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  • Writer's pictureIrina Ketkin

How Great Onboarding Can Benefit Your Bottom Line

The onboarding process is one of the most essential parts of establishing a culture in your workplace. It sets the stage for how employees will work together and interact with each other, as well as their managers and company leaders. When done correctly, it can help new hires feel like part of the team from day one and increase employee engagement. But if done poorly or not at all, this critical first step could leave new employees feeling like outsiders who don't know how to fit in with their new colleagues or department.

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Why is onboarding so important?

When you think about it, onboarding is a pretty simple concept: getting new hires up-to-speed so they're able to hit the ground running. But when you consider that your organization's future success relies on the productivity of these new hires, it becomes clear that a proper onboarding program is critical to your success as an employer.

Onboarding makes sure new employees have all the knowledge and resources they need to be productive as soon as possible—and this helps them feel like they're part of the team from day one!

It's also important in helping employees feel engaged with their jobs because it helps them understand what their roles will entail, which in turn leads to higher levels of motivation (and therefore engagement).

Some other noteworthy benefits include (but are not limited to):

  • Reduced employee turnover

  • Increased productivity

  • Enhanced company reputation

  • Streamlined communication and collaboration

  • Faster time-to-competence

  • Strengthened employer brand.

Let's take a look at each of these benefits and discover some ways in which L&D can contribute.

Increased employee engagement

By definition, engaged employees are more invested in their work and the success of the organization. They feel connected to the company's goals and values and are motivated to contribute their best efforts.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Incorporate interactive and hands-on learning activities during the onboarding process.

  • Facilitate as many opportunities as possible for new hires to connect with their colleagues and demonstrate how company values look in the real world.

  • Regularly gather feedback from new employees and use it to enhance the onboarding experience.

Improved motivation

Motivated employees are more likely to show initiative, take on challenges, and strive for continuous improvement. They are driven by a sense of purpose and a belief in their ability to make a positive impact.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Clearly communicate the company's mission, vision, and values during the onboarding process. Use examples and stories to illustrate those.

  • Set clear expectations for the new hires' roles and provide them with meaningful goals and objectives.

  • Recognize and celebrate early achievements to reinforce a sense of accomplishment and belonging. Why not give them a badge, some reward points, or company swag for achieving various milestones?

Reduced employee turnover

Turnover can be quite expensive! Just put together the hiring costs, training and onboarding, and cost of the unfulfilled role - you may end up with a number 1.x5 to 2 times the employee's original salary! Lower employee turnover rates lead to reduced recruitment and training costs, more experienced and knowledgeable teams, and stronger company culture.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Implement a well-rounded onboarding program that addresses both company-wide and role-specific information.

  • Provide ongoing support, feedback, and development opportunities for new hires.

  • Foster a welcoming and inclusive work environment that encourages open communication and feedback.

  • Offer flexible onboarding environment that is as close to their real working environment as possible.

  • Promote all career opportunities available to all employees.

Increased productivity

This is a big one! Productive employees efficiently contribute to the company's goals, resulting in higher profitability and growth.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Ensure new hires receive thorough training on their job responsibilities, tools, and systems. This can be done by L&D, a dedicated trainer, the new hire's manager or a buddy.

  • Encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing among new hires and their team members.

  • Implement performance-tracking and goal-setting systems to help employees monitor their progress and stay focused. Remember to celebrate all successes!

Enhanced company reputation

Publilius Syrus said, "A good reputation is more valuable than money". A positive company reputation attracts top talent, clients, and investors, and fosters a competitive edge in the industry. Moreover, positive word-of-mouth and online reviews from satisfied employees can boost a company's reputation, making it more appealing to potential candidates, clients, and partners.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Develop an onboarding program that reflects the company's culture and values. Make sure that everything you do presents the company in an authentic manner - anything less and it will show.

  • Encourage new hires to be brand ambassadors by sharing their experiences on social media and through networking.

  • Regularly gather feedback and testimonials from employees to highlight the strengths of the organization.

  • Encourage a culture of open communication and transparency, allowing employees to voice their opinions and provide feedback.

  • Address any concerns or issues raised by employees in a timely and constructive manner.

Streamlined communication and collaboration

If you want your organization to thrive, it's essential to have clear and streamlined communication channels in place and ensure everyone is collaborating effectively. By doing so, you'll be able to avoid misunderstandings, stay on the same page, and ultimately work more efficiently towards your shared goals. Effective communication and collaboration promote a more cohesive and efficient work environment, leading to reduced operational costs and increased revenue.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Introduce new hires to the company's communication and collaboration tools during the onboarding process.

  • Organize cross-functional projects or workshops to foster teamwork and understanding among different departments.

  • Offer (additional) training on effective communication and collaboration skills.

Faster time-to-competence

Time-to-competence refers to how quickly a new employee can become fully productive in their role. Shorter time-to-competence translates to a faster return on investment in employee training.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Implement a structured onboarding program with clear learning objectives and timelines.

  • Provide new hires with access to resources and support systems, such as mentors or coaches.

  • Continuously evaluate and refine the onboarding process based on feedback and performance metrics. Consider what can stay and what can go to reduce the time-to-competence.

Strengthened employer brand

Employer brand refers to the way in which a company presents itself to job seekers, employees, and other stakeholders as an employer. A strong employer brand differentiates an organization from its competitors, making it more attractive to top talent and fostering a more competitive edge in the industry.

Recommendations for L&D practitioners:

  • Understand what is the compelling employee value proposition (EVP is a set of unique offerings, benefits, and rewards that an employer promises to provide to its employees in exchange for their skills, abilities, and contributions to the organization) and communicate it during the onboarding process.

  • Integrate the employer branding into all onboarding materials (i.e., presentations, videos, swag, or brochures)

  • Encourage feedback and regularly assess and address employee satisfaction and engagement levels to ensure a positive employer brand image.

  • Emphasize the company's commitment to employee development and growth by providing a good overview of all career paths available to all employees.

The role of L&D in the onboarding process

Different organizations may have different views on who owns the onboarding process. For some that may be Learning & Development, while for others, it is an HR's responsibility. Either way, it is important that L&D plays a part in the design and delivery of the program, as they can help elevate the learning experience for the new starter.

Here are some things L&D can do to support the onboarding efforts:

  • Help with designing an effective onboarding program by providing insights into adult learning principles, onboarding best practices, organizational culture, and employee needs.

  • Provide training content related to the tasks new employees need to complete during their first few days on the job.

  • Evaluate whether or not the onboarding program is meeting its goals (i.e., by setting onboarding goals and milestones, metrics, and then by designing and implementing surveys, etc.). If there are areas where performance can be improved, offer suggestions for how they might do so without diminishing any other parts of their workflows.

The onboarding process is truly the foundation of a successful work culture. It shapes how employees interact, collaborate, and contribute to the organization's success. By crafting an effective onboarding program, you can help new hires feel like part of the team from day one, boost engagement, and ultimately, benefit your bottom line.

Remember, the onboarding experience is a critical first impression for new employees. It's essential to get it right to ensure they feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to make a positive impact in their new roles. By investing in a comprehensive and thoughtful onboarding program, you're setting your organization and your new employees up for long-term success. Cheers to building a thriving workplace culture together!


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