20% of employees quit in the first 45 days. What’s wrong with onboarding?

Conducted effective recruiting and hired a cool specialist? It’s too early to relax and uncork the champagne. According to SHRM, about 20% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 working days. And what follows? Let’s figure it out!

The reasons for high staff churn during adaptation

1. Expectations are different from reality

If you do not fulfill the conditions discussed at the interview, trust in the organization decreases, and the new employee begins to doubt the correctness of his or her choice.

2. The employee does not understand your requirements

Lack of constant feedback leads to a misunderstanding of your expectations by the employee. And without clear knowledge of the company’s processes, he or she feels useless.

3. Lack of vision for the company’s goals

A specialist cannot be productive if he or she does not understand business goals, his or her role in the company, does not share its values and does not see the prospects for development.

4. Non-core specialists are engaged in adaptation

The adaptation of new employees should not be the responsibility of managers – this is outside their competence. In addition, the manager may demand maximum involvement from the employee already at the stage of adaptation.

If we combine these consequences, the main problem sounds like the lack of a clear and effective adaptation program for a new specialist.

Of course, you already have instructions and agreed steps for interacting with a new specialist. But is this process effective enough and does it remain relevant given the transition to remote work and the new demands of the labor market? If, answering this question, you have even the slightest doubt, then the next part of this material which covers effective onboarding of new employees will be useful for you.

The concept of Onboarding

Onboarding (adaptation program) is the general name for the procedures for hiring new employees, integrating them into a team and getting them to know the corporate culture.

Some companies mistakenly view onboarding as closing of mandatory documentation and basic introductions, when in fact this process provides a complex support for new specialists until they become independent and productive in their roles.

Why does it matter for businesses?

Having a clear and concise onboarding process will provide a business with the following benefits:


Employee retention
The first steps of an employee in the company are the foundation on which your professional relationships are built. This is the best time to dive into corporate culture, talk about development opportunities and establish a feedback process.
If the employee feels abandoned at the initial stage, he or she has every chance of being among those 31% who leave the company within 6 months. For them, it’s stressful. For you, it’s a huge loss of resources, a demotivated HR team and a still unresolved problem with staff retention. Companies with an effective onboarding process improve employee engagement by 82%, according to Brandon Hall Group research.

Increased productivity
According to The HR digest, systemic onboarding can increase productivity of new hires by more than 70%. If the process clearly defines job expectations and aims to build social bonds and provide comfort, then the new team player will be motivated to project this attitude towards their duties.

Employee engagement
The first months in the company form the level of involvement of your employee in the future. By providing clear and transparent interaction at all stages of onboarding (we’ll talk about them later), you get employee loyalty that converts into efficiency. 62% of companies with a structured onboarding program report a 54% increase in employee engagement and higher productivity scores. (Northpass)

Minimum stress
Comprehensive adaptation eliminates process uncertainty and provides the information necessary for the job. Getting familiar with corporate culture, rules and processes makes it easier to integrate into a new work environment. As soon as all the necessary information and tools are available to new employees, they feel more confident, and the level of stress and anxiety decreases. And an employee who clearly understands what is expected of him or her and has what is necessary to perform the tasks = a productive employee.

The right start
Onboarding, ensured by an individual adaptation plan, will allow a new employee to gradually immerse themselves in the company’s processes, preventing chaos and uncertainty. By understanding business processes, instructions, and operational issues from the very beginning, it will be much easier for a new person to start working on tasks, and he or she will not waste time looking for basic things in the future.


How onboarding automation will relieve the burden of HR managers

A significant problem of adaptation is that most of the tasks of an HR manager are performed manually. It is very difficult to personalize the approach to specialists of different levels and to devote the necessary time for their effective adaptation.

However, today there are tools that can minimize participation of an HR specialist in onboarding procedures. In SMART business, we use SMART HCM & LMS. Here is how we set up systemic onboarding at all its stages and relieved HR managers thanks to SMART HCM & LMS tools:

Stage 1. Pre-onboarding

It is important for us to establish a connection with a person even before the first working day. After the offer is accepted by a candidate, we send the Welcome email. In it, we indicate the introductory information, the information necessary for the 1st working day and congratulations on joining the team.

