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Onboarding when you can’t afford to lose new recruits

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Onboarding when you can’t afford to lose new recruits

Recruiting quality talent is no mean feat in a candidate-short market. The last thing HR wants to do, after finally securing a great new employee, is to lose them because of a bad onboarding process.

If a candidate has said yes to your job offer, it’s no leap to assume they may have said no to several others. In these circumstances, it’s all too easy for a new employee to get turned off by a bad onboarding process and jump ship for one of their other offers instead. Mediocre check-box onboarding isn’t going to cut it in this market – HR and business leaders need to go the extra mile.



To really connect with a new employee and to help them feel like they belong in an organisation as soon as possible, it pays to build a solid working relationship with the person early on. And this doesn’t just apply to HR; everyone who is in touch with the employee in their starting days should make an effort to welcome them, so they feel like part of the team.

It’s much easier for a new employee to walk away from a business when they don’t feel like they’ve built a bond with anyone, but small actions can make all the difference. A welcome pack from HR, a card from their new team, a group lunch on their first day, being invited to a company event … every interaction helps to build relationships.


It’s likely that a business is already talking about its purpose as part of its branding and employer value proposition. But the early days of a new starter’s employment are a good time to really explain why the purpose is important to the business, and exactly how the employee fits into that.

When an employee doesn’t believe in what the company has to offer, or that their work is meaningful, they are far more susceptible to thinking about leaving. A good way to convey purpose is for an employee to hear firsthand feedback from customers or their colleagues about how the business and their role has a positive impact on others. HR and managers can organise this ahead of a new employee’s first day so they have a strong sense of purpose from the get go.

‘Set up for success’

It’s a term bandied around in HR and leadership teams, but what does it really encompass to set a new starter up for success? It entails quite a lot, actually. From making sure the new employee has all the equipment they need on their first day, to adding them to the right email distribution lists so they don’t miss out on important comms and introducing them to the right people – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It costs a lot to bring a new employee onboard. From recruitment costs to training and induction. And it’s not just financial costs. If a new starter doesn’t work out, that can have an emotional impact on their team, and cause strain when their workload needs to be picked up by others. So, it’s in every organisation’s best interests to do onboarding well so they can retain great, hard-to-come-by talent.



Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into the company, guiding them through the offer and acceptance stages, induction, and activities including payroll, tax and superannuation compliance, as well as other basic training. Companies with efficient onboarding processes benefit from new workers integrating seamlessly into the workforce and spending less time on administrative tasks.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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