ATD Blog

Effective Onboarding: 4 Tips to Help Your Organization Retain Talent

Thursday, January 11, 2024

In today’s market, HR leaders everywhere are concerned with training and retaining top talent. Hiring a new employee is timely and costly. But once the new hire signs their offer letter, the work isn’t over. The most pivotal part of any employee’s experience is their first impression during onboarding and the beginning of their new role.

Most employees who quit end up doing so within the first 90 days. After spending time and resources investing in a new hire, the last thing you want to do is replace the headcount. So how can you create a better experience for employees from the beginning? It starts with an effective onboarding strategy. The Brandon Hall Group found that effective employee onboarding can increase retention by up to 82 percent.

Leverage these four tips to optimize your organization’s onboarding and ultimately drive retention:

1. Revisit your onboarding strategy.

Revisit the quality of your organization’s onboarding process. A common issue for organizations is consistency through a set process. When there aren’t standardized onboarding policies and guidelines, it leads to miscommunication, slowed employee readiness, and ultimately confused new hires. Whether your organization does class onboarding or each department manager is responsible for doing new hire onboarding on their own, there needs to be clear goals and objectives in place. These goals and objectives should be reviewed by HR regularly to ensure onboarding is in alignment with business objectives and the organization’s culture.

When developing a shared strategy throughout the company, be sure to outline competency expectations for new hires, such as culture, values, functionalities, employee resources, and the like. This kind of in-depth onboarding cannot happen in one day or even one week. Onboarding a new employee should last at least six months, according to The Onboarding Process: A Step-by-Step Guide.


2. Implement a technology-driven onboarding process.

Getting new hires comfortable with the organization is half the battle; the second half is the onboarding technology. Maximize the use of your digital learning management platform for both employees and the HR team. A learning management platform, or LMS, is a powerful tool that can host employee policies, procedures, and benefits information, but it can also manage employee progress and deploy training to employees everywhere.

Learning platforms make it possible for each employee to have an individualized onboarding portal with tailored information that pertains to their specific role. A user-friendly system can help promote compliance and employee preparedness.

3. Establish a mentorship program for employee support.

When utilizing a learning platform to automate required HR functions, it frees up time for you and your team to develop programs to support your organization. Offering employee support through a mentorship program will demonstrate your commitment to employees and help develop your organization’s culture. Pairing mentors with new hires early on will help them feel comfortable in their new environment.


There are many ways to structure a mentorship program, but surveying interest in the program, establishing program guidelines, and providing resources for mentors is a good place to start. Employees want to feel challenged, invested in, and cared for continuously throughout their employment. Often times after onboarding ends, employees feel left to fend for themselves. A mentorship program can provide extended support while the employee gets acclimated, and together, they can create a path to personal and professional goals.

4. Offer continuous learning and development opportunities.

Similar to implementing a mentorship program, offering pathways for learning and professional development can help satisfy employee desire for growth. Ninety-four percent of employees would stay with an organization longer if it invested in their learning and development.

From day one, employees need to know about the resources they have available to them and be encouraged to use them. Just because someone goes over L&D in onboarding doesn’t mean employees feel empowered to use those resources on their own. They need to be reminded and encouraged.

All too often, onboarding procedures are overwhelming for new hires, and things slip through the cracks. Implementing an extended onboarding program with ongoing peer support and an easy-to-use learning platform will help new employees remain connected to the organization and grow within the company.

About the Author

Jaisalyn Santiago has been capturing organizational value through brand development and marketing for over five years. She has a natural knack for messaging and helping bring missions to life through B2B and B2C content. Her experience includes small businesses, large enterprises and high-growth startups. At Learnsoft, she leads content strategy and campaign initiatives.

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