Are You Onboarding Your New Hires Yet?

Your grandma told you “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Maybe so. What you do know for sure is an employee on the job is worth two on the job board.

Cornerstone Onboarding solution
“Onboarding? No need. I laid it all out for him on the whiteboard.”

The cost of employee turnover has been well documented and so has the flip side — the heavy cost of a failed hire. Estimates vary, but here are some really ugly stats:

  • 46% of new hires fail within 18 months
  • Another 45% are only marginal performers. So 81% disappoint
  • Research puts the average cost at 60% of wage value – or $120,000 for a $200k executive

So recruiting is a minefield and you need to do all that you can to bring a new senior hire on stream as rapidly and as pleasantly as possible.

That’s where Onboarding comes in.

Onboarding started as a coaching add-on, a program to get a new hire up to speed with his or her job responsibilities as quickly as possible so they become a contributor to the bottom line instead of a drag on it. But it has evolved into much more.

An onboarding program — as opposed to a one or two day “familiarization” — not only teaches skills and tools but must acclimatize arrivals to their new corporate culture. The magic word is engagement. Research by the Human Resources Corporate Leadership Council suggests increasing an employee’s level of engagement can improve performance by 20% and reduce the probability of an early departure by 87%!

Many members of Cornerstone International Group offer onboarding services and several are planning to follow the example of Cornerstone Santiago which now offers a popular combination package, bundling the onboard program with each executive search mandate.


You need to be involved

As a corporate leader or senior HR officer, you need to be a part of the process, particularly the planning. Your onboarding coach will propose specific steps and content which need to be carefully reviewed. Don’t try to rush it. The most successful onboarding programs are the ones that last the longest –preferrably starting before the first day on the job.

Two other key components are a mentor and the manager.

A mentor is an important addition to the team. The onboarding coach is running the show but a mentor gives the new hire a source for information between sessions as well as entry to the company’s social environment.

For lower echelon hires, getting the manager involved at this stage is also a significant plus. The manager is the person who should be setting performance goals and establishing job expectations. It is also critical that the new arrival and the manager get to understand each other early in the game.

Exit interview research has identified the No. 1 reason people leave their jobs is their managers. Establishing understanding and hopefully creating a bond here is the top line of defence.

For more information about onboarding program run by our certified coaches, contact Laurie O’Donnell, Practice Coordinator of Executive Coaching at

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