The Learning Tech

The Strategy and Ease of Onboarding

July 07 2015 | (0) Comments

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Should employee onboarding be considered strategic?   If your goal is to introduce new employees to your company so that they are engaged, productive, and can contribute to your company’s goals as quickly as possible, and for the long term, then yes, onboarding is certainly a strategic endeavor.   In fact, onboarding is critical to employee retention, job satisfaction, and lower turnover rates, so it’s a strategic initiative of great importance.

According to the Aberdeen Group’s research report titled Welcome to the 21st Century, Onboarding!, only 32% of companies have a formal onboarding process.   This number is surprisingly low given what’s at stake.  Attracting and retaining talent is a key challenge for many organizations.   You know the old adage “good talent is hard to find, ” well once you find it wouldn’t you want to hold on to it as long as possible?      If that’s not compelling enough, there’s abundant research suggesting that employees who participate in a formal onboarding process are more likely to be engaged, satisfied with their jobs and experience longer terms of employment.

What about the impact to the bottom line?   According to, “employee turnover costs include productivity losses during training, recruiting and lost work while a position is vacant. For all jobs earning less than $50, 000 per year, or more than 40 percent of U.S. jobs, the average cost of replacing an employee amounts to fully 20 percent of the person’s annual salary.   High turnover, lower-paying jobs (those under $30, 000 a year) are slightly less expensive to replace, at only 16 percent of annual salary.”   Employee turnover costs can add up very quickly, but formal onboarding can help to alleviate these costs.

Developing an effective onboarding program is no easy task.   Employee onboarding is a personalized development plan that teaches new hires about the mission, vision, values, and culture of your organization.   Onboarding also ensures that your new employees understand their roles while receiving the training they need to be successful.   Given the sheer volume of elements to manage in an onboarding process, a learning management system can be used to make your employee onboarding efforts much easier.

An LMS has some specific features that keep your new hires on track in meeting your onboarding and development goals.   For example, learning paths can be developed that are unique to each new hire.   These learning paths guide your employees through a personalized onboarding process.   Online courses, live training, and other learning events can be assigned, scheduled, tracked and monitored.   Key documentation such as HR policies, work instructions, and standard operating procedures can be stored in the LMS as reference materials.   This documentation can be easily accessed and retrieved on demand and at the time of need using a keyword search.   Many LMSs come equipped with social collaboration tools giving new hires access to discussion groups and chat rooms where they can comfortably engage and interact with peers and mentors online.   Lastly, an LMS provides the opportunity for you to gain valuable feedback regarding your onboarding program through testing and assessments.   New hires can rate their onboarding experience so you can continuously fine-tune your onboarding program to maximize success – now that’s a win-win strategy!

Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.


About the Author:  Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry.  An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations, and thoughts regarding “all things related to  learning and development.”  When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband and her Siamese cat named Elvis, as well as with family and friends.