What kind of ‘Oh’ is in your Onboarding? Is it an “Oh, fantastic!” or is it an “Oh Noooo...?”

True Story: It’s Day 1 of Michelle’s new job. She’s arrived 15 minutes early to make the best possible first-day impression.

Two hours later, Michelle is still sitting in reception, waiting for someone to collect her and show her the ropes. She’s busting for the loo. And dying of thirst. She’s beginning to have second thoughts about taking the job...

OK, so Michelle’s first-day experience is not everyone’s but believe me, onboarding misfires like this one happen every day.

If it’s not new starters being left to dehydrate in reception, it’s them being confronted with a Mt. Fuji size mound of paperwork to scale as soon as they arrive at their desk. It's having to hunt down a chair that isn’t broken, or an IT expert who can with logins. It’s the stuff of 'first day on the job' nightmares, and we’ve all been there, right?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That old chestnut still holds. If you truly want to make sure your onboarding isn’t off-putting, then the first thing you need to recognise is that onboarding can take weeks - sometimes months. It should never take only one or two days. And it should start the minute your new hire takes the job.

So now you’re in the hot seat. You’re welcoming the new starters. What kind of impression are you making? Why does it matter? Well, let’s look at the benefits of a solid onboarding program.


An Onboarding program that’s both efficient and welcoming will see:

Productivity up

“Employees whose companies have longer onboarding programs gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in the shortest programs.” – Ultrabound

It’s important to remember that it takes time for new employees to have all of the information, skills, and equipment they need to perform productively. Onboarding delivered purposefully and strategically makes it hard to tell the difference between a new and seasoned hire.

Turnover down

According to The Wynhurst Group, 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. And new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to stay with the organisation for more than three years.

Having a thorough onboarding program helps employees feel valued and prepared for their jobs. It provides a tangible demonstration that the company’s leaders care, and thereby makes it far less likely that employees will be looking for greener pastures within the short term.

Stress levels even

OK, a new job is usually a bit of a stress trigger regardless of what an organisation might do to ease a new hire in, but taking the guesswork and negativity out can help keep stress levels under control - and can even channel all that adrenaline in a positive direction. Proactive onboarding allows new hires to focus on what they can do in their new role rather than what they can't do yet.

Teamwork working like clockwork

Talking about your company's mission and values is a crucial piece of the onboarding pie, but the key to all of this is unlocking the employee’s understanding of their role and how it contributes to the company's big picture. Talking to them about what's expected and how performance is evaluated paves the way towards a positive team dynamic with fewer mistakes and misunderstandings happening down the track.


Onboarding goals and objectives

How does all this sound? Is it time you took onboarding as seriously as hiring?

If the answer is yes, your next step is to start thinking about the goals that are important to your company, and how you can achieve them.

Is your ultimate goal to build a robust team culture? One that's unbreakable and fosters creativity and initiative? Do you want to mentor your employees, instill a sense of belonging and tradition?

Either way, you want to set goals that encourage and nurture retention and productivity.

Take as much time as you need. Get your support network involved and have those critical conversations. Your future recruits will repay you tenfold.