Employee Onboarding is BROKEN

And this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as most (if not all) of us have had the unfortunate experience of joining a new company and realizing that “onboarding” to that new company consisted of very, very little.

Well, let’s be generous for a moment, shall we? Your onboarding might have consisted of an “orientation” of sorts (if HR managed to schedule it and the required people showed up), a few logins and key credentials that were found/discovered via people’s memories (or random scattered docs and emails from inboxes), a few celebratory high-fives (or virtual pats on the back via the resident internal communication app), and some swag to take home (e.g. mousepad, mug, a t-shirt, and stickers).

Heck, you may have even managed to get your notebook computer setup (but still waiting on access to core systems) and let’s not even get into benefits and payroll.

Sound familiar? And the result? Feelings of isolation, confusion, anxiety, and displacement, which completely short-circuited the emotional high that had been built up until this moment, the first day on the job, and utterly destroyed by the lack of a system or anything remotely close to resembling a process, that stopped momentum, productivity, and seriously impacts the outlook of the new employee in their new place of work.

You see, that first day on the job was meant to validating point of the new employee’s decision to join, to mark the beginning of an incredible new journey, and the ball was completely dropped.

The potential for making a killer first-impression disappeared quicker than a penniless startup idea and the employee starts their first day disappointed.

Even more sad is the fact that this is a systemic issue across the boards, in all categories of companies and in every industry. This is sadly a common place issue for every size company.

But the loss of morale is just the start. The fiscal loss is astronomical: Let’s just go through a few facts to level-set and provide some context, shall we? Get ready to have your #mindblown:

1. A staggering 25% of companies do not have a formal onboarding program which ultimately leads to 60% of company attrition.
2. Organizations lose 25% of their new staff each year while 22% of all staff turnovers happen in the first 45 days of work.
3. 50% of all senior roles fail within the first 18 months, with initial onboarding being cited as a part of the justification for their departures.
4. 35% of companies spent $0 on onboarding while they spend an average of $11,000 to recruit new hires! It then costs, on average, 25% of the lost employee’s annual salary to replace them, upwards of $65,000!
5. 60% of companies do not set goals or milestones for their employees, which is most important in the onboarding stage of a new employee’s lifecycle, which results in…
6. $37 billion (yes, that’s “B”, billion) are lost in productivity each year in the US and UK due not fully understanding their job roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

But, not all is lost as the flip-side of the coin offers a very compelling, exciting, and somewhat obvious story:

1. 70% of new employees will stay up to 3 years if the onboarding program is effective.
2. 30% of organizations who continue to update and re-evaluate their onboarding processes are consistently shown to be better positioned to respond to the changing dynamics of the workforce and employee trends.
3. 66% of companies with strategic onboarding have a significantly higher rate of successful pragmatic and cultural assimilation, experiencing over 54% greater new employee productivity, and a 62% increase in time-to-productivity ratio, which results in…
4. Over 50% employee retention, thus saving significant capital costs to replace staff or hire new employees.

Again, mind-freaking-blown.

Managers, business leaders, and staff are all dying for a real, scalable solution, not just because of the obvious pain of experiencing poor onboarding but because there is literally money being left out on the table in terms of productivity and performance!

The future of your business is at stake (but you already knew that).

*Originally posted in


  • John Saddington


  • January 22, 2016


  • Operations
  • Talent