Onboarding 5 min

What is the Cost of Onboarding an Employee? [Calculator]

May 16, 2019

While considering the cost of hiring an employee is important, it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Going beyond the easier cost-per-hire calculations and analyzing the cost of onboarding helps put things in perspective and gives you context for better staffing decisions.

What Is Onboarding?

The onboarding process is the period of learning and training after an employee joins the organization. As we’ve interviewed HR experts, their onboarding advice highlighted the same main point: paying attention to the employee experience during onboarding can lead to higher retention, improved employee satisfaction, and more productive collaboration between new employees, managers, and coworkers.

BambooHR found that employees who felt that they received effective onboarding are 18 times more likely to feel committed to their organization than employees who felt their onboarding process was less effective.

Onboarding Costs

An effective onboarding process is key to long-term success in an organization. As with many components of a business, there are costs involved in onboarding. Onboarding costs comprise all the equipment and working hours involved in helping a new hire successfully transition into your organization.

Specifically, onboarding costs may include the following:

  • Laptops, monitors, phones, and other physical equipment
  • Tools and software employees need to do their work
  • Time investment from IT, HR, and managers
  • First-day orientation and lunch
  • Training resources and time
The_Incredible_Impact_of_Effective_Onboarding_infographic-(graph-for-blog) (1)

Average Cost for Onboarding New Employees

The average cost per hire is an important piece of the average cost of onboarding a new employee. But first, let’s differentiate between the two: onboarding cost is what it costs to help a new hire transition into their new role, while cost per hire is the total cost of filling an open position from start to finish. Your organization’s average cost per hire may include advertising expenses, recruiting events, recruitment software fees, relocation expenses, and more.

According to a benchmark report from SHRM, the average cost per hire across organizations and industries is $4,125. But to calculate the cost of onboarding a new employee, you must also factor in the costs mentioned in the previous section:

How to Calculate Onboarding Costs

To determine the cost of onboarding a new employee in your organization, you’ll need to start with a few pieces of information. Here’s an onboarding cost calculator to help you develop a baseline cost for your onboarding process:

Onboarding Savings Calculator
Onboarding Savings

You can apply this formula of hours and salary to determine cost-per-hire for your existing employees during your onboarding process.

Let’s take the example of an onboarding program that includes 20 hours of dedicated, one-on-one mentoring from a manager or coworker. If a manager earned $60,000 annually, then these 20 hours would add up to $600 per new employee who joins the team.

How many hours will IT spend putting together workstations? How many hours will HR spend processing paperwork? Getting accurate figures for the hours and resources that go into onboarding a single employee can give you a clearer picture of the real cost of hiring a new employee.

How to Onboard Effectively

SHRM identified four elements employees need to develop during the onboarding process:  self-confidence, role clarity, social integration, and knowledge of culture. None of these attributes appear in the offer letter or the first paycheck, and unless you hire internally, even your best candidates will need to spend time developing them.

Discover what people expect from onboarding with this infographic.

It’s essential to provide time and structure for new hires and current employees to develop these connections. As you develop an onboarding process (and formalizing an onboarding process is an important first step), ensure that the managers and co-workers who need to participate have the space to do so. This may mean adjusting workload expectations as a new employee’s mentor helps them go through training.

Additional Onboarding Resources

Of course, the cost of onboarding a new employee isn’t the only factor when you’re considering how to onboard effectively. Paying attention to the other ways onboarding improves the employee experience can help prevent your new employees from jumping ship in the first six months.

Consider the following resources as you flesh out how to calculate onboarding costs:

Onboarding will be a recurring cost for your organization. How you handle onboarding plays a part in determining whether it happens due to growth or turnover. Taking the time to explore the many benefits of effective onboarding can help you make the right choices for your organization’s future.

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Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson expertly decodes all things HR, drawing on a decade of technical writing in the business organization industry to provide editorial support to internal and external learning programs at BambooHR. His writing explores the different motivations that shape the employee experience and the psychology of human resources.