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Simple ways to improve employee retention by 82%

The onboarding experience can be a make-or-break situation for many new starters. 69% of employees said they are more likely to remain in their role longer if their employee onboarding made them feel welcome and prepared on their start date.

I guess first impressions really do count, huh?

Shockingly, up to 20% of employee turnover happens within the first two months. Whether your employee wasn’t quite the right fit or your company culture wasn’t hitting the mark – the first few months are crucial to impress and support new hires.

Research by Glassdoor found that companies with a strong onboarding process improved new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%!

In a nutshell: excellent onboarding is well worth getting right.

Step 1: First impressions count, so make it a good one

From the moment a candidate meets someone representing your business, whether this is the hiring manager or HR personnel, your business is being judged.

If you want your brand to come across as friendly, warm, and welcoming (and why wouldn’t you?), the people on the front line need to be just that.

Show new starters you care and support them right from the get-go. After all, everyone wants to feel welcome and appreciated, and there are many ways businesses can get this right.

Our favourite ways to support new starters:

  • Send a potted plant to welcome them to the team
  • Give them a shoutout on LinkedIn
  • Write them a handwritten card to express your excitement about their new role
  • Send a welcome email from the CEO
  • Get a foodie hamper delivered to their home
  • Find out their hobbies/interests and send them something personal

Step 2: Show newbie the ropes and throw in a buddy

Remember when you started secondary school and you didn’t know who your teachers were?

Maybe you couldn’t quite find your way to the canteen, and you certainly didn’t know how to handle a bunch of new people staring at you… well, starting a new job is like this for so many people, except, they’re the only new one.

First days can be pretty intimidating, so implementing a “buddy scheme” is a great way to ensure newbies feel welcome.

87% of organisations that assign a buddy to new starters say it massively increases new hire proficiency.

A buddy is someone you can ask anything to:

  • “Where are the toilets?”
  • “What time do we go for lunch?”
  • “Is there a snack cupboard?”

Buddies help new hires learn the ropes with things like who to go to for IT support and how other employees use tools like Teams and Asana to communicate.

If you have a hybrid workforce, try to match your remote workers with new remote employees. They can help answer questions that are more specific to working from home:

  • “Can you see my PJ bottoms?”
  • “How do I connect to the VPN?”
  • “Is it possible to get Zoom fatigue?” (the answer is yes!)

Step 3: Keep on top of the constant change within onboarding

For some of you that started work 20+ years ago, you’ll recognise just how different the onboarding experience is now compared to the very early ’00s.

Think about how new starters will be welcomed 20 years from now. With the shift towards hybrid working, many new employees will experience purely remote onboarding.

Without the smiley faces and the casual chit-chat between focusing on work, it’s essential to think about creating that same welcoming feel to fully remote workers.

We know buddies are a great way to go, but here’s what else you should consider:

  • Ensuring all tech is set up and ready to go before their first day
  • Company branded notebooks, pens and stationery to kit out their home offices
  • Mandatory meetings with department heads and other colleagues around the business to become well acquainted
  • Keep the conversation flowing – there are real people behind work laptops, a simple “virtual cuppa” shouldn’t be sniffed at

Step 4: Lean on a capable HR platform to do the hard work for you

Remember those CEO welcome emails we were talking about? Our Human Resource Information System (HRIS) does this perfectly.

Acing the automated emails is one thing, but Sapling can also automate workflows such as:

  • Sending out new starter documentation
  • Introducing new hires to the rest of the organisation before their start date
  • Providing new employees with an exclusive look at company benefits!

Say goodbye to writing down employee’s start dates for those all-important anniversary cards. Sapling does this all for you!

Our HRIS can even create a report specifically for new hires, sorting by start date, meaning you get a lot more extra time to focus on less tedious parts of your job!

Speak to our very own experts about how Sapling can improve your onboarding employee experience and cut your workload in half. It’s a no brainer!

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Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.


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