive impact on your current team members. They will enjoy fewer shortages and a greater sense of continuity, which can help them reach their full potential and contribute to the company’s big-picture goals.

Fostering a Productive and Positive Workplace Environment

Onboarding sets the tone for a positive workplace culture. If your team members start their journey feeling supported and valued, it creates a ripple effect that enhances overall workplace morale and productivity. Similarly, standardizing the ways in which you recruit, hire, and train new workers will have a drastic impact on productivity and sentiments toward the work environment.

According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations with structured onboarding processes enjoy 50% greater new hire retention and 62% better productivity among recently hired workers.

Engage Workers From Day One With Onboard by HireRoad

Don’t let bad onboarding erode the potential of a promising recruiting class. Develop effective processes and immerse new talent into your company culture to increase productivity, retention, and morale. 

You can make technology the center of your onboarding solution by adopting Onboard by HireRoad . It directly integrates into people analytics solutions like PeopleInsight and eliminates the barriers between recruiting, HR, and employee experience optimization. 

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Schedule a demo of Onboard and PeopleInsight to experience the power of people analytics for yourself.