How to Reduce Employee Turnover With Great Onboarding

Thomas Hughes
January 16, 2024

Have you ever started with a new company, only to show up on your first day and find it in a state of disarray? Did you find yourself consistently uninformed on critical company information surrounding policies, procedures, and culture? Maybe you lacked proper direction and didn’t know who to turn to for support. 

Sadly many of us can relate to this type of experience. Following a rough start, and with no real sense of loyalty to their new employer, individuals will often jump right back onto the job boards in search of new opportunities. Similar to a bad first date, employees will judge a workplace based on their initial experiences. Starting as early as Day 1, inefficient onboarding can leave a lasting negative impact. 

While identifying top talent is tough, retaining your workforce can pose an even more difficult challenge. A well-designed onboarding process helps reduce turnover rates and increase employee satisfaction. 

Why a Great Onboarding Process is Essential For Reducing Turnover

The recruitment and onboarding process for new employees represents a substantial time and financial commitment. To ensure that precious company resources are not being wasted, it’s extremely important to have an onboarding process that helps reduce employee turnover. Key qualities of an effective onboarding process include structured processes, fostering open communication and feedback channels, and setting clear and attainable goals for new team members. 

Five Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover With Great Onboarding 

1. Encourage Open and Honest Communication 

Entering into a new organization can be a very difficult transition for some, making it crucial for new employees to have a trusted coworker they can engage in open, honest communication regularly. While time constraints may limit the availability of management for this role, assigning each new hire an onboarding mentor can help address this need. The mentor should be respected within the organization, someone who can serve as a sounding board and a source of valuable knowledge. Ideally, this mentor should occupy a similar role and, having stood in the same shoes of the new hire, be able to provide fair, unbiased feedback and expectations of the role. Simply having someone to converse with and ask questions can significantly impact the success of the onboarding process. 

2. Define Employee Success and Set Clear Goals 

Establishing clear goals, whether short or long-term, is paramount to the success of your new hire and should be clearly communicated throughout the onboarding process and beyond. Starting a new role and having unclear expectations, or ways to measure progress, is a significant challenge. Employers should take steps to ensure new hires are set up for success by defining metrics and establishing clear, attainable goals. The ability of both the employee and employer to track progress is vital for assessing the effectiveness of onboarding. If goals are not being met, it signals the need for further discussions and potential adjustments in teaching methods. These discussions can be used to refine goals and strategies and put the new employee in a better position moving forward.  Conversely, if your new employee is exceeding goals and expectations, it often improves their confidence in the ability to succeed in their new role while simultaneously affirming to the employer that they made the correct hire.  

3. Well-Developed Training Program

A well-developed training program is indispensable for a new hire as they navigate their role. From the start, it’s vital to help the new employee develop a correct understanding of the position, ensuring they produce quality work now and in the future. A program designed to guide employees through the role in an effective, logical way enhances their understanding of the job responsibilities. This approach provides them an avenue to learn the job thoroughly and achieve success which ultimately boosts their self-confidence. Establishing a strong foundation and providing them with all of the necessary tools and guidance fosters a positive perception of your company. 

Long term, this training equips them to excel in their role, likely garnering positive feedback from their supervisors and potentially putting them in line for bonuses and promotional opportunities. Continuing such training beyond onboarding is also a massive benefit as most quality employees are hungry to grow and improve their skill set. Offering ongoing growth and learning opportunities is proven to contribute to higher retention rates. 

4. Set Regular Check-in Meetings 

Regular check-in meetings with a supervisor are a key component of onboarding. Despite having clear, achievable, measurable goals that are easily tracked, it’s always important to touch base with your manager to have discussions beyond those established objectives. The early stages of employment are often filled with unknowns and uncertainties. These check-ins provide the manager an opportunity to understand how the new employee feels they are integrating into the team, assess the current workload, and determine if additional support is needed. 

Beyond the professional guidance offered, these one-on-one sessions contribute to the development of a personal relationship between the supervisor and team members. Building solid relationships and feeling supported by one’s boss are significant factors in keeping people employed long-term. Implementing something as simple as bi-weekly 15-minute check-ins during onboarding can help achieve these outcomes. 

5. Ask For Feedback Early and Often 

Whether you’re a new employee, a line manager, or a member of the executive team, receiving feedback may not always be enjoyable. However, it remains one of the most effective ways to ensure continued growth as an organization. Given that effective onboarding significantly impacts retention rates, it’s crucial to gather feedback from individuals within the organization. Throughout and upon the conclusion of a new hire’s onboarding phase,  invest time in gathering feedback on the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. Be willing to listen and take suggestions for improvement seriously. There is no better person to ask about the effectiveness of the process than the employee who just went through it themselves. Utilize their feedback to refine and enhance your onboarding process for future hires. 

Find the Best Candidates For the Open Roles at Your Company 

Are you looking to unlock the potential of your small or mid-sized company? If you’re facing challenges in recruiting top talent or retaining your team, contact one of our HR consultants! Red Clover offers specialized RPO services and expertise in developing or refining onboarding strategies. If you’re looking to elevate the quality of your workforce and set them up for long-term success, reach out today!
Photo Credit – Glenn Carstens Peters on Unsplash!

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