By Hilliary Turnipseed

An intentional and inclusive onboarding plan is vital for the success of any business, be it a pre-seed startup making its first hire or a large global brand hiring every week.

Effective onboarding is critical to improving the success of a new employee. It can help new team members’ work performance and culture from day one.

Here are some stats:

  • 76% of new hires feel less equipped to do their job compared to 85% of tenured employees (Quantum Workplace)
  •  12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees (Gallup)
  • Employee turnover can be as much as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. (SHRM)

Hybrid/remote work is most likely here to stay. It’s essential for managers to develop effective onboarding and communication strategies to keep everyone in the loop and aligned, regardless of location. Your onboarding process needs to support them in getting set up to do their work and feel connected to their team and the broader company culture from afar. 

Gone are the days of focusing primarily on computer equipment, benefits enrollment, account access, and IT support. Companies must adapt and elevate their onboarding processes to go beyond the basics.

And just like interviews, onboarding should be a two-way street. So how can companies develop an onboarding process that works specifically for their company culture? And what role should new hires play in ensuring its effectiveness?

Let’s start with some key questions every onboarding process needs to consider:

  • What will it take to set this person up for success? 
  • What institutional knowledge and context will they need? 
  • What key people will they be working with? 
  • What parts of the business do they need to be especially familiar with? 
  • What do we want this person to know?
  • Is there anything we are worried about?

The answers to these questions should serve as the framework for every person your company onboards. Now let’s take it a step further.

Did you know the consensus amongst HR professionals is that effective onboarding should take at least three months? Should it be extended to 12 months?

The realistic pace of any early-stage company would make three months feel like three years in most places. It’s easy to skip steps in a fast-moving culture, but startups can’t afford to make avoidable mistakes. So how can companies improve the success odds of an employee without such a time expense? Let’s look at the role new hires can play in ensuring its effectiveness. 

As I mentioned earlier, onboarding should also be considered a two-way process like interviewing. Not only should new hires learn the ins and outs of their new company, but the company should also take this opportunity to learn more about their new team member – beyond the interview vetting process.

As a talent acquisition professional, I take a strengths-based, human-design approach to identifying the best candidates for an opening. When it comes to onboarding, managers must also factor in each team member’s characteristics and strengths when setting them up for success.

Taking the time to understand a new team member/direct report’s preferred methods of communication, individual strengths, and areas of development allow managers to establish an important rapport at the onset of their working relationship. The connection established at onboarding will impact an employee’s level of engagement and incentive to stay at a company long-term. 

Here are a few of my favorite onboarding tools to identify and leverage your new hire’s strengths:

Lastly, SHRM shows us that onboarding experiences and employee turnover are directly linked. Employees ultimately leave bad managers, not bad companies. And most bad managers are labeled bad because they failed to set their team up for success.

By taking more intentional steps to support your new hires, you can ensure they have the best tools and information they will need to succeed in their job and be an integrated team member. The result: effective onboarding can allow for faster ramp-up time/impact and improve the overall success of an employee.