How your onboarding process can increase employee retention

First impressions count. How a company handles the first few days and months of an employee’s experience can have a serious impact not only on their new team member’s confidence and productivity but on the business’s ability to retain top talent.

According to research and analytics firm Gallup, only 12% of employees feel strongly that their organisation does a great job onboarding new people. Gallup’s data also reveals that nearly one in five employees report that their most recent onboarding was poor, or that they received no onboarding at all.

These figures should be a concern for any business but for startups the ability to keep talented workers cannot be underestimated. The costs of having to re-hire and re-train staff can be huge, while excessive churn is damaging to a new company’s reputation as well as overall staff morale.

It’s no good being prepared to invest in sourcing and acquiring the right talent if you don’t take the time to nurture that talent once recruited. Especially when almost a quarter of startups will fail due to inadequate teams.


Joining a new company can be a daunting experience for many people. But making sure an employee's onboarding is structured, uncomplicated and informative will ensure they not only feel welcomed, but they also get a clear understanding of how they can contribute to your company from the outset.

At Blink, we recently held a five-day hackathon where our conversations highlighted that onboarding processes are not only key to a successful retention strategy at our company but also for many of the large organisations that we work with.

Indeed, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding, reveals the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Here’s Blink’s eight steps towards onboarding success 

1 Nail the tech setup

The key secret is to get the ball rolling well before a new starter’s first day in the job. Ensure that all their hardware is in place and software access, including logins and passwords, has been set up for a new team member ahead of their start date. Arrange departmental accesses so they can access everything they need to from the beginning.

2 Reach out for a date

Before a new team member starts, reach out and invite them for a drink/coffee to meet the team a week or two before their start date. If your new employee will be working remotely, arrange a video call.

3 Assign a ‘buddy’

Ensure your new employee has a buddy allocated ahead of their start date. Having a buddy gives a new member of staff a friendly face they know they can seek support from if they need help or explanations of how things work. They can explain what other members of the team are working on, even if this isn’t directly relevant to the new joiner.

4 Sort out some ‘swag’

Company-branded swag goes a long way towards making a new starter feel welcome and part of the team. It can also be a great way to combat any uneasiness your new hires may be feeling. Popular items include tech accessories, such as USB phone chargers, and branded clothing.

5 Be ready for their start date

Whether your new member is based in the office or working from home, agree on a start time and block out at least two hours on your starter’s first day. This is the time to ensure their IT is set up correctly, to give an office or virtual video tour, answer any questions, establish working patterns and to help them gauge where things are and how things work.

6 Invite them for lunch

A free day one lunch is a great opportunity to get the team together and get to know your new starter in a social setting. At Blink, day one lunch for new starters is on us, so if they work remote from the office, we tend to use delivery firms, such as Uber Eats, to organise their meal. Be mindful of dietary restrictions or requirements!

7 Set clear job targets

If you want your employees to hit the ground running and feel great about adding impact to your company within their first few weeks, look for and set achievable and digestible tasks/goals for your new starter. These should be tangible and measurable, and reflect the performance expectations you want a person to achieve within their first three months of employment, in a sustainable way. Talk through your company’s goals and outline your core values too.

8 Provide feedback

While an employee is responsible for their performance, your role is to give them the opportunity to succeed. After two weeks, provide actionable feedback, sharing what has gone well and what needs to be improved to meet expectations. One month into employment is a great time to have a probation catch up too. Once a team member gets more comfortable with the ins and outs of their day job, invite them to learn more about the wider world of your company