Employee Engagement Starts with a Smooth Onboarding Experience

Marc Holliday, Sr. Product Marketing Manager

June 1, 2021

Onboarding is a critical process designed to engage a new employee and set them up for success in a new role.  During the onboarding process, employees are making connections to company culture, their managers, their work and other employees. Within the first 30 days, they have probably determined if they see long term opportunities at the company or not.  Therefore, it is important to have an engaging, consistent onboarding experience to keep first year turnover rates low and get new employees comfortable and productive in their new roles as quickly as possible.  As the old adage says, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

However, many companies do not invest enough in the onboarding process(opens in new tab). Instead of starting the process before the employees’ first day, it usually starts when the new employee shows up to begin work. Managers are too busy and aren’t available on that first day, computer equipment hasn’t arrived yet, login credentials to systems haven’t been set up and company swag isn’t provided. Other employees are unaware of a new team member joining the team. HR doesn’t have a system in place to manage the process so everything is done via email, spreadsheets and documents which the new employee can’t get to because her email account hasn’t been set up yet. The new employee is welcomed by an available HR staffer and sits in a room to fill out paperwork. Once HR has received the completed paperwork and gone over the company background presentation, the onboarding process is deemed complete.

Not only does this make the first day or week unproductive, but it leaves a lasting impression on the new employee well beyond the first 90 days. They don’t feel valued, important or welcomed when there are major gaps in the onboarding process. And more importantly, they never connect to the company, their manager or their peers resulting in first year voluntary turnover, lower employee engagement and a poor company reputation as place people want to work.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork

A successful onboarding process requires a team, it needs to begin before the first day and it should last longer than a week. To smoothly execute the process and deliver an engaging employee experience, HR, IT, the manager and other employees of the company need to be closely involved. Once the team is identified, NetSuite’s SuitePeople(opens in new tab) HR(opens in new tab) makes planning the onboarding process easy by:

  • Providing onboarding plan templates for more consistent employee experiences
  • Assigning tasks to each member with due dates
  • Facilitating personalized welcome messages to new employees
  • Notifying assigned members of the plan of newly-created tasks or updates via email.

All of this can be set up before the employee’s first day to make sure that first day experience deepens the connection for the employee to the company. To further automate this process, IT or managers can add an equipment purchase task to the plan and use NetSuite’s procurement solution to ensure the equipment arrives on time.  Gone are the days of a new employee having to wait a week or longer for a laptop or other needed equipment.

First Day Impressions Matter

Once the onboarding plan is in place, SuitePeople HR helps to ensure high levels of visibility and engagement with the process for everyone. It starts with a personalized experience for the new employee when they log into the Employee Center. Personalized messages welcoming them to the company are the tiny details that go a long way in making a new employee feel valued and motivated to get working and productive faster. Employee self-service allows them to set up payroll deductions, review or change personal information and set up direct deposit. With a clear set of onboarding tasks and goals, new employees are able to get through the process faster, feel an early sense of accomplishment by completing the plan strengthening their connection with the company and the role.


Managers play an important role in the onboarding process and have much to gain by getting their new hires assimilated to the company and working in their roles as quickly as possible. The connection between the manager and the new employee is critical to increase engagement and reduce turnover. SuitePeople HR provides complete visibility for managers so that they stay on top of their tasks, complete them on time and provide direction for their new hires.

SuitePeople HR also provides:

  • An onboarding portlet in the Employee Center to remind the onboarding team when tasks are due.
  • The ability for new hires to connect with other new hires to increase their connection to the company and other employees from within the Employee Center.
  • The ability for current employees to easily welcome new employees with embedded messaging.

With all of this onboarding information within NetSuite, HR leaders have new insights into the onboarding process to make it even more efficient and effective. Employees have their highest levels of engagement on their first day.  Creating an onboarding plan and having it ready for them will only increase or maintain that level of engagement, help retain more talent and get employees producing for their manager faster with more confidence and enthusiasm.

With a more structured, automated and engaging onboarding process, bringing new employees onboard whether into one location, many locations or home-based remote workers is faster resulting in higher employee engagement and productivity. A positive, welcoming onboarding experience has the added benefit of getting new employees to refer more talent into the company.

Automate Offboarding for Smoother Transitions

SuitePeople HR’s onboarding solution can also be used to offboard employees. While the goal of offboarding is different than onboarding, the process needs to be efficient in order for employees to successfully separate from the company with a positive experience. Offboarding should include the return of all company equipment, final paychecks, PTO liability payments, final expense reimbursements and the completion of exit interviews. Similar to the onboarding process, it takes a team to successfully offboard an employee.  To help automate this process, SuitePeople HR provides:

  • Offboarding templates and checklists
  • Task assignment with due dates
  • Offboarding task completion notification

Read how NetSuite customer Journelle reduced administrative overhead(opens in new tab) by streamlining the onboarding process and other time consuming tasks with SuitePeople.

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