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Elements of Successful Employee Onboarding Programs

Welcome Aboard

According to a report published by the Society For Human Resources (SHRM) in 2010, half of all senior level employees hired from outside a company fail within 18 months of starting a new position. The same report also found that half of all newly hired hourly workers leave their new jobs within the first 120 days of employment.

Given what we know about the steep organizational cost of employee turnover, it’s easy to see why creating a process or procedure that sets new employees up for success and ensures that new hires will stick around for more than a few months. In order to accomplish this goal and increase overall employee retention figures, many employers have established formal new employee orientation or “onboarding” programs that are designed to help employees hit the ground running from the beginning.

Elements of a successful employee onboarding program

  • Getting the paperwork out of the way early
    Contrary to what you might think, onboarding doesn’t (or shouldn’t) begin on a new employee’s first day. The most successful employee onboarding programs begin the moment a candidate accepts a job offer. After all, that’s the moment they first become an employee. The first day on the job is already stressful enough for a new hire without the added inconvenience of required employment paperwork. The majority of this paperwork (like W-4s, direct deposit authorizations, I-9 forms and other consent forms) can be completed well before an employee’s first day. Consider either sending these forms to new hires via email or investing in an online employee onboarding technology platform. Electronic employee onboarding programs reduce paper costs while minimize the possibility of errors by providing new hires online access to all necessary employment forms so they can easily review, complete, sign and submit their forms within minutes.
  • Educating employees about their new company
    While many candidates will have researched their new employer during the hiring process, employers should incorporate an overview of the company’s history, culture, value, processes and procedures in an engaging way. This helps new employees connect on a more personal level with their new company, and makes them feel more at home and comfortable. Consider incorporating a company video, a brief presentation from the CEO or other executive, or even a slide show illustrating company milestones into your new employee onboarding program.
  • Easing employees into their responsibilities and job duties
    Even the brightest, most qualified and most educated employee will need a few days or weeks to ease into their new role. Expecting a new employee to simply jump right in to their job duties or responsibilities is unrealistic, not to mention unfair. New hires need time to acclimate themselves to their new work environment, as well as guidance from a manager or supervisor, before they can be expected to begin operating at 100%. The most successful employee onboarding programs last weeks or months, and establish goals and milestones for new employees to hit during that time.
  • Making the first day or week fun
    It’s common practice for a manager to take a new employee out to lunch on their first day. Successful onboarding programs take making new hires feel welcome a step further by assigning someone (either their manager or member of HR) to greet the employee when they first walk in, show them around the office and introduce them to members of the staff. 


By the time a candidate actually accepts a job offer, the employer has already made a significant investment in that employee in terms of the resources expended to source, recruit, screen and interview dozens of applicants. Too often, however, employers drop the ball by not devoting the same resources to making sure new employees feel welcome and engaged.

While not every organization will have the resources to roll out the red carpet for new employees, taking the time to creating an effective and successful new employee onboarding program will help ensure that you get the best ROI on the investment you made for each new hire.

As part of its HR technology offering, G&A Partners, one of the nation’s leading professional employer organizations (PEO) for more than 20 years, equips employers with a smart and effective electronic onboarding tool that essentially eliminates the need for new hire pencil pushing and instead allows employers to make the most of their new employees’ first day. And because G&A’s onboarding system can be integrated with our other human capital technology solutions, your new employee can literally be on the clock and on the payroll with little to no additional effort. 

Learn how G&A Partners can help you improve your employee onboarding process by calling 866-634-6713 to speak with a recruiting expert or visiting to schedule a business consultation.

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