One word that is often used to describe today’s workforce is “mobile”. Though it does have the potential for positive implications, for most CEOs and HR professionals it is simply a politically correct way of saying “undecided people who change jobs before they even figure out what they are about.”

As it turns out, one of the main concerns leaders face has to do with employee retention. However, this active preoccupation is yet to be reflected in actual company policies.

It’s a common mistake to think that turnover rates can be decreased by focusing on benefit packages and exit interviews. One fifth of employees who leave the organization, do so in the first month and a half. That time period is too short for them to grow demotivated by the remuneration or to get enough experience to provide useful insight into the real issues with the job roles.

3 Ways in which onboarding is key to employee retention

Companies that truly seeking to keep employees should spend more time and focus on the onboarding process.

  1. Show them the organizational ropes

    The first and most common part of onboarding is giving new hires the information they need to function: from using their key card to enter the building to parking facilities, health and safety details or how to enroll for company offered discounts or benefits.

    As a corporate trainer I have facilitated my fair share of induction days and I can say in all honesty that there is no such thing as too much or too specific information. Assuming that people will figure out things because they are ‘easy’ or ‘common sense’ is wrong .We all have different previous experiences and various expectations.

    I had a new employee ask me at one point how many exits per day he had on his card before the door to the office floor wouldn’t open anymore – he was worried that if he took too many breaks he would be locked out.

    The organizational jargon should also be explained in an easy to access glossary otherwise there will surely arise some rather big confusions.

  2. Clarify goals and expectations

    Just because someone is hired on account of a good CV and previous work experience that qualifies them for the job, it doesn’t mean that they will immediately fit in the organization and start functioning flawlessly.

    Even experts can become rather insecure when confronted with a new environment. Furthermore, they may sometimes feel that things were done in a better way by their previous employer and fail to comply with the policies of the organization, thus delivering poor results as well as making it hard for their colleagues.

    In order to avoid this, it is best to have a clear communication from day one. Provide your new hire with a thoroughly drafted job description that includes well-defined accountabilities, the hierarchy and all other aspects that the new employee should be aware of and abide by. They should be clear on what their level of autonomy is.

    In order to avoid a feeling of coercion, scheduling weekly one on ones and coaching sessions is advisable.


    Read more: The most important things to consider when onboarding new managers


  3. Encourage the sense of community

    A worrying current is on the rise – workplace loneliness. People spend long hours at the office among peers that they fail to connect to in a real way and it is affecting both business results and their personal well being. New hires feel this isolation even more acutely and it’s a big reason for their quitting early on.


    Read more: Considering mindfulness training for increased employee productivity


    Building office relationships during their first year can help new hires feel less alone and boost their confidence. It’s a good idea for a new employee, together with the team-leader or manager to identify a handful of people – peers, superiors, internal customers who have some contribution or some level of bearing on their success.

    Plans of connection with each of these stakeholders should be made for the first few months following employment. They don’t need to be very formal; a friendly cup of coffee or a lunch meeting can go a long way by means of gaining understanding and some guidance.

    In addition to this, building a good work climate between teammates is paramount in being able to properly welcome and integrate new hires.

Onboarding is key to employee retention

Onboarding is not a process that stops after the first day or even the first month in a new job. Some companies have understood this and continue with it even after the first year, smoothly making the transition to career development. Organizations need to take a hard look at the way they are approaching new hire integration and adapt to the needs of today’s employees.

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