Posted: 30 Jan. 2023 6 min. read

Transforming the new hire onboarding experience

Fostering engagement, enabling productivity, and reducing turnover

Authored by Victor Reyes, Colleen Bordeaux , Maribeth Sivak and Mansi Mathur

Did you know that one-third of those new hires you worked so hard to recruit will likely leave within the first six months of joining? Knowing this, it’s critical to take a fresh look at the onboarding experience of your new hires. An intentional and engaging onboarding experience can positively affect workforce outcomes in a competitive talent market that is not showing signs of slowing down, even in the midst of recessionary forces – and create savings for your company.

The Onboarding Opportunity

Despite inflationary pressures, talent scarcity persists. According to a 2022 Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey, seventy-one percent of US CEOs expect labor shortages to influence or disrupt their business strategy within the next 12 months.1 While organizations compete for talent, they must simultaneously address the factors that are driving workers to leave. In our experience, one of those factors is ineffective onboarding.

Organizations can improve talent and engagement outcomes by taking a proven, human-centered approach to designing their workforce experience. A well-designed, strategic onboarding program plays a crucial role in that mission at the very beginning of a worker’s experience with an organization. Workers who felt their onboarding was highly effective are 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organization.2 Strategic onboarding creates stickiness that results in a much higher retention rate and greater savings by cutting turnover costs—69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a positive onboarding experience.3


What good Onboarding looks like – a case study

With growing hiring volumes and work transitioning to a hybrid model, this global company found it increasingly difficult to engage and retain new hire talent. The company reached out to Deloitte to help them improve their onboarding experience to decrease new hire turnover and accelerate time-to-productivity. The overall approach was grounded in human-centered design that placed the worker at the center to both understand the current state and define the experience for the future. Deloitte introduced leading onboarding practices that inspired an onboarding vision and guiding principles.

A bold onboarding blueprint for the future was created that delivered on the company’s brand promise and elevated the experience for four employee segments – Early Career New-Hire, Experienced New-Hire, Hiring Manager and the New Hire Buddy. The blueprint walked through the experiences of these personas, threading their journey over the first 12 months of employment. Their organizational alignment shaped cohort-based onboarding maps. For example, onboarding milestones varied based on their business unit, hybrid work environment, role, and org hierarchy.  Powerful digital automation, operational tools, and organization learning would bring the design to life.

The blueprint was supported by hard dollar savings in reduced turnover and increased revenue.

The business imperative today

Employers need an experience advantage to win in the talent market – 86% of job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding to apply for a job4 – appraising the brand by what employees say. A strong employer brand can also reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%.5 It’s not just a short-term cost and revenue issue: a poor onboarding experience can tarnish even the best employer brand, which ultimately can tarnish even the best customer-facing brand. Getting the new-hire onboarding experience “right” is a crucial step in today’s evolving talent market.



1 Deloitte Perspectives, “Fall 2022 Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey,” Fall, 2022.

2 BambooHR, “The Incredible Impact of Effective Onboarding [Infographic],” May 3, 2018.

3 SHRM, “Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Good Onboarding,” August 10, 2017.

4 Stat 28 from: Glassdoor, “40+ Stats for Companies to Keep in Mind for 2021,” 2021.

5 Stat 34 from: Glassdoor, “40+ Stats for Companies to Keep in Mind for 2021,” 2021.

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