New year, new hires and a new onboarding experience

Why creating an Outstanding Employee Onboarding Experience matters.

You might be surprised to learn that the average cost of recruiting a new employee in Australia and New ... and even more still for Executive and Senior Manager roles. 

There’s the direct costs involved with advertising fees, recruitment and placement fees.  As well as the need for certain roles to pay a premium salary to secure a sought after candidate.  Also consider the productivity costs: for the hiring manager to go through the recruitment process; other employees’ time spent interviewing or reviewing CVs; reduced output while the role is vacant or while the new-starter is getting up to speed in the new role.  

In addition, there’s also the indirect costs associated with the departure of a good performing employee:  the loss of organisational knowledge, as well as a potentially reduced morale and potential work-flow disruption for the team members that remain. 

While a ‘healthy’ amount of employee turnover is ideal for the majority of organisations and a robust Recruitment and Selection process is needed to ensure you are getting the right pool of candidates for the role, one component that’s often overlooked is ensuring you are creating a positive Employee Onboarding Experience.

Compare these two new-starter scenarios: 

New-Starter A joins your company. Their manager was flat out busy that Monday morning and forgot that New-Starter A was starting today.  The manager shows them to their desk, and then does a quick introduction to a few people, shows them the kitchen and toilet facilities, and then pretty much leaves New-Starter A to work out the rest on their own. With any luck New-Starter A will take the initiative to meet key people relevant to their role, but it may take them some time to work out who those people are. 

Prior to their start date, New-Starter B receives a welcome pack including a helpful overview of what they can expect on their first day. Once they start, New-Starter B can see that their manager has considered what they need to know to successfully start their role. The manager has set up meetings for the new-starter to meet with key people relevant for them to better understand their role and how it fits in. The manager has also let New-Starter B know that they have a 30, 60, 90 day Check-In Process to ensure they are progressing as the business expects and to ensure they are getting the support they need.

Yes the above scenarios paint a picture of the two extremes, but nevertheless it highlights the reasons why the benefits of a rock-solid onboarding process easily outweighs the work and time that will go into its creation.

  • Productivity – ensuring the new-starter can ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as possible while also ensuring they aren’t overloaded with too much information to begin with. The process should also ensure the transfer of all business/organisational knowledge relevant to the role.
  • Employee engagement – it sends a clear message of support to the new-starter and that the organisation is behind them, to set them up for success.  
  • Consistency for all new hires – effectively ensuring that all new employees are given the same opportunity to succeed. 
  • Remote working/working from home arrangements – are more prevalent in our current pandemic world. It’s important to have an onboarding process which intentionally addresses the engagement of new remote employees.
  • Employer branding and culture – it creates an opportunity to promote your organisation to your employees, explain how your organisation differs from its competitors and convey the company values and culture from the outset.
  • Reduced risk for the organisation – if it transpires that the new-starter just isn’t right for the role for whatever reason (it happens!) and may need to have their employment terminated before the end of the qualifying period.

For all of these reasons and more, we consult with our clients to create a bespoke Onboarding Experience that’s ‘just right’ for them. Spending the time to create and periodically review the new employee onboarding experience really is a win-win scenario for both the new hire and the organisation and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated!Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at

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