Management Essentials in 2022 Training

Why is onboarding important?

Statistics by The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Harvard Business Review reveal scary figures where up to a third of people are choosing to leave businesses within their first six months, whilst the cost of bringing someone on board in the first place is equivalent to 6 – 9 months’ worth of the previous incumbent salary. With these staggering statistics, the cost of people leaving and the business value of keeping them becomes very clear!

How long does the onboarding process take?

In a recent LinkedIn post, Lucinda asked her peers to provide an explanation for the HR term ‘onboarding’. The response to the post was staggering and resulted in the themes discussed during this blog. The general consensus on the time scale for onboarding was from offer acceptance to the individual performing and engaging within the organisation.

What are the five types of onboarding?

Operational Onboarding

At its most basic level, onboarding is about providing the tools and equipment that the employee will need to carry out their job. How would they feel should they turn up on their first day to no laptop or even no assigned desk? They certainly wouldn’t feel very wanted! To prepare for a new starters arrival, organisations often create a checklist of requirements.

Knowledge Onboarding


This is about the transfer of knowledge to do with the job, the knowledge needed to access the specific information in an easily digestible way. A training course with an inspiring talk by the CEO may give an insight into the company culture, but not necessarily help with learning the day job. Information for new starters could be delivered in small chunks more effectively. Often the knowledge is in people’s heads in organisations. So perhaps the process is understanding who has the answers and allowing inductions with those people, This will encourage the new starter to begin forming relationships from day one, and help them to get the answers they need.

Performance Onboarding

This type of onboarding is about setting new starters short-term objectives and milestones that are achievable from day one. This way, they can understand the focus of their job role and get stuck in straight away. For example, someone joining a customer service team could update the company manual’s screenshots or provide feedback on customer calls. That way they can feel they are adding value early on.

So, we should be setting objectives. We should be using our performance management from day one, setting people’s goals, milestones, and giving them feedback against it. If you think about it, how on earth can we pass someone’s probationary review, if we haven’t set them something tangible to achieve?

Social Onboarding

Social Onboarding is about people feeling included, understood and known as a person. A buddy scheme is a useful tool as people don’t often want to admit to their manager that they do not understand something. Therefore by having a buddy they can feel free to ask them the ‘silly questions’ instead without losing face.

Social onboarding can even start before someone joins the organisation. An example of this would be asking a new starter before their first-day simple questions such as, what is your favourite colour? What is your favourite chocolate bar? Which is your favourite sport? Then on their first day, you could have ready a balloon their favourite colour, their favourite chocolate bar, and someone could ask about their favourite sport.

Talent Onboarding

We want to help talent to move around the business. We also want to retain talent in the business. Knowing peoples skills, knowledge and experience from day one and having it recorded in a talent search system can be powerful. It would allow individuals to be picked out for their skills from day one, helping them to make a difference. For example, acknowledging that a new starter has a project management qualification, specific sector experience or could speak Japanese.

What onboarding are people currently doing

At the recent CIPD Festival of Work event, delegates were asked about what onboarding processes they currently had in place and on average people were carrying out 2 of the 5 types. If your organisation is currently doing all 5 types of onboarding, brilliant! However, clearly for many organisations out there, we should certainly be doing more!

To listen to the episode of The HR Uprising Podcast series that this blog relates to click here. Alternatively, for resources related to retaining talent, visit our resource hub below.

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