In a perfect world, every new hire would hit the ground running and go on to become a productive and long-tenured employee. However, this is virtually impossible without a comprehensive and well-structured onboarding program that prepares your employees for success. Onboarding, which should not be confused with orientation, is an important part of your small business strategy. This Balboa Capital blog article discusses three benefits of employee onboarding.

1. Improves the new hire experience.

The first day at a new job is like the first day at school. It’s filled with a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety. New hires pick their best outfits and arrive at work ready to make a good impression. When you provide your new hires with a well-structured onboarding experience, you are making a good impression, too. In years past, onboarding consisted mainly of finalizing the new hire’s paperwork and adding them to the payroll with their healthcare benefits. There would also be the customary office tour with brief introductions to key staff members. Today, these things are being replaced with online paperwork, onboarding portals, virtual employee handbooks, company swag, welcome emails from managers and teammates, announcements on social media, and a variety of employee perks. These are just some of the many ways that a good onboarding process can improve the new hire experience. Lastly, make sure you set up your new hires’ desk, computer and telephone before their first day at work.

2. Increases employee retention.

High employee turnover can negatively affect your company’s morale, and its bottom line. Employees quit their jobs for many reasons. Some are “job hoppers” who like a frequent change of scenery, and others are seeking more opportunity, greater income, less stress, and a better work-life balance, to name just a few. First impressions matter, and a good onboarding program sets the tone for your new hires by introducing them to your company in a professional and engaging manner. They are more likely to formulate a positive vision of your company, and are more likely to remain at your company and not seek employment elsewhere. A recent research study from Deloitte found that new employees are 52% more likely to be at the company three years later if they had completed a good onboarding process. Additionally, employee productivity increased by 60%, and customer satisfaction by 53%.

3. Decreases time to productivity.

New hires who do not go through an onboarding process, or receive proper training, might feel like they were left alone on an island. They will arrive at work each day without having a firm understanding of the company’s culture, its mission, or its accepted practices. Furthermore, if the onboarding process did not include an adequate amount of training, the new hires won’t be able to perform up to expectations. This can result in frustrated employees and a steep decline in productivity. Your business can avoid these pitfalls with onboarding and on-the-job training that prepares your new hires for success. Well-trained employees will be productive earlier in their tenures because the learning curve is shorter. This adds up to satisfied employees who make a positive contribution to your company’s productivity sooner than expected.