The Importance of Onboarding

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The Importance of Onboarding

Finding and successfully recruiting strong sales talent is a difficult task— and losing that talent in the first few weeks can be discouraging. However, it can also harm sales goals and a company’s reputation. Is your company’s onboarding process as pedigreed and capable as the talent it’s bringing into your organization? 

Even if your answer is yes, the truth is that it is likely not. 

The job is not done once the recruit signs their offer letter. The onboarding process may be the most important element of attracting and retaining top talent. Making sure the employee is immediately engaged, educated, and incorporated into the existing team is not just mission-critical for sales effectiveness but talent retention. To wit: 

25% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days 

70% of new hires decided on whether to stay or leave an organization within the first six months of joining, 90% after the first year 

The cost of losing an employee in the first year can be more than 150% of the employee’s salary

Bad apples or weak roots?

If there is turnover, it is going to happen in the first 120 days of employment. If you are hiring people to grow revenue, you need to make sure they have the tools they need to hit the ground running. Some places take up to three months to get ramped up. That’s too long. 

Many believe that lost talent is a case of purging “bad apples,” but it would be a mistake to dismiss the frequent loss of new employees. If you have a structured onboarding process that ensures any new hire is given the resources and tools to become successful in the first six months, the bad apples should become apparent. 

If recruits cannot stick to the onboarding process, neither the company nor the recruit will be successful. The process should weed out bad apples, and that takes the guesswork out of your confidence.

First impressions, lasting growth

Onboarding is your first impression, and if you fumble your first impression, there is a good chance the person you covet is going to leave. How do you know if your onboarding is out of touch? 

First, ask yourself a few questions: Is our current solution considered industry best practices? Do we have the resources to commit to those best practices, or do we need to bring in an outside consultant like People Stretch? 

You cannot just throw an onboarding program together. There must be an incremental approach. What is the bare minimum an employee needs to know for the first 90 days? Whom should they be talking to? Whom should they be meeting with? Once you’ve established the basics, you can implement playbooks and leverage technology.

Detail and structure the win

The implementation of a detailed and transparent onboarding has been identified as one of the most effective ways to attract and retain millennial sales talent as well as more experienced new hires. 

An investment in onboarding is an investment in a company’s commitment to retaining top talent that will drive long-term revenue growth. 

    1.  Onboarding is more than a checklist; it’s an immersive program into all aspects of the company, both sales and non-sales related. It helps the employee feel educated and empowered to perform at their highest capacity.


    1. Make sure there is a week by week onboarding process in place for the first 90 days at a minimum.


    1. An effective sales onboarding program should be cross-functional in nature, with exposure to marketing, HR, operations, management, and more.


    1. Utilizing technology portals is an industry best practice—88% of top employers use them.


    1. Regular feedback mechanisms are critical to ensure both employer and employee align during the first 90 days.


    1. Sales playbook and ramp-up plans provide new employees with tangible reference points for how business is expected to be conducted.


Same problem, different challenges

A sub-par onboarding process often comes down to not being proactive due to a lack of resources.  A small to mid-market company is not going to have the working hours to put together a comprehensive, immersive onboarding program. Recruits need to understand the customers, marketing, culture, and business’ goals. 

Take a peek into top organization’s onboarding programs: 

98% of leading organizations have an HR handbook 

83% of leading organizations have regular check-in meetings 

79% of leading organizations have a ramp-up plan 

66% of leading organizations assign a “shadow” 

Many mature companies have an unstructured onboarding process. They do it that way because they’ve always done it that way. Onboarding often falls within the realm of human resources. HR, while good at coordinating, should not be the sole entity involved in designing or implementing an onboarding process. Ultimately, the success of a new employee should be shouldered by his or her manager. 

HR needs to keep track of new employee’s ramp-ups, but the activities of that recruit must be completed with the managers. Both HR and managers are ensuring their new hire is adhering to the program.

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