People Management
4 min.

Onboarding: The Best Employee Retention Tool

Véronique Forest
Last updated on 22 Dec. 2023
Published on 11 Jan. 2022
Employee looking happily at the horizon in front of a checklist

Onboarding is a key step in the integration process—and it makes a big difference when it comes to employee retention.

Table of contents

Onboarding is the process of welcoming new employees and integrating them into the team. This includes all the steps from their arrival to full integration into the team a few weeks or months later.

According to a survey by Glassdoor, onboarding can improve a company’s retention rate by 82% when done right. First impressions are crucial—in fact, employees who have a bad initial experience will be twice as likely to start looking for another job from day one.

Successful onboarding will allow the employee to flourish in their new role and stimulate their motivation and their engagement to their team and employer from the moment they arrive on the job.

The Benefits of a Good Onboarding Process

A well-prepared onboarding process offers several benefits, both for the employees and for the company itself.

A well-structured onboarding lowers stress for new employees. As a result, they will be able to integrate more quickly into the team and develop relationships with their colleagues and managers.

Proper integration can also greatly facilitate employees’ learning since they will be better supported. With the assistance of a well-organized team, they will more quickly get comfortable in their new role and responsibilities—and therefore require much less time to get up to speed.

In sum, onboarding helps build a solid employee experience and a strong employer brand. Given that 45% of resignations occur within the first year of employment, it’s easy to see the critical role of onboarding and integration.

Putting People First

The world of work has changed dramatically in recent years, and labor shortages are a serious issue. New generations entering the workforce are looking for employers who prioritize their well-being.

For too long, employees were treated as expendable commodities. However, the tide has turned. Employees no longer want to be seen as just a number, and employers who still view them this way are paying the price, from high turnover rates to the need to constantly search for new employees to mass resignations and more.

This is where a solid onboarding process can make a difference.

Onboarding a new employee is the perfect opportunity to start building a strong relationship with them from the get-go. Take the time to get to know your new employees better, so they feel like more than just a number. It’s worth taking a few minutes to ask them questions about themselves to break the ice. Some staff management software even offers to do this automatically when a new employee is hired.

Also feel free to send a personalized welcome message to new employees!

It’s also important for new recruits to integrate quickly with the rest of the team. To help this process along, organize a team-building activity to promote cohesion and optimize teamwork.

The Key Is Planning

More concretely, the ultimate trick to successful onboarding is to be organized. This critical step in the hiring process should not be left to chance. Instead, each organization should standardize its onboarding process so that no step is forgotten or left aside.

Companies should go even further and systematically implement onboarding best practices.

One way to do this is to lighten the first day or even the first week of work for new employees. This will allow them to assimilate all the information gradually rather than get exhausted or overwhelmed.

This is why, at Agendrix, new employees always start on Tuesdays. And we always plan a team lunch at the restaurant on the first day of work. This lets everyone get to know one another better in a more supportive environment.

You can also pair up a new employee with a mentor or resource person. If they have questions, they will know where to turn.

An Onboarding Checklist So You Don’t Forget Anything

Regardless of the position an employee will be holding, there are a number of tasks that must always be completed during onboarding: getting access codes, preparing work materials, planning training, etc.

Preparing for a new employee’s arrival

  • Draw up the employment contract and have it signed;
  • Set up new physical and computer access;
  • Prepare work materials;
  • Announce the arrival to the rest of the team;
  • Designate a resource person;
  • Prepare the schedule for the employee’s first day;
  • Plan the necessary training; and
  • Send the new employee an email explaining what their first day will look like.

On the first day and the following days

  • Announce the new employee’s arrival by email or via the company’s internal messaging system;
  • Show the employee around the workplace;
  • Introduce the company, including its history, hierarchy, team members, corporate culture, etc.;
  • Introduce the recruit to their colleagues;
  • Introduce the new employee to their mentor;
  • Share a “welcome aboard” meal; and
  • Introduce the training plan.

In the months that follow

  • Plan a follow-up one or a few weeks after the first day;
  • Organize a team-building activity;
  • Schedule a meeting at the end of their probationary period; and
  • Schedule a meeting to give feedback after 6 months.

The Onboarding Process Done Right

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of the onboarding process, it’s up to you to update your ways of doing things.

Take a critical step back from your onboarding and integration process to get a better sense of what you can do to improve it. Better yet, ask your employees for suggestions.

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