Get Onboard with Onboarding

A Few months ago, SRS had the pleasure of attending the Michigan Trade Summit. As a bright-eyed intern, I had never been to such an event. This event started with a panel that included three SRS members. The panel was asked to answer questions about recruiting and retaining employees.

One point Anathea Collar, SRS’s HR professional, made was that is there is a bad onboarding process, an employee will be looking for a way out by the end of the first week. Now, I am a young intern with experience only in high school level jobs with bosses who treated their employees as expendables. Her comment immediately spoke to me because I can remember every job I started. I would have a few days of training and then be left to handle things alone. Never formally introduced to coworkers, never offered a thirty-day review. And here I am now, not at any of those jobs.

Anathea asked the employers in the room if they had ever offered a first day breakfast to their new employees? I thought “hmm, I didn’t even know that was an option.” She asked if they ever went around to introduce their employees to each other. I thought “I didn’t know more than half of the people I worked with by the time I left the company.” Those two points opened my eyes to how important onboarding is.

How long to Onboard?

Sometimes one week is not enough time to be left on your own in a new company. The onboarding process is when employees start making their own decisions about your company. If an employee walks in, and you don’t have a desk, computer, chair, pens, name tag, it sends a bad message. It looks like you are not organized and it is indicative of shortcomings to follow. Only offering a week of training for a few hours a day, could make an employee nervous. If you do not introduce the new employee to their new coworkers, it can create a tense environment. This sets an employee up to have negative feelings toward the company. The point is, onboarding starts before an employee even walks through the door and should not stop after a week.

Training should continue until an employee knows and understands their duties and the company. An employer should check in a few times a day, just to make sure the employee understands their training. After the training is finished It should be made clear that there are places and people to go to if they have questions in the future. Keeping the lines of communication open allows an employee to continue their training after their training period.

Does that work for everyone?

That being said, there is no magic number that works for every job or every person. It depends on the learning curve, prior knowledge of the employee, number of responsibilities, industry, and level of employment. Proper onboarding can only help your business build trust and retain employees. Hiring costs a lot of money, and if your new hire walks out the door a week after their first day, you don’t even have a chance to make up what you spent. Make that good first impression, make them feel at home from the get-go, and they are more likely to stay.

Did you know about this part?

Another part of the onboarding process that was news to me, is the thirty-day review. It is the employer’s responsibility to keep track of the employee’s time spent at the company. After a month of training, it is time to review what was done well and what can be improved. At the thirty-day review, the sixty-day review should be set. At that review, the ninety-day review should be scheduled.

Onboarding is a part of training and development. Onboarding can last 90 days. According to Shift Learning, if an employee feels like they are not developing, they are 12 times likelier to quit. This development starts with the onboarding process. I have worked for companies that would not offer proper training. It made work very stressful. I had to learn on the fly, and when it was not done fast enough or correctly, I was at fault. Needless to say, if I had been trained and developed properly at the beginning, it would have saved a lot of time and stress.

Shift Learning also touches on the fact that 35% of millennials think that training and development are the most important benefit they could receive from a company. A proper onboarding process should supply any employee with enough knowledge and training to be successful in the company. As more millennials enter the workplace, it is important for employers to listen to their needs.


All in all, it’s better for everyone if there is a well-thought out onboarding process. Time is a scary thing because we feel like we never have enough of it, but this would be time well spent. You would never tell your babysitter that they are taking too much time taking care of your child, so why would you think that spending too much time on someone who is taking care of your company is a bad thing?