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The critical drivers to make your staff onboarding a success

Written by intelliHR on 19 Jan 2021

The process of adding a new staff member to the team is often filled with excitement, but it can also create new challenges leaders must be conscious of to make your staff onboarding a success. As a people leader, your task is to get the new hire up to speed as quickly as possible, but equally important is getting them settled into their team and the organization.

There are two main challenges in the onboarding phase that organizations must overcome to retain their people and remain profitable as a business:

  1. It can take new employees 6-9 months before they are productive and profitable
  2. If an employee has a poor experience in their first 90 days, they are likely to leave the business before completing their probation.

The reality is: for every day your new hire is in ‘learning’ mode and not producing, they are a direct cost to your team and the business. What’s more, a misalignment between the new hire, the role and your company, could see added costs through turnover in the early stages of employment.

So how do successful managers overcome these challenges, and leverage the onboarding process to maximize productivity in their teams? Below we break down three key ways to move your new hire from learning to performing fast, while minimizing attrition costs.

Staff onboarding: the path to performance

staff onboarding - man teaches new employee The learning journey can be arduous and you can expect that even the most experienced hire will take some time to fully align themselves to your company.

Naturally, the simpler the role, the faster that learning journey occurs and productivity starts to happen. In knowledge-based roles, this journey can be extended over many months.

As a leader, understanding this trajectory (known as the employee lifecycle performance curve) will help you identify how staff progress from an initial investment or onboarding phase to a point where they are performing (and being profitable) for the company.

This will help you interpret how to get the best out of your people. The key here is to shorten the time in that investment period by equipping your new hires with an effective onboarding process that gears them with all the tools they need to succeed, helping them reach peak performance sooner.

One in five employees leave before even completing their probation period.

With many employees deciding whether to stay or leave a company in the first 90 days, you want to ensure the staff onboarding process is focused on retaining your staff, so first impressions really do count. For this reason, it is vital that give a great first impression of your team and company from the employee’s first day, but also that you are able to monitor how they are going and if there are any early issues that need to be addressed.

For organizations using onboarding software that automates onboarding workflows, new starters can enjoy a painless onboarding experience which is the first step to setting them up for success.

If organizations lack these tools and new staff leave before they’ve even entered the profitable performance phase, a company will experience a huge loss of both time, money and knowledge invested in that staff member.

These are just some of the tools successful managers are leveraging to achieve this:

1. Automated onboarding

An automated, online onboarding process not only reduces the admin burden on managers but also allows new starters to get setup in your organization quickly and without the inconvenience of paperwork.

With a people management platform like intelliHR you can leverage automated email reminders inviting staff to undertake all necessary tasks to get started from recording their qualifications, to entering their emergency contact details and even setting the first goal they want to achieve in their new position. intelliHR new employee welcome email What’s more, an automated process allows you to streamline and control the onboarding experience, meaning every new starter gets a consistent and enjoyable first interaction with your organization.

New employee onboarding workflow in intelliHR
Automate your staff onboarding workflows

Learn more about intelliHR’s automation tools.

2. Continuous feedback

Two-way feedback gives people leaders insight into how their new staff member is settling in, what they have been able to accomplish and where they need further help.

Over time, the induction to this communication through onboarding will help managers have meaningful and productive conversations with staff over many aspects of their role including, but not limited to team contributions and achievements, goals, job satisfaction, training and development needs. new employee check-in survey Remember that new employees will take time to adjust to your company culture, and even the micro-culture within your team. Some employees might be reluctant to raise concerns when they’re new, so be proactive and ask them if they have any blockers. It’s vital that employees feel safe to speak to you if anything is inhibiting them.

It can be difficult to remember to check-in with all your team members consistently, but using intelliHR, managers can set up custom continuous feedback forms that are automatically pulsed out to employees at key intervals, so you can easily stay across how your team members are feeling, and where you may need to take action.

RELATED: Why continuous feedback is critical to your organization’s success

3. Self-managed goals

While a fresh employee is learning the ropes and getting settled in there is a risk they may feel a lack of direction or a low sense of accomplishment. This is particularly true if they were in their last role for a long time and are used to making a large impact on the organization they work in every day

Managers can help alleviate this by cascading goals to their direct reports. This instantly provides new starters with a sense of direction and a guiding purpose showing them how they can contribute to the greater goals of the company.

You can also encourage employees to set one or two of their own goals related to professional development or a relevant small project they would like to take on. Employee goal cascaded from boss

Read next:

Understanding the full costs of attrition

To understand how and what the costs of staff turnover include and could amount to, you need to look at each business unit as well as the organization more broadly. It is a worthwhile exercise to understand the cost dimensions of time and speed to performance to truly understand the financial investment being made in every new team member.

Calculator: Discover the cost of employee turnover in your business with this free calculator

Empowered with this knowledge, as a people leader you can influence a new hire’s speed through the staff onboarding phase, accelerating them to peak performance and keeping productivity levels climbing.


intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.

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