Employee Onboarding: Tips on how to create a great experience


A great onboarding process is a must to get new employees comfortable with their new work environment, be productive quickly and prepare them for a career at an organization. Unfortunately, most companies are failing to offer a great first experience.

According to a Gallup study, only 12 percent of employees think their employers do a great job onboarding new employees. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that employee turnover can be as much as 50 percent in the first 18 months of employment.


With costs of replacing an employee ranging from 90% to 200% the employee's annual salary, a poor onboarding of employees can have a detrimental effect on a company's performance and bottom line.


In this blog, we provide some tips on how to evolve your new employee onboarding process so that you are offering a great experience and setting the foundation for a long employee-employer relationship.


Having a great onboarding setup can improve employee retention by 82 percent and their productivity by 70 percent. (Glassdoor)


Onboarding Definition

The term "onboarding" refers to the procedure of introducing a new employee to their role, organization, and colleagues. Also known as organizational socialization, it is a crucial element of assisting employees in setting them up for success by providing them essential information and skills.


Having a great onboarding setup is also a key component for a successful employee-employer relationship. It can improve employee retention by 82 percent and their productivity by 70 percent.

Failure to create a good first impression can have expensive consequences. BambooHR, a HR software provider, surveyed new hires who left a job shortly after their first day. They found that:

  • 23% wanted to “receive clear guidelines to what responsibilities",

  • 17% said “a friendly smile or helpful coworker would have made all the difference” and

  • 21% wanted “more effective training".


Proper employee onboarding and training requires thought, planning and effort. A good onboarding program requires input from teams across an organization and expert design. Additional considerations should be given when onboarding employees remotely since they don’t have the benefit of being collocated with their teams.


When the manager takes an active role in onboarding, team members are 3.4 times as likely to feel like their onboarding process was successful. (Gallup)


New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Different organizations approach onboarding new hires differently. Here is a checklist with activities to include in your onboarding program:


Phase 1 - Before a new employee starts

  1. Appoint a dedicated onboarding liaison who will proactively reach out and answer any questions that the new employee may have

  2. Order and setup technology, like computers, phone, email account and login access

  3. Send an employee onboarding kit or host a virtual lunch before the employee starts

  4. Define where the new employee’s workstation will be, if they are going to be working in an office

  5. Order security cards and keys, if they are going to be working in an office

  6. Prepare an onboarding welcome kit for new employees. The kit should include a welcome letter, agenda for the first day, branded swag, basic facts about the office and company, their copy of their employment contract, terms and conditions of employment, confidentiality agreements, emergency contacts, employee handbook, benefits documents, current policies and procedures, performance standards and expectations, training expectations, organizational chart or employee directory, information about tools and login access, and their new business cards

  7. If the employee is going to be working remotely, ship their laptop, headphones, webcam, external microphones and any other equipment they may need, to their home.


Phase 2- The first day on the job

  1. Greet new employees when they arrive or schedule a virtual meet-and-greet

  2. Introduce the new employee to the organization and key team members (either in-person or virtually)

  3. If the new hire is going to work in the office, organize a work tour, including entrances, restrooms, kitchen, common rooms, and their workstation

  4. Review the employee handbook, important policies and procedures, and compliance and security materials

  5. Discuss organizational culture, mission statements, core values and goals

  6. Introduce the new employee to their onboarding buddy

  7. Ensure that they can log in to their laptop and all equipment is working properly

  8. Instruct the new employee about security and fire measures, if they are going to be working in the office

  9. Arrange a meeting with the employee’s supervisor

  10. Set up a welcome lunch or a virtual get-together with the new employee and their team

  11. Schedule a one-to-one meeting at the end of the day


69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. (SHRM)


Phase 3 – The first week on the job

  1. Check that the employee has met with the department head, their mentor and other key people to their role

  2. Check that the employee has met with team members in a casual environment (like lunch or virtual team bonding session)

  3. Ensure that short term goals have been set

  4. Check that all equipment and software needs are met

  5. Plan additional training if needed

  6. Organize and invite the new employee to participate in team-building activities

  7. Add a new employee to the birthdays’ list to not miss it

  8. Set a one-to-one meeting with the employee at the end of the month

  9. Send an employee onboarding survey to get a sense of how the employee is feeling about the onboarding process and use the feedback to update your employee onboarding template


Phase 4 – The first four to eight weeks on the job

  1. Teach the new employee about their day-to-day job duties and any information they need for long-term success

  2. Review and document performance expectations

  3. Provide technical, process and safety training

  4. Give them access to the company intranet so they can find information that they need

  5. Assign a mentor to help new employees again a solid understanding of their position and integrate into the culture of the organization

  6. Set a meeting with the department head about the employee’s progress

  7. Check how the employee is feeling about their new role


Phase 5 - After four to eight weeks

  1. Perform a competency assessment to gauge the employee’s strengths and weaknesses

  2. Create training plans for continued career and personal growth so that both the individual and organization can reach their goals and achieve success


33 percent of new hires start looking for a new job 6 months after they get hired and 23 percent of them don't last an entire year. (HCI)


Cost of Onboarding New Employees

Costs related to onboarding new employees process can vary depending on the company size, the seniority of the new employee, the industry and much more.


