That’s how long it takes for a new hire decides whether s/he’s going to stay with your company, according to Elaine Orler, vice president of talent acquisition management at Knowledge Infusion. She presented an ERE.net webinar today about onboarding—orientation and integrating new hires into your company—as a way to reduce turnover. According to the research, you really only get between one and six months, and if you’re hiring for the long term, you want your people to stick around for much longer than that.

The presentation focused mainly on the use of technology: turning static HR pages into blogs, for instance, or creating a “New Employees” group on Facebook. She mentioned one company’s using podcasts as an orientation tool: “so people can access the information they need on the tools they already have on their back pocket,” she said.

But the webinar also emphasized good old face-to-face interaction: setting up a buddy or mentoring system for new hires is one of the most important things you can do, she said. They range in formality from “here’s the person on IM you can ask anything, or this is the person who’s taking you to lunch, or this is the person whose cubicle you’re next to. One size does not fit all.”

What’s the advantage to onboarding properly, besides retention? Simple. By having a process in place, you’re making your new hires productive and effective quicker, and that means savings.

The webinar archive will be posted online here tomorrow.