What You Need to Know About Employee Onboarding

Starting a new job isn’t easy, and the amount of information you have to process and understand can be overwhelming. Supporting new hires through an intuitive and easy-to-follow onboarding process will set them up for longterm success and save on costs to the company. So how do you set up a process that gets new hires off to the right start?
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What is Employee Onboarding?

New employee onboarding is the process of getting new hires integrated into your company culture and their new role. Effective onboarding provides new employees with the tools and resources that they need to quickly become a productive and successful team member. 

It’s a multifaceted process that includes paperwork completion, expectation setting, training, setting time for socializing with new colleagues, and so much more. Creating a welcoming and well thought out onboarding strategy requires time and energy from hiring managers and HR teams to plan, execute, and get right.

Why is it important?

The onboarding process sets the foundation for a new hire's entire experience of your company. Giving new employees the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in their new role will lead to happier employees that want to stick around for the long haul. That means better employee retention rates, improved productivity, and major cost savings for your company.

Costs of employee onboarding

The real cost of onboarding and training a new employee is about $2,000 for smaller businesses to more than $3,000 for larger ones. Even the most successful companies can spend months fully onboarding new employees, meaning that most new hires don’t achieve full productivity for many, many weeks. 

new hire revenue impact

Taken all together, these costs have a quantifiable impact on the bottom line: new hires (and transfers!) can reduce total revenues by between 1 and 2.5%. Regardless of the size of your company, that is a significant percentage of revenue lost in the process of improving your business

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Challenges of employee onboarding

We’ve all been there: it's your first day on the job and there are names to memorize, processes to pick up on, new programs to learn, and positive first impressions to make. It’s overwhelming, and if you’re starting at a new company in a remote setting, it can feel even more isolating.

If all onboarding resources and training are spread across tools, email sends, and one-off Slack messages it’s easy for those feelings of stress and isolation to be amplified. Investing in an onboarding software that consolidates all of the materials that new hires need to get off to a productive start is a great way to make them feel immediately empowered in their position. And that matters; people who had a negative new hire onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek a different opportunity in the immediate future. 

Time to productivity is important, but don’t rush it. A Harvard Business Review article points out that up to 20% of employee turnover takes place in the first 45 days of employment, and that the most successful companies spend a year fully onboarding new hires.

Employee onboarding checklist:

Warm welcome package

Who doesn’t like a little box of company swag on their first day? Some branded t-shirts, a few trinkets that reflect your company’s culture, and a greeting card from the team gets day one off to the right start. If you’re remote, ship a welcome package along with other WFH materials to their door! This extra touch will make even distributed team members feel closer to their co-workers.

Set up tours and social time

If you’re operating in an office, start things off with a tour to let new hires get acquainted with the space. This is a great time to introduce your new hire to interdepartmental coworkers and provide them with any keys or access codes that they may need for the building.


If you’re in a remote setting, don’t skimp out on the ‘office tour’! Get all your team members onto an orientation Zoom call on their new team member's first day, keep it to a casual first day coffee and chit chat to make your new coworkers feel comfortable and excited about the prospect of working with this team. Sharing photos and welcome videos of the team, the company HQ, or past bonding events is a great way to show your new hire what your company culture is all about.

Consolidate new hire resources into one searchable place 

Give new team members a clear place to start. A simple welcome email with a dense to-do list will only make your new hire’s first day feel more daunting. Instead, try utilizing a user-friendly employee onboarding software that stores everything from company policies, new hire paperwork, device setup info, various tools and logins, and every other part of your onboarding program in one searchable place.

Onboarding software that keeps information accessible even after the formal onboarding process is over will help your new employees feel confident in their roles faster in the short term and give them the flexibility to look back on those early learnings to keep productivity up in the long term.

Send out an announcement

Remind the staff that someone new has joined the team! Find a template for people to share out their life stories, fun facts, and preferred working styles. Onboarding isn’t all about company policies and tax papers, it’s about getting to know the people you’ll be working alongside. Open up a space for your new hire to connect with their colleagues and find common interests! 

Match new employees with a peer mentor 

Setting up new hires with a point person to guide them through their first few weeks and months helps to ease the transition. And although their manager is there for any questions that they may have, sometimes it feels more natural to raise the little questions and growing pains to a peer rather than a higher up.

Onboarding doesn't end after the first few weeks or months at a new job and check-ins shouldn't either. Set up a 30, 60, 90 day check in cadence to get continuous, long term feedback about their onboarding experience and to ensure you're setting them up for longterm success.

Curious how Guru uses Guru for employee onboarding? Check out this post by Hillary Curran, Guru’s Director of Customer Experience.

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