You know what they say about first impressions – you never get a second chance. 

This statement rings particularly true for HR professionals when it’s a new hire’s first day on the job. It’s in those initial moments that the tone is set for a successful career, while also embedding a positive outlook about your company for years to come. 

On the other hand, a bad experience right off the bat can be detrimental for everyone involved – the employee, the company, your customers, coworkers and everyone else along the way. The snowball can roll in either direction. Your job is to make sure it’s building positively from the very start. 

Although there’s a certain amount of anxiety to be expected when starting a new job, there’s also a high level of optimism. If you landed a good hire, they are coming to you with excitement, passion and hope. They want this to be their work home for years to come and can’t wait to get to work and start making a difference. 

A surefire way to keep that optimism going and set the foundation for a successful career is by having an effective onboarding process in place when they walk in the door. Getting off to a good start is key and make sure they are comfortable, informed and valued early on will pay dividends down the road. 

How can an onboarding process help you? Here are a few ways: 

Early Engagement

Disengaged employees lead to gone employees. Even if they don’t physically leave the company, they cost you lost productivity and can be a culture killer for the rest of your workforce. By informing your employees early on about responsibilities, processes, navigating the workplace, fellow coworkers and culture – they’ll become engaged and be excited about their future. According to the Gallup organization, an actively disengaged employee costs you more than $2,500 a year. 

Set the Bar 

During onboarding, you set expectations and standards for new hires and give them all the tools they need for success. By knowing where the bar is set from the beginning, they can start striving to exceed those expectations. Put simply: if they don’t understand, they won’t deliver. 

Cut Costs 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it will cost you an estimated $3,500 to replace one $8 per hour employee. Imagine the cost to replace a mid-level or highly-specialized employee. How about a manager? In addition, you’ll be saving the time it would take your best employees and supervisors to train new hires on the job and fix their mistakes, adding value while automating onboarding tasks that would otherwise be done manually. 

The truth of the matter is, employees hold the success of your company in their hands. Putting time and attention toward them in the first days, weeks and months of their career will pay off big time down the road. It all starts by having an effective onboarding process in place.