Onboarding: The Key to Long-Term Employee Success

By James Clifton and first appearing on Website Magazine

You might have just hired the most qualified candidate for your organization, but you’ll have trouble keeping them if you don’t have a proper onboarding process. Even offering the best benefits and the most competitive salary won’t make your employee stick around if you don’t properly introduce them to the company.

While your gut reaction might be that the job itself drove them away, it could just as easily be that your onboarding process isn’t conducive to creating an environment where your new employee can feel comfortable in their position.

If you want to create a seamless transition for new employees starting at your company, the first step is creating a good onboarding process.

What is onboarding exactly?

Onboarding is the process of introducing an employee to workplace culture, performance-based goals and the administrative side of the business.

Commonly misconstrued, the process does not involve introducing the employee to their colleagues, telling them what is expected, and then immediately taking a step back and leaving them to their own devices. The process of onboarding takes a few months, not a few days.

Why is onboarding important?

Studies have shown that starting a new job can be one of the more stressful events in life– it’s one of the 43 major stress events on the Holmes and Rahe Stress scale. Considering the strong likelihood that your new employee is already stressed out, your job as an employer is to ease this stress while simultaneously turning them into an engaged employee.

A good onboarding procedure impacts employee retention, satisfaction and performance. If you don’t follow a proper onboarding procedure, your new employee will question their place in the organization and may not make it through the orientation process.

Steps to onboard properly


How should you go about onboarding correctly? Primarily, it has to be a highly organized process. Consider things like whether or not the new employee will need a phone, a laptop or an access code to the building. It helps to have all these things ready before the new employee starts.

Use the Buddy-System 

Next is introducing the employee to their colleagues. Appoint a go-to person, ideally someone who embodies your organization’s values. This person will be responsible for making the new employee’s introduction to the workplace culture a lot smoother. It’s also good for the boss or CEO to welcome them, reassuring them from the beginning that they’ll be a valuable member of the team.

Use an LMS

When the training begins, make sure that you have all the necessary tools to make this process smooth. A learning management system (LMS) is really beneficial for this process, as long as you continue to provide personal interaction as well. Wait a few days before you put them in-front of a computer for the entire day.

Set goals

It’s important to set some goals for your new employee. Proper onboarding should last longer than a week, so set goals at 30, 60 and 90 days. Make sure that they complete these goals, and hold them accountable for some of their own onboarding. The goals can be learning-based or performance-based, but ensure that the company’s HR managers are willing to conduct regular checkups and provide feedback where necessary.


The last step in the onboarding process is follow-up. Ask the new employee about the process, and find out what they think could be improved. Pose these same questions after three months, six months and a year. Based on the feedback they give you, make the necessary changes to ensure that the onboarding process is beneficial in the long term for future newcomers, and for the future success of your company.

Keep in mind that if your new employees don’t seem to be settling into their new positions, it could just as easily be an improper onboarding process as much as it could be their hesitations about the job.

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