Why Onboarding Is Critical To Keeping Your Staff Happy

By Larry Hannappel

One of the big issues for business in the next decade will be attracting and keeping the best workers. It is an ongoing problem for companies to find the right people.

The issue becomes even more significant when you consider the results of a new survey, which shows that one-fourth of all new employees leave a company within one year of employment. The cost to firms for this turnover can really add up because the survey also showed that the average cost to fill a position was about $11,000.

And the prime reason for this quick turnover was a problem with the “onboarding” process. One-fourth of the companies said they offered no training at all to new employees, while 60 percent said they don’t set any goals for people joining the company. Moreover, about one-third of the companies said it takes new employees a year or more to reach full productivity.

Given the fact that so little is done to orient new employees when they arrive at a company, the large percentage of early turnover doesn’t seem so surprising. When a company does not provide the things the new employee needs to help him or her succeed, it can make the person wonder what kind of company the new employer is.

Moreover, about one-third of the companies responding in the survey said they spend nothing to orient new employees. To spend $11,000 to attract a good employee and then spend nothing to help the person become a productive member of the company is at best counterproductive.

To improve turnover rates, companies need to pay more attention to the onboarding process. Companies need to learn how long it takes for employees to become productive, and give them all the tools they need to get there.

During exit interviews, you need to find out why an employee is leaving the company, and what led the person to begin looking for another job to begin with. And then you need to use that information to make change at the company.

Another thing to do is to ask employees what they like about working for your company, and then pass that along to the new people coming in.

About the Author


Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.