Human Capital Management, Leadership

The Importance of a Positive Onboarding Experience

/ April 4, 2018 April 4, 2018

That pivotal moment when employees adopt your company’s vision and commit to their place in it…. it’s called onboarding!

Let’s talk about the facts;

  • A great onboarding process can reduce turnover by 157%, while also increasing employee engagement by 54%.
  • Good onboarding experiences lead to 62% of new employees meeting their performance goals in their first year
  • Organizations with best in class onboarding processes retain 91% of first year employees

However, according to Harvard Business Review, nearly a quarter of businesses reported not having a formal onboarding process in place and of those that did, 64% rated their current process as being “somewhat successful” or worse.

So what does a good onboarding experience involve?

The Aberdeen Group and Harvard Business Review say the a best practice onboarding processes and experiences share these characteristics;

  • That new hire forms are completed, collected and stored efficiently
  • New employees meet their team and gain knowledge to help them do their job well
  • New employees become familiar with your organizations culture and their place in it

It starts before day 1 –Pre-Boarding

Company ABC has just hired a new employee, within a day of accepting the employment offer, the new employee receives an email from their manager welcoming them to the organization. The manager sends over a list of instructions they’ll need to know prior to and on their first day. The new employee is relieved knowing they’ll be well prepared as they jump into this new role.

Pre-boarding offers the organization a chance to introduce new employees to the organization, its culture and what role they’ll play in it. It makes new employees feel welcomed and sets expectations for the road ahead. Pre-boarding reduces the time spent on their first day with tedious tasks and enables the onboarding efforts to concentrate on the employee’s role and responsibilities. Many organizations utilize an HRIS system that includes an onboarding module. Employees are able to fill out new hire documents (ensuring their information is correct), watch welcome videos and get the ground work done before they start.

Jump to our new employees’ first day at Company ABC; they walk into the lobby, they feel prepared and excited to hit the ground running. They are welcomed by their manager who shows them to their workspace that is donned with a welcome sign and set up with everything they’ll need to get started. As the new employee logs in they’ll find an email from the CEO welcoming them to the organization. Throughout the day other employees pass by and introduce themselves. Most importantly, their manager meets with them to go over their role and where it will play in the organization and provides an itinerary of their first week, 30 days, 60 days, etc. which includes a summary of their meetings that will get them up to date on key items. Managers play a pivotal role in retaining new employees and these moments solidify your new employee’s acclimation to your organization. According to Gallup, managers are accountable for 70% of employee engagement variance. A study of 7,200 U.S. workers found that half of employees leave their jobs due to their managers. Managers promote the company values/culture and creates the link between the new employee and the organization’s strategic goals. Their behaviors and actions must align with the organization’s culture or those employees won’t stay for long.

Onboarding is not just about the first 60 days. Nearly 33% of new hires began searching for employment elsewhere within their first six months on the job. A good onboarding process can take up to a year or more. Only 2% of companies extend onboarding beyond 1 year, according to the Aberdeen Group. It involves ensuring that your new employee is assimilating to their role and is meeting their objectives. Show them what their future career will look like at the organization. This sets your employees up for long term success and continues to keep them engaged long past onboarding.

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