First impressions are notoriously hard to shake, so if you're providing new hires with a subpar onboarding experience — essentially your organization's first opportunity to present itself to employees — you may find it hard to recover.

Here, we'll show you all the ways a lackluster onboarding process can hurt your business and outline the steps you can take to avoid them. Ready to get your employee-employer relationships off on the right foot? Let's get started.

break the cycle of turnover 

Employees are job hopping at an increasingly higher rate, and for businesses where turnover is especially high, the associated costs can quickly drain the bottom line. It's easy to see why, given that the projected expense for replacing an employee is 21 percent of their annual salary

So if turnover is a problem at your organization, or you fear it may become one as competition for top talent intensifies across the job market, then improving your onboarding program could help you keep your best employees on staff — and save money as a result. 


the average cost for replacing an employee is 21% of their annual salary.

Why is onboarding so effective at slowing turnover? Because it occurs during the crucial early-employment stage, a particularly sensitive time during which workers form their first impressions of your organization and decide whether or not they'll want to stick around for long. 

For many job seekers, the job search doesn't end on day one of a new job — or day 30 or 60 or 90, for that matter. Almost 33 percent of all new hires begin looking for a different job within the first six months of starting at a new company. So it's critical that employers put their best organizational foot forward during this phase to ensure workers feel comfortable, welcomed and supported in achieving success. 


of new hires look for a new job within the first 6 months of starting their current one.

get the best out of your people

A poor onboarding experience can make workers feel like your organization isn't as invested in them as it could be. When you don't get this important first step of your working relationship off on the right foot, employee engagement suffers. Today, only 34 percent of workers are engaged in their jobs, and while they may not be aware of it, they're hurting their companies' ability to stay productive and profitable at the same time.


only 34% of workers are currently engaged in their jobs.

Highly engaged teams were found to be more productive overall and 21 percent more profitable than teams with low levels of engagement. So by not embracing a better onboarding experience, you could be leaving those big improvements on the table.

Outlining a more organized process that introduces new employees to their duties, coworkers and your corporate culture at a gradual pace will create stronger bonds and engender loyalty and engagement in the end. Simply put, engaged employees are productive employees, and that pattern remains the same no matter how new they are: In fact, businesses with established onboarding procedures enjoyed 50 percent more productivity from their new recruits.


established onboarding processes resulted in 50% greater new-hire productivity for businesses.

how to plan your onboarding program in 3 steps

Less turnover, better engagement, more productivity and profitability — now that you've read about the benefits of onboarding, you're ready to make changes to your program. But where should you start? 

A good portion of the work you'll need to do will occur well before any new hires show up onsite. This is the planning phase, and how well you navigate this process will determine how successful your onboarding program ultimately becomes. Complete these three steps before any new employees show up for their first day.

1. outline the process

This includes accounting for the duration of the process, the information that will be covered and any materials that will be needed. Be sure to reach out to existing employees, too, who will have unique insights into how to make the process more successful, based on their own onboarding experiences with the company.

2. reach out

Make contact with the new employee before their start date. Your correspondence can range from a simple "Welcome aboard!" to outlining all the upcoming steps in the onboarding process. For a more personal touch, set up a lunch or other activity and do this all in person. 

3. alert staff

Let your existing employees know in advance that they'll soon be getting a new team member. You want them to be prepared so they can provide an appropriate welcoming atmosphere for your new recruit on day one.

put your new plan into action

Following these first three steps will get you prepared and put you on the right track to enjoying all the benefits that an organized onboarding program can provide, but in order to execute it properly, you'll need to go deeper.

Our onboarding guide has everything you need to get your new plan across the goal line, including:

  • a step-by-step guide to building your onboarding program
  • advice on how to create an efficient onboarding process
  • how to implement your plan successfully