/ Employee Onboarding

Five Ways to Improve Employee Onboarding

If you think that employee onboarding is only about introducing them to coworkers, explaining benefits and signing a few documents, think again. The process of integrating employees into your company is also about increasing employee retention, boosting productivity and building profits.

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding simply means the totality of strategies a company uses to make new employees as productive as possible. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines onboarding in this way:

"The onboarding process [is] a systematic and comprehensive approach to integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting the new employee the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team."

Why Should You Take Onboarding Seriously?

When employee onboarding is successful, employees are not only more productive, but also tend to be retained. That's important, given the high cost of replacing employees who move on to other companies. As SHRM notes, the cost to replace an employee is, on average, about twice that employee's annual salary. For all businesses, but especially for those which are small or just starting out, those kinds of costs are unsustainable over the long term.

Are There Onboarding Best Practices?

The answer is "yes." While the employee onboarding process is different for every business, there is a set of common strategies successful companies follow, including the following 5:

#1 Make Training a Top Priority

Effective new employee training is not something you do on the fly. Your business should have a documented strategy for providing new employees with the skills and competencies they need to perform most effectively. Employees who complete comprehensive training programs also tend to be more confident, which increases their engagement and job satisfaction. Finally, training is not a one-shot deal. You need to commit to a continuous training program which keeps your employees on the cutting edge of industry developments.

#2 Make the First Day a Success

According to a recent survey from Nationwide, more than half of new employees report they did not have a functioning work station on their first day. An equal number said they received no formal introduction to coworkers. Many reported computers they couldn't access, missing supplies and phones that didn't work.

For these employees, the first day on their new job was something of a disaster. To make the first day a success, put yourself in your new employees' shoes, and give them all the tools they'll need to feel adequately welcomed, and to perform their jobs efficiently.

#3 Implement a Mentoring Program

One of the biggest challenges for new employees is knowing whom to call when they encounter problems. You can make their new jobs easier by assigning a mentor, someone they can turn to get all the answers they need, from fixing a broken computer to scheduling rooms for an upcoming conference.

#4 Create an Effective Employee Onboarding Plan

You can't expect new employees to get up to speed on day one. Create a plan in which you gradually acquaint them with their full set of responsibilities, as well as with company culture. For example, you might assign them relatively small tasks for the first month, have them lead a few small projects in their second month, and take on larger projects in their third.

#5 Acknowledge and Applaud Their Accomplishments

New employees won't know how they're doing unless you tell them. You don't want to wait until the end of a formal training or probation program to provide them with feedback. Let new employees know at the earliest possible juncture how they're doing. Although this feedback should be open and transparent, acknowledging both successes and potential problems, your goal should be to encourage your new employees to the extent possible.


Effective employee onboarding programs are just one of the ways you can make your workers as productive and engaged as possible. Schedule a demo to learn more about the ways Merlin Guides can enhance productivity by helping your workers better understand Salesforce and more effectively navigate software.