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The Dangers of a Poor On-Boarding Experience

Posted on 8th May 2019 by Vanessa Cole

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The Australian labour market is hovering at around a 5% unemployment rate, the lowest level in eight years. In this environment, unattached employees are a precious commodity, and so they can afford to pick and choose the companies and teams they work for.

Companies that put little thought into their employee on-boarding experience are likely to send up red flags to prospective candidates. These red flags will either make candidates look for work elsewhere, or will cause them to immediately reconsider their decision to join the organisation. In fact, this is so common that a staggering 22% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. 69% percent of employees said they are likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they experienced great on-boarding.

The costs associated with such turnover are equally concerning. Overall, staff turnover is costing Australian companies an estimated $3.8 billion each year. Of course, the costs of re-hiring for a role increase as you move higher up the organisational hierarchy.

Hopefully, by now you’re convinced of the importance of providing a positive on-boarding experience for new employees; as the first step toward creating long-term employee engagement, the on-boarding experience deserves as much thought as any other element of your employee engagement and retention strategy.

So how does an organisation create a great employee on-boarding experience? Read on to find out.

Don’t drop a stack of paper on their desk.

Nothing kills the excitement of starting a new job faster than having 300 pages of reading material dropped on your desk with a sarcastic “have fun!” to go along with it.

Instead, engage new hires by allowing them to soak up information through a variety of different mediums. It’s completely fine to provide them with some reading material, as long as you also change it up by inviting them to meetings, sending them to conferences, and so on.

Help them establish new relationships.

Starting a new job at a company is intimidating and nerve-wracking for anyone, but this feeling can be reduced if the company adopts the right mindset. This means actively working to help the new hire build relationships with their new colleagues.

When the hire starts, provide them with a short list of names and titles for them to reach out and book a casual conversation with. In doing do, you’ll give them a head-start on their networking and help them begin to find their way around the team.

Give them a welcome care pack.

A welcome pack instantly demonstrates that your company is thoughtful about its new hire on-boarding process, and helps to spark employee engagement, offer a taste of your company’s culture and, well… help your new employee feel welcome.

When building your welcome kit, you’ll want to consider including things like:

  • Organisational charts
  • Login details
  • Training resources and tools
  • Company culture materials
  • Relevant policies and guidelines, and
  • Personalised welcome items.

While all of those elements are important, the personalised welcome items are what will really add the “wow” factor for your new hire. Who wouldn’t feel good receiving a customised mug or t-shirt, notebook, and hand-signed welcome letter? Contact MAYDAY with the details at the end of the blog if you would like a copy of ours to give you some inspiration.

Make sure they’re ready to go from day one.

Ensure that all hiring managers have a clear checklist of housekeeping items to be completed before the new hire starts. It’s an awful feeling for a new hire to come in on their first day, only to find out that they don’t have an email address, locker or laptop yet, and it sends a message that your company isn’t as organised and prepared as it should be. Instead, make sure you’ve done the necessary due diligence to setting up all of the following, as applicable:

  • Email address
  • Laptop
  • Locker & storage
  • Desk
  • Building access pass
  • Software permissions

Doing so will help your new hire hit the ground running from day one, and help demonstrate to them that you care enough to be fully organised before they even set foot into the office.

Set them up with a mentor.

Many workplaces partner new hires with a mentor who can help them settle in and learn to navigate the organisation. The benefits of a new hire “buddy program” are numerous, and include more rapid knowledge transfer, decreased training costs, increased productivity, better role clarity, and ultimately greater employee satisfaction and retention.

Show your company’s colours early.                                                

Employees who feel they are a good fit with a company’s culture right from the get-go tend to stick around longer than those who feel as if they’re on the outside looking in. For that reason, it’s beneficial to take active steps to involve the new employee in team events and celebrations. If there are none coming up once the new employee has started, consider creating one specifically to celebrate the new arrival – at MAYDAY we often organize a team lunch so that our new-starters have a chance to have some get-to-know you time away from the interruptions of phones and busy workdays.

Document the Process and Be Consistent

Once you’ve found the secret sauce that works well for your company in creating a fantastic new hire on-boarding experience, don’t let that knowledge dissipate. Document it, codify it, and implement it as a series of best practices across your organisation.

When outlining the new hire on-boarding process, it’s important to be thorough: include every detail of your plan, from what materials to provide, to how the new hire should be greeted on day one and beyond. Making this into a checklist for hiring managers to follow can be a great way to ensure compliance.


When it comes to competing for top talent, companies need every advantage they can get. When your company has a fantastic employee on-boarding experience, word gets out and your employer brand benefits, creating a virtuous cycle that in turn allows you to attract stronger talent and retain existing employees, who are proud to work for your company.

The new hire on-boarding experience is an important element of the employee engagement and retention model, and many companies aren’t currently investing time or money into. By focusing on making your company’s on-boarding process great, you’ll not only save on the many costs associated with employee turnover; you’ll also give yourself a leg up on your competition in the battle for top talent.

If you’re keen to learn more or would like to organise a complimentary onboarding coaching session with MAYDAY, please contact us on 8377 5600 or at info@maydayrecruitment.com.