The impact of employee onboarding extends far beyond retention and culture. It can also impact revenue.


  • Employee onboarding is a vital process to make the most of the time and effort invested in recruiting new talent.
  • Structured onboarding with checklists and organizational time frames can drastically increase retention and employee commitment.
  • Communicate expectations clearly so that new hires understand the progress they should make in the early days, weeks and months.
  • Onboarding a new leader presents unique challenges. Thoughtful integration shows the team that the company cares about their transition and helps set everyone up for success.


Think back to when you last started a new job. Did the company make you feel valued and part of the culture? Were your role expectations clear? Did the onboarding experience leave a lasting impression and set you up for future success at the organization?

Employee onboarding is a vital process for every company to make the most of the significant time and money invested in recruitment. Organizations with structured onboarding programs see retention improvements of up to 82%1, and employees who reported having a good onboarding experience are up to 18 times more committed to their employer2.

But the impact of onboarding extends far beyond retention and culture — companies with a structured onboarding process in place have reported up to 60% year-over-year revenue improvements3.

A structured, consistent onboarding process isn’t a nice-to-have for your company — it’s a must-have. Below, I will cover best practices and advice for onboarding both new employees and new leaders.

Make the onboarding experience as great as it can be. But don’t forget to have a foundation first.

Dream big but don’t overlook the basics

No employee onboarding process is perfect. But before aiming for perfection, companies first need to focus on the fundamentals of a strong onboarding experience. Many organizations fall into onboarding pitfalls like:

  • Having an onboarding program that is too “bare bones,” lacking the basics.
  • Inconsistent or lackluster onboarding that differs by role or department.
  • Overly complex onboarding processes that do not allow new hires to effectively integrate into the organization.

None of these scenarios are ideal for making top talent feel welcome or prepared to succeed in their new role, and they can potentially deter new hires from staying with your company long-term.

Even well-intentioned exercises during onboarding can detract from the primary focus of welcoming new hires and grounding them in the company. I’ve seen some companies “dream big” and overlook the basics. My advice is, yes, make the onboarding experience as great as it can be. But don’t forget to have a foundation first, so that new hires know what is expected of them.

Use a new hire checklist to lay a solid foundation

New hire checklists, like the one below that I share with LLR portfolio company HR leaders during our onboarding best practice sessions, can help serve as a roadmap for processes at multiple levels of the company. This checklist includes all the basic infrastructure for onboarding and should be used as a starting point as you build your own process.


New Employee Onboarding Checklist


Organizational checklists ensure that onboarding processes stay consistent company-wide, keeping new hires on track and engaged. Without a defined onboarding model that spans the whole company, hiring managers will likely onboard however they see fit.

A structure and hierarchy for the entire organization can prevent disjointed and inconsistent onboarding experiences. Be sure to communicate the checklist with both the hiring manager and new employee, so all are aligned on expectations.

Define time frames to clearly communicate goals

One effective approach to onboarding is establishing time frame milestones for new hires. What should employees be able to do or understand within their first day, week and month with the company? Clearly communicate those goals to ensure expectations are clear.

Rather than relegating onboarding to a single day of welcome and orientation, think about orientation as a longer process that equips them to navigate the role in the long term. What tools and resources should they have for learning about their position 30 to 90 days in? How can you further their understanding of company culture around days 90 to 120?

Assign “new hire liaisons” in addition to the HR contact

Every organization should have an HR contact assigned to oversee the success of the new hire orientation. In addition to the HR contact, assign volunteer roles within the onboarding process. This could be a “culture buddy” or “new hire champion” that you designate as a resource for new hires. When a new hire has a one-off question — like “When is payday?” — they can feel comfortable turning to their liaison.

These guides serve as an additional layer of support through the onboarding process and let new hires know they have more than one resource to go to in their earlier days and first year.

Most times, issues with leader onboarding surface when it’s too late to course-correct, so starting off on the right foot is crucial.

Onboard new leaders with a team-oriented approach

Onboarding new leaders carries a unique set of complex challenges. While the fundamentals are similar, onboarding a leader involves not only setting them up for success but also integrating them into the existing team they will lead.

Because of their role in overseeing entire teams, onboarding a leader makes a larger impact — positive or negative.

Poor leader onboarding can waste time and impact revenue in the long run due to ripple effects that begin when they start in the role and interact with the entire team. Most times, issues with leader onboarding surface when it’s too late to course-correct, so starting off on the right foot is crucial.

Conduct leader integration sessions to benefit both parties

Activities designed to help a leader connect with their new team like a New Leader Integration Session can help accelerate team cohesiveness.

The goals are to help existing teams feel prepared to work with the new leader in a safe and productive environment, and to show the team that their employer cares about their transition to a new leader as well. Team members can use this time to ask questions, offer feedback, share their expectations and learn more about their new leader. Of course, the new leader can do the same, so the benefits extend in both directions.

One helpful way to structure the integration session is to invite a facilitator who gathers questions from team members while the leader is out of the room. Then, the leader returns, reviews and answers the questions, showing their personality and leadership style. The facilitator can also help catalog and organize all session responses.

A leader integration session will have the greatest impact if it becomes a conversation and a tool to help the new leader — and the team — move forward together.

Here’s the bottom line.

Effective employee onboarding is vital to maximizing the ROI of your investment in recruiting new talent. A structured, well-communicated onboarding program can help to drastically increase retention and employee commitment. And pay special attention to how you integrate new leaders — a strong start can make or break their success.

When deciding what improvements should be made to your process, look at the numbers. Are there correlations between onboarding and your retention rates and revenue? Trust the trends you see to make the onboarding experience stronger.

This GrowthBit is featured in LLR’s 2024 Growth Guide, along with other exclusive insights from our portfolio company leaders and Value Creation Team. Download the eBook here.

  1. Brandon Hall Group. “The True Cost of a Bad Hire.” Madeline Laurano VP and Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, 2015.

  2. BambooHR. “These 10+ Onboarding Statistics Reveal What New Employees Really Want in 2023.” Marie-Reine Pugh, 2023.

  3. TOPYX Learning Management System (LMS). “3 Ways to Optimize Your Onboarding Program with an LMS.”  Simon Cooper, 2022.