The Impact of the Onboarding Process on Employee Retention

By Rachael Pfenninger, project manager

One of the primary challenges facing today’s manufacturers is workforce development, which includes the hiring and retention of capable employees. A critical component of retaining strong employees actually can begin, however, with a smooth onboarding process.

In Roy Maurer’s article, “New Employee Onboarding Guide,” Maurer argues that onboarding should “be a strategic process that lasts at least one year… because how employers handle the first few days and months of a new employee’s experience is crucial to ensuring high retention.” He goes on to cite the CEO of BambooHR, writing that, “Organizations that don’t focus on acclimating new employees to their corporate culture are at a significant disadvantage… Employees who know what to expect from their company’s culture and work environment make better decisions that are more aligned with the accepted practices of the company.”

Incorporating a smooth onboarding process – or a process of any kind, if one doesn’t currently exist – can have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line, as well as the employee’s experience. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first 18 months of employment, which then can cost a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to identify and onboard a replacement.

Despite how much of an impact onboarding can have on a company’s pocketbook, most organizations still struggle with putting a smooth process in place. According to the article, “10 Employee Onboarding Statistics You Must Know in 2019,” by Jen Dewar, 88% of organizations don’t onboard well. Dewar argues that many employees feel this way because 58% of surveyed organizations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork, rather than on the experience of the employee and how welcomed they feel into the organization.

So, how can organizations improve their onboarding processes for new employees? Heidi Kurter, contributing writer for, recommends the following tactics:

  1. Extend a warm welcome before Day 1. Creating a favorable first impression can keep new hires engaged and leads directly into getting them excited and making them feel like they are part of the team.
  2. Pair the new hires with a mentor. This can reduce anxiety and “fear of the unknown” by providing employees with someone to lean on. It also helps ease them into the company culture, can contribute to their early productivity and allows them to feel supported.
  3. Prepare for their arrival. Setting up their space in advance gives new hires more time to absorb their surroundings and the company culture, while also providing a head start on training for their position.
  4. Encourage managers to make time for new hires in their schedule. Investing in the relationship between managers and employees early on can directly impact the future success of new hires, while also developing the leadership of those new hires’ managers.


Dewar, Jen. (2019, January 26). 10 Employee Onboarding Statistics You Must Know in 2019. Sapling. Retrieved from

Kurter, Heidi Lynne. (2018, October 25). 4 Onboarding Tactics To Increase Retention and Inspire Unwavering Loyalty. Retrieved from:

Maurer, Roy. (2019). New Employee Onboarding Guide. Retrieved from:

Why the Onboarding Experience is Key for Retention. Gallup Blog.  Retrieved from:

AMBA Releases New Employee Onboarding Checklist Compilation

Because effective onboarding can play such a strong role in employee retention and overall workforce development, the AMBA recently gathered examples of New Employee Onboarding checklists, as well as demographic and HR policy data from 39 US mold builders.

This benchmarking opportunity includes an addendum of more than 20 new employee onboarding checklists and related documents. To purchase the full report, visit