Here, care should be taken that the manner of communication corresponds to the agreed Tone of Voice and exists in the concept of the HR brand. You can read about how to build a strong employer brand in our material.

Stage 2. First day in the office

The main task of the first day is to immerse the new employee in the atmosphere of the company. Take a tour of the office, tell some interesting stories, inside jokes (pretty sure you have some) and personally introduce them to colleagues present in the office. Only after that take care of organizational issues, passwords and accesses.

Having an automated HR system helps us reduce the role of HR, while providing a new employee with all the necessary tools from the first day of work. SMART HCM & LMS contains ready-made individual onboarding plans, taking into account the position held, which our HR managers share with new employees by sending access to their personal account by e-mail.

The personal account of each employee contains:


Tasks in accordance with the individual onboarding plan

Knowledge base with useful materials, courses and webinars

Calendar of upcoming and future events

Progress of own results

Gamified achievements tab

Information about organizational structure and birthdays of colleagues


An individual onboarding plan assigned to each new employee is designed for 3 months in accordance with the stages of work in the company (first day; first week; 1st, 2nd, 3rd month):

The tasks of the first day include self-acquaintance with the corporate culture, reading instructions for registering in the necessary systems and passing various courses.

And since corporate meetings where you can share news are not available under conditions of remote work, we supplemen the HR system with a corporate portal. News feed, own knowledge base, photo and media gallery will help a new person get acquainted with everything that happens in the company. In addition, the corporate portal contains convenient tools to improve efficiency, such as collaboration on documents, a list of tasks with deadlines, and a chatbot for subscribing to important notifications.

Stage 3. First working week

During the first week, the employee independently continues to get acquainted with business processes according to the onboarding plan in SMART HCM & LMS. In addition, 1:1 meetings are an important tool at this stage. According to a survey by Qualee, 72% of new hires find these meetings to be the most rewarding aspect of onboarding.

Therefore, in the first week it is important to hold:

  • meeting with HR specialist to discuss onboarding progress,
  • meeting with the manager to discuss plans, tasks and expectations,
  • both a general team meeting and 1:1 meetings with individual colleagues to establish interaction.

It is also important to continue the practice of 1:1 meetings with the HR specialist and the manager during the first months. These can be weekly (or biweekly) short meetings to discuss questions, progress and future plans.

Stage 4. First month

Studying the features of the business at the initial stage of work is perhaps the most important process. The presence of an HR system allows you to assign training plans to a new employee. And in the future, the employee can independently form an individual development plan approved by the manager in SMART HCM & LMS.

Based on the results of the first month, it is recommended to collect feedback, both from the employee and the team. We at SMART business practice preparing a retrospective by a new employee (as a separate module of the onboarding plan) in the context of:

  • Me as a specialist,
  • the team that surrounds me,
  • company in terms of business processes and corporate culture.

To collect feedback from the team, we suggest using a survey form with a list of questions that will help evaluate a new specialist and find areas for his or her development.

Stage 5. Three months

3 months after, when the adaptation period is over, the company and the employee usually decide on continuing cooperation or vice versa. We advise you to organize a general meeting consisting of an HR specialist, a manager and the new employee. And if you have been collecting feedback regularly and arranging personal meetings for 3 months, there will be enough data to make a decision.

And given that the process of your onboarding was provided with the support of a new specialist at all stages, was understandable and structured thanks to an individual plan, its results promise to be satisfactory, and the motivation to stay in the company – significant.

Stage 6. Post-onboarding

After the end of the onboarding period, we advise you to draw up a plan for the next 3-6 months for career development and goals for an already full-fledged team member. And make sure they know that the HR team is always in touch and will gladly answer all questions regarding company processes. We are helped in this by a chatbot, which supplements SMART HCM & LMS.

This tool serves as a convenient mobile HR assistant for employees. Functionality of the modules can be accessed through Telegram, Teams, Viber, Facebook Messenger.

Overall, an automated onboarding solution, such as SMART HCM & LMS, combines all the resources that are important for a new employee into a single system, forms a clear understanding of the work plan and greatly decreases the amount of communication on routine issues. And the saved time of HR specialists will be directed to solving strategic issues. You can learn more about the benefits of automating HR processes in our previous article.

If you need to consult on our HR solution or selection of other HR tools for your business, we will be happy to help. Contact us by emailing at sales@smart-it.com.

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