Onboarding and the Santa Effect


It’s about time for the ole fella to harness his reindeer, shine his boots, put on the red suit, and deliver toys to all the good little girls and boys! We all know the routine by now. Boys and girls go to see “Santa” and his band of helpers, sit in his lap, and tell him what they want for Christmas. Santa listens intently, is careful not to promise too much, and every-now-and-then offers some sage advice like, “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

So Christmas Eve comes, and the kiddies all over the world go to bed, usually too excited to sleep. Somewhere, in the middle of the night, Old Saint Nick makes his way down the chimney, or through a tiny pipe in the ceiling, drops the goodies, and then dashes off to the next house. It’s an amazing feat! He and his staff (elves) have prepared for a year, and he swoops in to deliver in one night, and one night only.

Within a few days, the luster and shine begin to fade on the presents. Some of the gifts survive while others go by the wayside, a grim reminder that sometimes a kid is most entertained by…a cardboard box. Nonetheless, Santa heads home to prepare for yet another year of toy making, and all the kids go back to life the way it was, until next year.


And so it is in the hiring world. Your HR team prepares, tries to ask all the right questions, is careful not to promise too much, and then makes the determination of whether the candidate is a good fit or not. When a good candidate is found, it’s time to deliver the goods!

So the new hire goes to bed the night before he begins his new job, usually too excited to sleep. He wakes up a bit groggy from the lack of sleep, but the excitement and nervousness of the first day drives him out of bed. He hurries in order to be on time, and when he gets there early, he finds that his boss hasn’t arrived. He’s dashed away to his new office cubicle to find his welcome gift…a big stack of paperwork to fill out. So he spends the next few hours filling out the docs, gets introduced to a few people, gets a tour of the place, has to rush through a benefits briefing, and finds out that his laptop hasn’t arrived, and his key card doesn’t yet work.


He comes back the next day, and the “party” is over. He doesn’t see HR personnel unless he stops by the office. They’ve moved on to prepare for the next new employee. His onboarding process essentially lasts one day, and the entire process is viewed as a mission to fill out paperwork. And almost as fast as he has begun his new job, he feels disengaged, and the luster and shine of his new job begins to fade. He’s now left to be entertained by…a cubicle.


22% of companies have no formal onboarding program, and only 37% of companies extend onboarding programs beyond the 1st month. Match that with the study that shows that up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days, and you can see the critical necessity of properly integrating a new employee into the culture. An onboarding program that extends throughout an employee’s entire employment time is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here are some of the top gifts that a premiere onboarding program gives:

  1. Employee Engagement

According to the American Staffing Association, 71% of all employees are not engaged. That’s a huge number! And yet, one of the defining characteristics of great cultures within a community is the engagement of employees. Engaged employees generally exhibit the following traits:

  • Enthusiasm: Employees are enthusiastic about work
  • Empowered: Employees are allowed to do work their way
  • Inspired: Employees are motivated by their leaders
  • Confident: Employees are sure they can achieve excellence
  1. Long-term retention and higher performance

A study from the Wynhurst Group found the following:

  • 58% of employees are more likely to still be at the company three years later if they had completed a structured onboarding process.
  • Effective employee onboarding programs increase employee performance by up to 11%.

Aberdeen Group reported:

  • 66% of companies with onboarding programs claimed a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture.
  • 62% had higher time-to-productivity ratios.
  • 54% reported higher employee engagement.
  1. Money

$11 Billion is lost annually due to employee turnover. The average cost per company is over $10,000 per year. To put it simply, when a consistent onboarding program is followed, and continually improved, employee’s stick and stay. This cuts down on the devastating blow to a company’s bottom-line. Money is a GREAT gift!

  1. A Top Notch Culture

Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It’s no wonder that people change jobs so much. With so much time spent on the job, people not only want work they can enjoy, they also want a place that they can belong. They want an opportunity to make the most of their career and life, so it suffices to say that culture is absolutely critical. A new employee learns about the company culture during the onboarding process. However, top companies understand the importance of preparation required for a new employee. The Aberdeen survey showed that 83% of the highest performing organizations begin onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job.


It stands to reason, if you can get your employee engaged and up to 100% fully-functioning, and you keep the conversation going about how things are progressing for them, they are going to stay for the long haul. This can bolster the company culture tremendously as a result of little turnover. Even more so, it can lead to overall growth of the company that is not threatened by future new hires, as the onboarding process assimilates them as well.


Even if a powerful onboarding process only serves as a distant theory to you right now, at least consider the math. At the very minimum, it saves money for the company long term, and provides the opportunity to get the most out of employees. But the true gift of a world-class onboarding platform is that it can benefit every aspect of the company, for both the organization and the individual.


So stop looking at the onboarding process as a one-and-done system designed to dump a bunch of paperwork on your new employee. Don’t be an HR Santa who just drops in once-a-year for new hire onboarding and employee evaluations. Instead, find a customizable onboarding platform that serves as that gift that keeps on giving.

Need some gift ideas? We can help! Check out our HR Software Solution, Xenqu. Santa’s sleigh has nothing on this baby. We’ll even let you test-fly it FREE…and maybe with some milk and cookies.