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The importance of onboarding: key figures and best practice

Onboarding new employees is a crucial stage, particularly at a time when companies are facing ever-greater recruitment difficulties, according to the “Workforce Needs 2023” survey published by Pôle Emploi (France). In this article, we invite you to discover the importance of the onboarding process for employee retention, as well as the essential steps companies need to address to implement an effective and efficient onboarding strategy.

onboarding best practices

Onboarding: definition and key figures

“Onboarding” refers to the process of integrating a newly recruited employee into a company. During this period, which can last from a few weeks to a few months, the candidate will familiarise with the company’s policies, culture and organisation, as well as learning about the challenges of its new role and performance expectations.

The success of the induction process depends on the implementation of a comprehensive and personalised onboarding programme, which can take a variety of forms (introductory meeting, tour of the premises, welcome lunch, etc.), although less conventional activities (afterwork, happy hours, team-building activities) are considered to be more marginal.

The onboarding process is a key pillar of the employer brand and can have a significant impact on employee retention, engagement and productivity over the long term. According to a study carried out by Glassdoor in 2021, companies offering an effective and well-structured onboarding programme improve the retention of new employees by 82% and employee engagement by 70%.

But over and above the retention rate, an effective onboarding process also helps to reduce staff turnover, which can have disastrous consequences for your company’s financial and economic health. According to a study published by Workelo, the cost of a failed onboarding is around €7,000.

Onboarding best practice: 3 essential steps not to be missed!

To provide your new employees with the best possible induction experience, it is essential to offer a seamless experience that can be broken down into three clearly defined stages:

Stage 1 – Pre-onboarding: before the employee arrives

Pre-onboarding is the period before a new employee joins the company. It generally begins when the employment contract is signed and continues until the first day of employment.

This is an essential stage (not to be neglected) to enable the company to organise all aspects (administration, logistics, training, etc.) to offer the new recruit a complete, coherent and optimal induction experience.

Did you know? 83% of companies say they don’t feel sufficiently prepared when they welcome a new recruit, which is why it’s so important to prepare rigorously and meticulously so that nothing is left to chance (Source: Workelo).

During this transition period, managers are asked to maintain communication with the future employee (welcome letter, confirmation email on the details of the position, list of documents to be provided, etc.) in order to familiarise them with the company’s policies and procedures, offer them visibility, reassure them and give them confidence before their first day on the job.

Feeling supervised, supported and expected not only helps to reduce stress and anxiety, it also helps to prevent “last-minute resignations”. According to a study carried out by recruitment firm Robert Half, around 44% of workers have already given up their job before their first day on the job, saying they had “received a better offer”. This is a complex situation that can have serious financial consequences.

Stage 2 – Onboarding: the employee’s first days at the company

In 2023, the trends for successful onboarding are moving towards a more comprehensive, immersive and personalised experience to adapt to the changing job market, the diversity of profiles and the specific needs of each candidate. Whether it’s a student on a work-study contract, an employee on a fixed-term or permanent contract or even an executive, it’s important to adapt the onboarding process to offer a coherent, consistent and effective integration experience.

On induction day, the line manager or manager should be particularly welcoming and available to create a sense of belonging and reassure the new employee so that they can get up and running as quickly as possible. You can do this by organising an introductory meeting, booking an induction lunch with all the members of the team, planning a training session or even assigning a “mentor” whose role will be to guide the new recruit through his or her first steps in the company.

Please note that induction activities should be aligned with the corporate culture to encourage employee engagement and retention. For example, if your corporate culture is based on collaboration and team spirit, opt for engaging activities such as role-playing or group games to encourage employees to interact with their new colleagues and thus facilitate their integration.

Stage 3 – Post-onboarding: the weeks following the employee’s arrival

The post-onboarding phase is part of an ongoing support process to ensure that employees adapt well to the constraints of their new position, their new working environment and the company culture. It often takes between six and eight months for a new employee to become fully operational and productive on the job (Source: Workelo).

The weeks/months following the new recruit’s induction are therefore just as important, and line managers should continue to optimise the onboarding process by organising weekly follow-up meetings, for example. A short meeting to take stock of the current situation, get feedback from the new employee, discuss their progress or answer any questions they may have.

This meeting also enables the manager to identify the employee’s needs and put in place the appropriate solutions (specific work arrangements, adjustment of working hours, mentoring programme, etc.) so that the employee feels fully valued, which helps to maintain a healthy and positive work dynamic.

In addition, to enable the new recruit to perfect their current knowledge or acquire new skills, it can be useful to set up an ongoing training programme, which can take various forms, such as face-to-face training, a coaching or mentoring session, or online training. A wise investment that can help boost productivity and motivation, while strengthening the company’s competitiveness in the job market.

What digital learning solutions are available as part of the onboarding process?

To provide your new recruits with a unique, innovative and immersive training experience, companies can turn to online training systems known as LMS (Learning Management System) or LXP (Learning Experience Platform).

LMSs are platforms specially designed to create, manage and distribute educational content. They offer learners a complete learning experience that can cover a wide range of subject areas, while providing administrators with centralised and simplified training management.

LXPs (Learning Experience Platforms), on the other hand, are training platforms that offer a more inclusive and personalised learning experience. Unlike LMSs, this type of platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) combined with a machine learning system that adapts to the needs and preferences of the user.

On the other hand, although there are many other e-learning systems, some stand out for their more advanced functionalities and more thoughtful overall design. MOS Chorus, for example, is a comprehensive multilingual e-learning management platform from MindOnSite. It offers a more personalised, adaptive and engaging learning experience to meet the specific needs of each company. Featuring an ergonomic and intuitive interface, it offers a wide range of functionalities:

  • Customisation of the user interface (design, ergonomics, brand universe, functionalities, etc.);
  • Creation of an interactive training path that can take various forms (MOOC, virtual class, coaching, questionnaire, etc.);
  • Add MOS Virtual Classroom, MOS Marketing Funnel (automation) or MOS eCommerce extensions;
  • Integration of gamification-type functionalities (credits, badges, points, duels, etc.);
  • Multi-site management to manage different spaces and profiles;
  • Rapid deployment in any context.

Ultimately, offering your new recruits an e-learning experience helps to reduce training costs and timescales, as well as encouraging the commitment and retention of new talent within the company.