10 statistics that prove the importance of proper employee onboarding
Some organizations rush new employees through the onboarding process due to operational demand, and some companies provide an inconsistent experience as different locations and managers develop their own processes. What’s worse, some organizations don’t do anything at all; they just leave people to figure it out or get trained by whoever is available. Does any of this sound familiar?
Building a formal, consistent onboarding experience is critical. If you don’t believe us, check out the employee onboarding statistics below.
1. Most companies do a poor job of onboarding
Only 12% of U.S. employees say their company does a good job of onboarding. (1)
Good onboarding requires the right preparation, the right support system and the right technology. It’s not enough to give new employees a tour of the facility and throw some basic training modules their way. You have to prioritize your training materials, acclimate new hires to the company and culture and provide an ongoing support system that sustains their growth within the organization.
2. Quality onboarding leads to greater job satisfaction
70% of employees who had excellent onboarding experiences say they have “the best possible job.” (1)
There are numerous variables that impact job satisfaction, including work-life balance, employee appreciation and recognition, compensation and support. However, the importance of onboarding in this regard is worth emphasizing. It’s the component that helps new hires feel prepared, confident and welcomed, and that can reap long-term rewards such as lower turnover rates, reduced recruitment costs and improved performance that results from better engagement.
3. A majority of new hires feel that their onboarding is insufficient
Only 29% of new hires believe they are fully prepared and supported to excel in their job role after their onboarding experience. (1)
Even if you have a comprehensive onboarding process, some employees might be getting left behind—especially when those employees are thrown right into the deep end. Onboarding begins before the employee ever steps foot through the door, and it can last for weeks or even months into the employee’s tenure. It’s important to ensure that you’re not only instilling the right kind of training but proactively following up to ensure that the employee is thriving. After the onboarding is completed, managers or supervisors should reconnect with the employee regularly to determine how they’re progressing. If the employee requires any additional coaching or support, such accommodations should be made available.
4. Too many organizations practice passive onboarding
About 30% of organizations practice passive onboarding, whereby onboarding is treated as a basic checklist covering compliance and clarification (basic training and expectations) but not company culture or connection. (2)
To put the above statistic in more basic terms, nearly a third of U.S. businesses fail to foster workplace connections and reinforce the company culture during onboarding. Onboarding tasks shouldn’t focus exclusively on compliance. They should ensure that new employees feel like part of the team. This aspect of onboarding is becoming more difficult in today’s economy as new employees often have to get right to work amid labor shortages. However, it shouldn’t be neglected altogether.
5. Not enough organizations practice proactive onboarding
While 50% of businesses practice “high potential onboarding” (whereby some of the building blocks of successful onboarding are satisfied), only about 20% of businesses practice proactive onboarding, which includes all four building blocks of successful onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture and connection. (2)
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Still, it’s worth emphasizing that even if your organization makes a concerted effort to go above and beyond compliance alone, you might still not meet the standard of proactive onboarding. In order to ensure that your onboarding effort makes the maximum impact, you must train, support, connect and reinforce the culture. If any of these components is missing, you might be falling short.
6. Better onboarding leads to better productivity
Surveys have shown that organizations perceive well-executed onboarding as being effective for productivity (60%) and customer satisfaction (53%). (2)
When employees are well-supported right out of the gate, they exhibit better productivity. And when employees are productive in their jobs, customers take notice. Efficient onboarding is especially important for frontline workers, as they are the face of the company to customers. Support should come from management, HR professionals, L&D professionals and fellow team members and should include things like adequate training, check-ins from management, peer mentorship and regular positive reinforcement.
7. Onboarding is tied to hire retention
Organizations with a strong onboarding process have been shown to improve employee retention by 82%. (3)
This is a big one. According to a conservative Gallup estimate, the cost of replacing an employee can vary between one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. So while a comprehensive onboarding program might come at a cost, it pales in comparison to the price of high employee turnover. And as the Great Resignation continues, it’s important to do whatever you can to curb the record-high turnover. Consider that about 47 million people quit their jobs in 2021, and frontline industries like retail had some of the worst turnover rates. The trend continues even today.
8. Effective onboarding helps employees get the most from those critical first few months on the job
New employees typically take around 12 months to reach peak performance potential. (1)
To expand on the previous point, new hire retention is extremely important because you’re never going to reach peak performance if you’re constantly shuffling through a revolving door of green employees. Onboarding plays a big role in both getting employees up to speed quickly and keeping them on board long enough to reach their full potential. In addition, learning doesn’t stop with the end of formal onboarding. A person may only get a few days of training when they join, but they need ongoing development and support to reach their potential as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to invest in continuous learning, including technology that fosters ongoing learning, reinforcement and performance support.
9. Good onboarding is social
33% of high-performance onboarding programs include a social networking element. (3)
We’ve talked about how connection is an important aspect of the best employee onboarding programs, but how do you foster these connections? Ice breaker activities, peer mentorship and general team-building are all helpful, but social networking is also becoming increasingly valuable. The best way to incorporate these social elements is to use a social LMS like Axonify that has social networking elements built in. Team members can communicate within the platform and post reactions in response to each other’s learning achievements and milestones.
10. Effective onboarding requires the right tech
Companies with efficient, on-demand learning technologies are 300% more satisfied with their onboarding processes than companies that rely on traditional training. (3)
A formal onboarding training program should make effective use of technology. You want a program that employees can access on their own devices, one that’s capable of automating onboarding tasks and motivating employees to complete those tasks. When implementing an LMS for your organization, make sure that the software supports both onboarding and continued learning. It should deliver short, targeted lessons in a manner that promotes employee engagement. The right onboarding LMS can make all the difference.
Don’t underestimate the importance of proactive onboarding
The main takeaway is this: Don’t treat onboarding as just an afterthought or an item on a new hire checklist. Treat it as an opportunity to transform a new hire into a long-term loyal employee. The more you invest in your employee onboarding process, the more your company will benefit.