According to a report by SHRM, the average cost to onboard a new employee is $4,125. ATD estimates it costs $1,252 for managers to train their employees, while onboarding paperwork is said to take up 10 hours of HR’s time. When calculating cost of onboarding new employees consider the following costs:


Phase 1 – Before an employee starts

  • Time for HR to create necessary paperwork

  • Time for IT prepare to prepare equipment, such as laptops, phones and home working set up

  • Time for IT and administrators to setup digital tools

Phase 2 – The first day

  • Time for meetings with HR, supervisor and team members

  • Material costs for welcome packs

Phase 3 – The first month

  • Time to meet with employee for HR check-ins

  • Training time and costs

  • Costs for team building activities


Only 37 percent of businesses ensure that their onboarding process is longer than a month. (Aberdeen)


18 Onboarding and employee engagement statistics

Onboarding and employee experience

  1. The average cost per hire across organizations and industries is $4,125. (SHRM)

  2. It costs approximately $1,252 for managers to train their employees, while onboarding paperwork is said to take up 10 hours of HR’s time. (ATD)

  3. One in five new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend of family member after their onboarding employee experience. (Digitate)

  4. Investing more in communication and engagement at the pre-boarding stage can improve the onboarding experience by 83 percent. A quick phone call from the hiring manager boosts a candidate's excellent experience and desire to continue interacting with the business by 68 percent. (The Talent Board)

  5. When the manager takes an active role in onboarding, team members are 3.4 times as likely to feel like their onboarding process was successful. (Gallup)

  6. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity. (SHRM)

  7. 76 percent of HR professionals reported that their organizations underutilize employee onboarding practices. (Kronos & HCI)

  8. Only 37 percent of businesses ensure that their onboarding process is longer than a month. (Aberdeen)

  9. 58 percent of businesses say their onboarding program is centered on processes and paperwork. (Sapling HR)


How does onboarding affect retention

  1. Having a great onboarding for employees can improve your employee retention by 82 percent and their productivity by 70 percent. (Glassdoor)

  2. 33 percent of new hires start looking for a new job 6 months after they get hired and 23 percent of them don't last an entire year. (HCI)

  3. Employees who had a negative new hire onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future. (Digitate)

  4. The most common reason employees leave their jobs is because of a lack of career development. Begin informing your new team members about the importance of learning and development at your company during onboarding. Employees who strongly feel they have a clear strategy for professional growth are 3.5 times more likely to describe their onboarding as excellent. (Work Institute)

  5. Employees who described having a great onboarding experience are 2.6 times more likely to be extremely pleased with their employer. In fact, 70 percent of those with excellent onboarding experiences say they have "the best possible job." (Gallup)

  6. New employees with good onboarding experience are 18 times more committed to their employer. (Bamboo HR)

  7. Strong onboarding process can make you less likely to lose more than 60% of your entire workforce within four years. (TMF Group)

  8. 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. (SHRM)

  9. A survey of over 50,000 employees found that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave a company. They are five times less likely to leave than those who are not engaged. (Inc)


Investing more in communication and engagement at the pre-boarding stage can improve the onboarding experience by 83 percent. (The Talent Board)

How LEAi Helps with Onboarding

We at LearnExperts have developed a tool called LEAi which allows HR teams to take existing documentation within the organization, like presentations, and documents, and transform them into content for onboarding and employee training. Content from LEAi can be transformed into content for videos, step-by-step guides, onboarding instructions, training on the company policies and culture and more.


Features that save time for our HR clients include....

  • Document Import Tool: Takes presentations and documents and using the power of AI, transforms it into training content.

  • LearnAdvisor: Continuously monitors the content being created and suggests improvements so it follows learning best-practices.

  • One-Click Microlearning: Takes large sections of learning content and breaks it into smaller sections for easier delivery and learning.

  • LEAi's Intelligent Update: Ensures that training updates due to product changes are applied to all sections and courses that use that material.

  • Collaborative Authoring: Give ownership for content creation to another licensed user or request comments and feedback on learning content.

If you are looking to evolve your onboarding process and you need a content creation tool to help you accelerate the process and incorporate best practices, talk to us!






Sarah Sedgman

CEO, LearnExperts