Things You Should Know About Onboarding in 2020 

Creating a loyal employee from that promising, just-hired job candidate takes more than a few training sessions. Onboarding is that transitional phase that draws a new hire into your company’s culture, and it’s important that management’s involved. 

When you invest in the best talent you can find, it only makes sense to do everything you can to retain them. Creating memorable onboarding experiences can do just that. In fact, a 2019 Gallup study found that only 12 percent of employees thought their company did a great job at onboarding new hires, though 3.4 times more likely. 

All in the Journey

It’s like the first day of school for these new employees, and most likely they’re a little nervous. Managers want to integrate employees as quickly as possible, often immersing new hires immediately into a rigorous training process. 

On the surface, this makes sense, as you want people to become productive as quickly as possible. However, onboarding is about creating teams, and this involves a social element. 

If you don’t allow people to gel as a team, you’ll experience rapid turnover. BambooHR – an HR software provider – conducted a study on onboarding and orientations. They found what percentage of people leave a company and when: 

  • 1st Month: 17.42%
  • 2nd Month: 16.77%
  • 3rd Month: 17.42%
  • 4th Month: 10.97%
  • 5th Month: 5.48%
  • 6th Month: 14.48%

These statistics are dismal, showing that over four out of five people quit by the end of their sixth month. Meanwhile, these are the top four things new recruits want: 

  • on-the-job training (76%)
  • review of company policies (73%)
  • review of administrative procedures, including touring the workplace (59%)
  • an assigned employee mentor (56%)

Oh, and by the way, only one percent wanted free food. 

Combine the Essential with Entertainment

So instead of intensive learning and a working lunch with several pizzas, rather use fun team-building exercises that connect your newly hired employees with each other. And introduce some of your longer-term employees, who can help mentor them. Facilitating relationships will help you retain people, and ensure they integrate into your company. 

Minnesota-based Click Boarding – an HR-tech platform – confirms this. Those who engage in onboarding programs retain 91 percent of their first-year workers, while 69 percent stayed for up to three years when engaged in well-structured onboarding programs. In fact, they found that return on investment improved by nearly $80,000. 

There are unfortunately still a few dull administrative tasks you’ll need to take care of in those first few days, like filling out state and federal tax withholding forms. Tedious meetings often accompany such paperwork, but keep stuff like this to a minimum. 

And these days signing important paperwork doesn’t require you to be there in person; have new hires do as much of this before their first day. Thanks to companies like eOriginal – one of the first companies to promote e-signatures – employees can sign offer letters and job contracts online and avoid such uninspiring moments. Keep onboarding fun!

After a bit of necessary paperwork, show new hires around. Introduce them to others in your company who are approachable, and who can help them feel at ease. This might also be a good time to let them know about the foosball table in the break room and the Friday afternoon tournaments. 

Providing Essentials

There are a number of other steps you can take to ensure you keep on your best new employees. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Everyone loves a good story, so providing a brief but entertaining history of your business will help them feel like their part of something bigger than themselves, to understand how they fit into the story. And if you have a storyteller in the company – perhaps even one of your more persuasive salespeople – you can get them to see the business as something personal. 
  • It’s important to set your employees up for success, by offering support as they learn. It takes time for anyone to establish how to do their jobs, and showing them resources that allow them to learn the ropes on their own time will help you keep your best talent.
  • People want to feel like what they’re doing has purpose, and onboarding is the perfect place to help support new employees’ goals and objectives. Having reasons behind what they do helps make them feel more involved. 
  • Small gestures like welcome e-mails from future colleagues, or connecting on LinkedIn, will encourage the onboarding process. 
  • Straightforward communication is one key to assimilating new employees into your company. They need to realize what their purpose is, and how they fit into it. 
  • Teamwork is essential in any enterprise, and cultivating a culture of cooperation and trust will help develop stronger interpersonal relationships. As social animals, human beings like to feel appreciated. 

Social Distancing Onboarding

What you’ve probably been wondering is how organizations can onboard in a completely virtual environment. The disconnect caused by COVID-19 means many companies will need to figure out how to create a cooperative and supportive work environment remotely. 

Yet it’s still an achievable feat. You shouldn’t disregard onboarding just because your new employees can’t physically meet in your traditional training room. 

Transitioning into any organization requires new employees to learn to use the tools on hand and work within an existing framework in order to succeed, and though this is less easy from a distance, it’s still very possible. Adopting holistic approaches will help employees focus on using these systems to collaborate and engage with other employees, both veterans and those newly hired. And this new context may very well help your new employees more easily engage with their coworkers, as this is something new for everyone. 


Retaining these new employees should be the key to your onboarding practices. You need to make them feel like a part of your company, and this process should start as soon as a person is hired. By the time outboarding begins, you should know their key strengths and weaknesses, along with where you see them fitting into a specific team. This will help you create individualized plans to address their performance, and help them quickly add value to your business. 

Rylie Holt