Study: Only 50% of Small Businesses Have a Structured Onboarding Process

July 19, 2017 Pete Jansons

There are two types of small businesses: Those that have a structured onboarding process for new hires and those that don’t. Where do you fall? New research suggests that if you fall into the “unstructured” camp, you may want to reconsider. According to recent CareerBuilder research, 50 percent of small businesses have a structured onboarding process, and it’s reaping major benefits.

According to the survey, small businesses with structured onboarding processes attribute the following results to that process:

  • Employees are more engaged: 49%
  • Employees have a greater sense of trust in the organization: 48%
  • More employee confidence: 44%
  • Greater efficiencies: 43%
  • Higher productivity: 43%
  • Higher morale: 37%
  • Lower employee turnover: 32%

On the contrary, small business employers who lack a structured onboarding process reported negative consequences of not having one, including lower productivity, greater inefficiencies, higher employee turnover, and lower employee morale.

Length of Onboarding Process
When it comes to how long the onboarding process takes, one week is the most common amount of time for small businesses; however, nearly 1 in 4 aren’t sure how long it takes.

  • Less than one day: 9%
  • One day: 15%
  • One week: 22%
  • Ongoing over the course of a month: 19%
  • Ongoing over the course of three months: 7%
  • Ongoing over longer than three months: 4%

What Goes Into Onboarding?

When asked what the onboarding process includes, small business managers cited various combinations of the following:

  • Overview of processes and how things work
  • Individual, ongoing training
  • Introductions to key players (e.g. who to go to for what)
  • Introduction to company culture
  • A team welcome
  • Documentation for the employee to fill out is sent ahead of time
  • Workspace and any technology is ready before employee leaves
  • Goals and expectations for the employee’s role, with defined milestones and success metrics
  • Detailed overview of the company direction and growth opportunities
  • A mentor assigned to the new hire


Automating Onboarding

Only one third of small business employers (33 percent) say they capture most or all new hire information electronically as part of the onboarding process. Those who only capture some or zero employee information electronically say they have experienced some setbacks as a result. Examples include:

  • Required documentation went missing: 21%
  • Heavier workload for HR: 20%
  • Higher levels of stress of HR: 19%
  • Delayed start dates: 16%
  • No record that the employee read and acknowledged company policies and other information: 14%


Clear Advantages to Onboarding Software
It’s understandable why so many small businesses do not have a structured onboarding program: Onboarding can be time-consuming and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to the prevalence of onboarding software such as Workterra, it’s easier than ever to streamline the process, minimize paperwork and mitigate (oftentimes costly) human error. The results of this survey underscore the benefits of using onboarding technology. The money you invest now in onboarding software will provide a greater return on time and productivity.


Learn more about software that creates a better onboarding process.

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