Why does effective employee onboarding matter?

Recruiting talent is a costly business. Quite aside from the physical cost of advertising or agency fees, there is the cost in productivity and team morale of being a person down. Once you have recruited someone, it still takes time for them to get up to speed. This requires time and energy from the manager and colleagues for this to happen. When you combine this with the evidence that the experience for the new starter during their first few weeks correlates with how long they are likely to stay, and that the average cost of replacing a single member of staff for a UK employer is £30,000 (ACAS), it is surprising that so many managers and organisations are still overlooking the importance of effective onboarding.

What is effective employee onboarding and how can technology help?

Effective employee onboarding is about enabling performance and engagement from the start. In pre-digital times it was enough to send through a contract and then start with shadowing others followed by the company induction – if you were lucky! Nowadays, the bar has been raised and some consider that the ‘War for Talent’ has not been won when someone accepts a job offer as they can still be poached. HR Expert Mervyn Dinnen explains in his 2017 book ‘Exceptional Talent’ how really enlightened companies are using onboarding technology to engage, retain and manage staff as soon as they sign their contract. Performance management software (like Actus Software) can help manage the onboarding process from the start, providing key information and focus through short-term goals and helping new starters to feel part of a team. With the addition of collaboration technologies, it is even possible for them to build relationships with their colleagues ahead of joining their new company, enhancing loyalty, performance and hopefully retention.

Effective employee onboarding best practices

Company Processes

From a company perspective, there are key pieces of information that need gathering, potential background checks and setting up of various accounts and technologies. These all need to happen within the right time frame to enable the new starter to have a positive first day. If you use a performance management system like Actus you can manage your onboarding checklist from the moment the person accepts their job offer.

Performance Enabling

Having a formal induction programme with key meetings already scheduled, training pre-defined and clear short-term objectives already set empowers people to feel they have contributed from Day 1. Objective setting can be a challenge – why not take a look at our ‘7 steps to setting objectives‘ guide.


It is the smaller points which make all the difference. Is the new employee greeted warmly, introduced to everyone and made to feel welcome on their first day? Do they have a desk and fully set up computer ready to go? Does someone take them to lunch on their first day? Do they have a buddy/go-to person who welcomes them into the team?

In Summary

An effective recruitment machine needs to be well thought out and the importance of onboarding not overlooked. Ask yourself whether more can be done to improve the quality of your onboarding process, whether it be through technology, management training, better resources or simply by asking employees to make the new joiner feel welcomed.

For more information about employee onboarding, why not listen to the HR Uprising Podcast episode Onboarding – The Missing Link hosted by CEO of Actus Lucinda Carney.

Podcast: Onboarding – The Missing Link


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