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Creating an Onboarding Strategy That Counts

Did you know that on average, it costs £6,152 to fill a standard vacancy and £19,000 to fill a management vacancy, yet 43% of hires leave their role within the first 90 days?(1) Recruitment and retention strategies are imperative to a business’ success, with recruitment being an expensive expense, however retention is an often-overlooked element in favour of recruitment.

70% of new hires decide whether a role is right for them within their first month, with 29% of those making their decision in the first week alone. On average, a company has a mere 44 days to influence a new hire’s long-term retention. 20% of new hires state their company doesn’t assist in making connections or finding support at work, with 44% regretting or experiencing second thoughts on their new post within their first week alone.(2)

Let’s explore how companies can best support onboarding for long-term retention.

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Start before they start

Preboarding new hires offers them the chance to familiarise themselves with the company and what to expect before day one, and shows care for a new hire’s wellbeing. This element can also avoid the costly impact of no-shows on day one, as your new hire feels apart of the company already.

Preboarding can include sending a welcome kit of merchandise, a ‘what-to-expect’ introductory email in preparation of their first day, administration forms, offer an onboarding checklist, and sending documents such as employee handbooks. 

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Prepare technology

Not having appropriate software and hardware ready can put the employee at a disadvantage from day one and act as a physical barrier to employee integration. It may also make the new hire feel as if they are undervalued from day one, as the time and care has not already taken place to appropriately prepare for their arrival.

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Allocate a designated onboarding manager

Having no clear contact for queries (65%) and no direct single person onboarding guide (50%) are two leading factors for frustration in new hires. Ensure a helpful and accessible person with the correct pool of knowledge is assigned to assist your new hire in their first month in particular.

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Train your new hire appropriately

81% of employees say training on software and tools are crucial to onboarding, with 97% wanting an introduction to employee guidelines and 96% wishing to know the company’s mission statement and values. Allow appropriate time to cover these in the onboarding strategy, with buffer time for training where appropriate.

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Encourage team collaboration

Don’t underestimate the power of social connection made through workplaces, with 87% of people wishing to make new friends through work. An easy place to begin is by allocating a colleague to shadow, which is wanted by 93% of new hires.

Facilitate team meetings, non-work related opportunities to get to know team members such as buddy lunches, introductions across departments, and weave time for these meet and greets into the onboarding strategy to allow your new hire to find connections they can grow.

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Include senior management

Have senior leaders introduce themselves, even if only by a welcoming email, and have the company values reflected in these communications and meetings. The new hire will feel valued, no matter what level they join, and offers the chance for them to see values in practice from the beginning.

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Avoid information overload

Starting a new role can be an overwhelming experience. Allow adequate pacing of onboarding into the plan to avoid stress or fatigue that may arise if too much information is shared in a short amount of time. Remember that you are still understanding how each new hire absorbs new information and learns, so onboarding needs to be a responsive and adaptable experience.

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Show employee value through benefits

Ensure your new hire is aware of what benefits they are entitled to, how to access them, their benefit selection window as a new hire, what comes as free, and what to expect if benefits change once probation has passed. This shows the employee that the company cares for them, and what to expect as an added benefit to their salary by staying with the company.

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Check-in regularly

Offer weekly check-ins during their first month to allow both parties the opportunity to share progress updates, discuss priorities and objectives, and general discussion on how the new hire is progressing.

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Ask for feedback

After the end of an employee’s first month or more, ask for their valued feedback on their onboarding experience. Take this into account for the ongoing development of onboarding and retention strategies, both what worked and what could be improved.

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About the author

This article was provided by our sister company Towergate Health & Protection. For more information about how we can protect your business with wellbeing support, contact your usual Towergate advisor.

The information contained in this article is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.


1 The Cost of Recruitment | Insights | Talent Insight Group