Employee retention is an issue in many organizations. Reduced retention increases training costs and can have a significant impact on both productivity and morale. One of the ways organizations of all sizes can reduce employee turnover and increase retention–and employee satisfaction–is to improve employee onboarding. This allows employees to master necessary job tasks and skills more quickly, reduces frustration, and improves overall performance.

Understanding Onboarding

Many organizations confuse the process of employee orientation and employee onboarding. Orientation, or a one-time session introducing the company, policies, benefits and other information, is only one part of onboarding. Most organizations have effective employee orientation practices in place, but may not have well-organized onboarding available for various positions.

Onboarding is an ongoing training process that introduces the department, supervisors and co-workers. It includes training in any job systems and tasks, as well as mentorship with a more experienced employee, in many cases. The onboarding process should, depending upon the job, continue for some time–in some cases, around 90 days. In addition, effective onboarding provides regular opportunities for conversation with a manager. In essence, within all types of organizations, onboarding sets a new hire up for success, providing them the tools and training needed to do the job effectively. 

Creating an Onboarding Plan

Human resources departments often lead the way in planning employee onboarding. Ideally, onboarding may even begin before the hiring process starts, and should continue through the first months of employment.

  • Use an organizational website or print materials to share significant information about organizational culture with potential employees. If you attract the right employees, you will increase overall employee retention, and can simplify the hiring process.
  • Provide legal forms and an employee handbook by email or postal mail prior to the employee’s start date. This can reduce the time spent on paperwork on the first day, and increase the time available to start onboarding.
  • Have the employee’s work area and computer ready; provide a simple list of answers to common questions prior to the first day. Depending upon the company, this might include parking and check-in information, scheduling information, an intranet user ID and password, and even information about how to find the bathroom.
  • Integrate line managers and other staff into the onboarding process. This may be a direct supervisor or a higher-ranking employee. Encourage engagement from experienced staff with new employees. 
  • Individualize onboarding where possible and appropriate. Different people respond differently, so you may find it helpful to ask about learning and management styles early in the onboarding process.

Video as a Tool for Onboarding

While some aspects of onboarding require in-person engagement, video provides a valuable tool for onboarding during all aspects of the process. With video, you can effectively inform and prepare employees and reduce training time. 

Provide benefits information

Video is an ideal way to provide basic information on benefits, enrollment in health insurance and retirement plans, and payroll information. Depending upon the organization, you can even provide this information after hiring and prior to the start date to reduce the time and involvement required on the employee’s first day at work.

train employees on internal systems

Use video to provide training on internal systems used by many or all employees. This might be the company intranet or other systems exclusive to a single or a few departments. While some amount of hands-on training may still be needed, you can reduce the amount of training time required with video. In addition, video training can be made accessible for review and study as needed.

Use video for ongoing training

Provide videos to build on learned skills or introduce other products, tools, or tasks. Video is an ideal tool for independent learning and provides the ability for employees to pace themselves on tasks. Assessment tools enable trainers and managers to check mastery.