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4 Lessons from Companies with the Best Onboarding Practices


Simon Bourgeois

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4 minute read

If your company is looking to add top talent, the investment in recruiting does not stop the day the employment contract is signed. Research shows that up to 20% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days of new employees being hired, costing a company anywhere between $3,000 and $18,000 per new recruit that leaves.

So how can you counteract turnover and ensure that your recruiting initiatives are well worth the effort? By creating an effective employee onboarding process. Numerous studies have shown the importance of a new hire’s first 90 days on the job. How well you are able to guide and support new hires is a success factor in achieving higher retention, productivity, and performance from your people.

Here are four examples of companies that have had a ton of success in developing their onboarding experience for new hires:

MasterCard: Pre-boarding
Immediately after a new employee accepts their offer at MasterCard, they receive a welcoming email with videos and access to company resources. Managers arrange the tools new hires need beforehand to ensure everything is ready to go on their first day.

To leave a lasting impression, new hires are engaged the moment they are hired. Team members reach out through email to welcome new employees. Pre-boarding can help lessen the overload of information and relieve those inevitable nerves on the first day.

Zappos: Culture
As part of the Zappos Family New Hire program, employees take part in four weeks of technical training and cultural immersion. The company focuses on growing their culture, building a stronger team, and creating positive working relationships throughout this period.

At the end of training, new hires who do not feel they belong in the company are offered $4,000 to quit. Although this may not be a reasonable strategy for your SME, there is a valuable lesson to be learned: to lower turnover and increase retention rates, protect your culture by ensuring all new hires are a good fit. In Zappos’ case, the company can be confident that those who don’t opt out of their new roles truly want to be part of the team.

Plex: Workspace
Plex is one of many companies that allow it’s new hires to design their own workstation by choosing the equipment they would like to use. If an employee works best standing up, they can request a standing desk.

Plex understands the impact a great workspace can have on increasing not only employee productivity but also the level of comfort they experience. If you want to see your new hires thrive in their roles, provide them with the environment that will enable them to do so.

Buffer: Mentorship
The Buffer Bootcamp is a 45-day probationary period where both employer and employee are given the chance to find out if it’s a good fit. Each 'Bootcamper' is assigned three buddies throughout the training process: a leader buddy who ensures a cultural fit, a role buddy who integrates them into their roles, and a culture buddy who teaches the culture and supports them as they find their place.

You may not have the resources or time for this yourself, but the system highlights the importance of providing your new hires with a point-of-contact for consistent communication, check-ins, and support.

Of all the lessons to be learned about onboarding, perhaps the most important is that it’s a work in progress. 30% of businesses who continually update their onboarding programs are more equipped to respond to industry and employment trends. Use your new hires as a source for information on how to improve your process. The sooner you get your onboarding program on the right track, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits that follow.

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Simon Bourgeois
Simonis the Chief Operating Officer at Humi and hasn't lost a game of foosball since 2014.

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