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  • Writer's pictureInsightworks

Onboarding and Communication - Critical to Retention and Engagement

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

You have invested considerable time and money to hire the person best suited for the vacancy your department has been covering over the past three months.  Effectively onboarding this new employee is a critical step in engaging and retaining this new hire. After all, why invest so much and then not have a process to get the employee off to a solid start or worse, have the employee exit the organization in a few months?

A recent study found that after two years, one third of new hires are no longer with the organisation.(Bersen 2015) Onboarding is a systematic process designed to support new employees in acquiring the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to become value adding, long-term employees. The faster an employee becomes comfortable and confident in their role the greater the organizations return on investment. A properly designed onboarding program creates a much higher level of employee engagement and retention. A clearly defined role, skill development and a systematic approach to building organizational awareness builds the employees foundation for long-term success and supports them in becoming  a productive, value adding employee at a fast pace.  

Role Clarity

Providing a list of tasks and accountabilities is simply not enough to give employees a robust understanding their role. While orientation programs are a popular approach to bringing on new hires, orientation is simply one step in a properly designed onboarding process. Creating a robust, clear and comprehensive understanding of an employee’s role will always allow the new hire to quickly and confidently become engaged in their work. Incorporating formal and informal training as part of the onboarding process enhances role clarity, builds employees confidence and allows the new hire to envision their future with the organization.   Research has found that employees who attend a structured orientation program are 68% more likely to remain with the organization after three years. New hire orientation programs often focus on communicating information about pay and benefits, reviewing company rules and procedures, and completing paperwork. In comparison, a properly designed onboarding process goes beyond this to clearly communicate the organizations performance expectations and key skills the employee is expected to develop. Effective onboarding also supports the employee by defining specific skills and key competencies the role requires, sets out examples of how the new hire should achieve these objectives and defines how to measure the outcome. Effective onboarding includes introduction to people in other departments who will interact with the new hire and scheduled discussions with the new employee’s manager or supervisor. Employees with role clarity and clear performance expectations have a higher probability of success than those who lack this clarity.  

A systematic and properly timed approach to creating role clarity will provide three benefits:


1. Increased employee engagement

2. Improving performance

3. Increased retention.  

Texas Instruments found that new employees who spent time understanding their roles were fully productive two months faster 75% more likely to stay with the company for at least three years.   Clearly defining what the new hire should be doing is the cornerstone to a successful onboarding process and for developing an effective workforce in the future.  


According to Aberdeen Group, 86% of new hires make their decision to leave or stay within the first 6 months. From the study, it found that 79% left because of a lack of appreciation from their manager. In addition, a recent survey highlighted that 49% of the new hires did not perform well in their new role due to ineffective communication between the manager and the employee. Without a manager that can effectively deal with new arrivals, the new employee will not understand what is expected and will feel cheated in terms of what they expect from the organization. Both contribute to turnover. The impact of turnover includes the cost to hire a replacement, cost of training and the time and cost associated with the hiring process. This highlights the importance of providing an efficient, properly designed coordination process between the manager and new hire.


Onboarding is a strategic opportunity to increase retention and employee engagement. Integrating new hires into the organization’s culture requires an understanding of the organization’s history, future goals and behavioral expectations. .  This understanding will support the new employee in feeling welcomed and in becoming engaged more quickly. When new hires arrive at the organization they are seeking to understand both the organizations’ informal culture and formal expectations. This provides an opportunity to articulate the organization's culture, to explain the business model and customer profiles all of which help the new hire understand how they can "fit" within the culture and how their role contributes to the organization's success.

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Onboarding goes beyond regular onboarding platforms to provide a comprehensive new hire process that you can use for new hires to for staff moving to any new department or location within the organization.


· Content is easily customized to align with the organization’s culture.

· Content can be updated or changed as the organization or process evolves.

· Leadership development is integrated as part of the Onboarding+ process.

· Provides a systematic process for new hires.

· Creates consistency and alignment between new employees and managers.

· Increase retention by identifying employees at risk of exiting the organization.

· Bring new hires performance to standard faster.

· On average, 10:1 Return on Investment.  


· Insightworks completes initial set-up activity, providing a turn-key solution.

· Easy set-up for each new employee saving administrative time.

· HR and managers receive regular feedback about new hire status, satisfaction and performance.

· Documents can be completed online before the new employee starts work.

· Ability to add and create new hire packages as well as schedule the entire onboarding process.

· Gather metrics and feedback at each milestone.

· Metrics stored to individual employee profiles.

· The ability to add multiple media formats including text, video, pictures, narration and sounds.

· Work assignment tracking.

· Electronic forms and dynamic forms.

· Automatic notifications and monitoring.  


· Predictive metrics to highlight employees at risk of exiting.

· Induction metrics to highlight process strengths and weaknesses.

· Leadership metrics to highlight manager strengths & opportunities.  


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