How to do inclusive onboarding

As an employer, it’s in employees’ interest – and yours – to ease people into a new role. Yet onboarding is often an afterthought for many employers.

A negative onboarding experience produces higher employee turnover and can make new hires twice as likely to look for other jobs. A third of new hires look for a new job within six months.

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Within a year, 25% of new employees leave.

Employees overwhelmed during onboarding

It’s easy to overwhelm new starters with excessive paperwork and meetings. Employers expect the average new hire to complete 54 activities while onboarding.

In one survey, 58% of organisations said there was a focus on processes and paperwork during onboarding.

New hires with disabilities or differences may need support during onboarding. This is a critical phase to check if new hires need reasonable adjustments to perform at their best.

The benefits of inclusive onboarding

Someone in a business shirt reaching out. Text reads: "Onboarding well can improve productivity by over 70%".

Onboarding well can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Read on to discover our top tips on inclusive onboarding.

5 tips on Inclusive onboarding

Onboarding is a vital part of the hiring process. Get it right, and you’ll win loyalty, retain staff and have happier employees.

1. Culture, not paperwork

Rather than swamp new employees in admin, offer information about your culture. Include information on your vision, mission and values. Let employees know about inclusive initiatives within your organisation. For example, do you celebrate a diverse calendar of events? Are there Employee Resource Groups to support them? Or to join?

2. Check if employees need reasonable adjustments

A man at a desk in a wheelchair. There is a board of post-its behind him. Text reads Two in five disabled employees are not receiving reasonable adjustments.

3. Make information accessible

Onboarding does require information sharing, but it doesn’t have to be in writing. Supply training materials in many mediums, including written, visual and audio.

Where materials are in writing, make them accessible. Microsoft Office now includes an accessibility checker.

You’ll find it under the Review Tab in the Ribbon of Microsoft Word. For example, it will prompt you to add Alt Text to images within a document.

4. A shared language

A laptop covered in post-it notes. The desk is cluttered and messy. Text reads "54 activities. Employers expect the average new hire to complete 54 activities during onboarding.

Companies develop a language. It could be the tone of voice, acronyms, or terms. Share resources with new people so they can join the conversation. Encourage inclusive language in the workplace, so everyone feels included and welcome. 

5. Allow space for settling in