The first day at a new job can be a social nightmare for most people.
On the one hand, you will spend most of the day repeating your name, and on the other, there may be a chance that no one will remember that you were coming.
With unemployment being at a record ow, employee retention should be an HR team’s smallest concern. And yet, according to a survey by Ladders, in which more than 2,000 American workers were polled, one in three workers say that an awkward first date is preferable to attending onboarding orientation for a new job,
According to SHRM employee turnover was expected to cost companies $600 billion in 2018. .
Retention starts early, and a solid onboarding program is essential for businesses that want to succeed.
Past and current research has found employee onboarding to be one of the most important functions of human capital management. It determines employee engagement, productivity, commitment, and retention.
Despite these revelations, very few companies question whether their onboarding programs are effective, as seen by Deloitte.
“Employees expect more from companies today, and if they don’t feel connected and onboard they will leave for a new opportunity somewhere else,” Christian Harpelund, Cofounder, Onboarding Group.
HR and associated leadership teams need to note that for new hires, the first six to 12 months are absolutely critical.
Almost 90% of new hires decide whether they want to leave or stay with a company within the first six months on the job, and lack of effective onboarding is recognized as a key reason why companies lose 17% of their new hires within the first three months.
In accepting a job offer, new hires immediately demonstrate their confidence in the company and their upcoming roles. The HR team must ensure that the onboarding process cements this commitment in the long term.
All implemented employee onboarding initiatives should focus on making new hires feel valued, accepted and ready for their place in the company.
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Why Effective Onboarding is Critical
There are both overt and subtle financial and productivity costs related to poor onboarding practices on businesses worldwide. Let’s look at a few:
- Not many HR practitioners realize that just over 77% of workers who left their jobs could have been retained.
- Glassdoor (2018) states that the average employer spends $4,000 and 24 days on a new hire, but the average cost of replacing an employee ranges from 16% and 20% of that employee’s salary, according to Contract Recruiter. (2015).
- In 2018, Urbanbound reported that an estimated $37 billion is spent annually to keep unproductive employees who don’t understand their job in the U.S. and U.K.
- Employees whose companies have longer onboarding programs gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in the shortest programs.
The research reveals that:
- Onboarding remains an institutional weakness for a majority of organizations, stalling momentum and disengaging employees in their first crucial weeks of a job.
- 76% of HR leaders admit that onboarding practices are underutilized in their organization.
- Organizations focus too much on the orientation process, putting too much emphasis on new hire paperwork, and not nearly enough on long-term retention.
More accountability is needed as more HR practitioners embrace data-driven decision-making because onboarding presents a critical blind-spot.
The Benefits of Effective Employee Onboarding
- Improved employee experiences in the entire organization
- Better job satisfaction
- Employees feel more connected to their co-workers
- Employees are quickly integrated into their company culture
- Improved perceptions of HR and the organization
- Easier talent attraction
How to Improve Your Onboarding Experience
Focus on that First Impression
The onboarding challenge is greater than an individual or department.
Per the Ladders research, new hires desire a walk-through of key processes. Specifically:
- 58% prefer an assigned work buddy they can turn to for questions.
- Another 58% listed time to review onboarding materials as a concern.
- 47% shared that a welcome lunch would make the first day at work even better.
For maximum effectiveness, it’s important to incorporate and train direct line managers on the importance of an inclusive onboarding process, and to encourage their continued participation.
Talya Bauer, Ph.D., author of Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success shares that it takes about 90 days for an employee to fully prove themselves in a new role.
Bauer identifies four distinct levels of onboarding, organized below from the least to the most effective:
- Compliance: HR communicates about legal and policy-related issues.
- Clarification: HR ensures that the job role’s expectations are abundantly clear.
- Culture: Where new hires are introduced to the organization’s values and norms.
- Connection: Guiding employees to make personal relationships and information networks.
Further research that companies that pay attention to the relationship between the social and the career elements of employee onboarding greatly increase overall employee performance.
Rather than overwhelming your new hires with tons of information, use technology to streamline basic administrative processes.
World Manager’s custom solution allows employees to absorb large chunks of the necessary information in a more relaxed, manageable way.
However, technology shouldn’t replace required one-on-one interactions between new hires and various members of the organization. This is part of elevating the entire experience.
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Emphasize Culture and Connection
Companies don’t just want to attract the right talent; They want to retain them.
To this end, it is vital to work on building and maintaining a strong, deliberate company culture and sharing it throughout the recruitment and onboarding processes.
69% of companies report easier assimilation into their corporate culture following a substantial investment in onboarding strategies.
The onboarding period is the perfect opportunity for HR teams to craft and share heartfelt and genuine stories, covering:
- The organization’s history
- Core company values
- Notable people
- What big plans the future holds
The company has to find out what drives the new hires. What do they want to achieve? What’s their backstory? And how do these stories fit in with the company mission?
All available onboarding materials or face to face meetings should reinforce the organization’s values and confirm cultural alignment with the new hires and incumbent employees too.
The right company backstory can be the key to appealing to the new employees’ agendas, making them commit to a company cause right from day one.
Invest in Career Development
People love working for companies that allow them space for new learning and development.
They want to see a structured path forward after choosing to join and follow a company. Growth opportunities could be in the form of:
- cross-training initiatives
- rotational departmental projects
- using digital platforms to invite employees to showcase their ideas
The leading factor that determines successful engagement and retention among millennial employees (born between 1980-2001) is professional growth and career development.
By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce.
Asking the right career-development questions before and during the onboarding process is the best way to understand a new hires’ career growth aspirations.
This information helps HR teams shape the right development programs which deliver tremendous results.
Investing in employee career development isn’t just a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. It is a necessity for companies looking to retain and engage this powerfully evolving workforce.
Consider Using an LMS
A learning management system such as ours maximizes the effectiveness of onboarding, resulting in the highest engagement potential in new and current hires.
If new employees are subjected to traditional classroom courses during their first day or week, the chances of content retention are slim to minimal.
An LMS can be about much more.
Organizations can also use this solution to harness their brand power by continuously driving the corporate identity message home in creative ways.
An LMS can significantly reduce the administrative workload related to traditional onboarding methods. Companies can automatically assign their onboarding program(s) to the right employees, and ensure that each of them receives consistent and up-to-date learning content.
Other benefits of using an LMS in employee onboarding and continued training are:
- A return on investment of approximately 350 percent, according to a study from Accenture, which states that for each dollar a company invests in training, it will receive $4.53 in return.
- A $30 rise in productivity for each dollar they invested as noted by a True Focus Media study.
- An efficient corporate culture with integrated and essential learning materials.
- A faster way to track each worker’s learning process during onboarding, product training, sales training and much more.
- Shorter learning times and huge cost savings.
- The benefit of keeping up with current industry regulations and best practices.
Your Next Move
The process of designing, implementing, maintaining and improving a strategic and successful employee onboarding program should be every company’s priority given the extensive benefits discussed here.
World Manager creates customized solutions, making it easy for new hires to access all the tools and resources they need for their internal and external job functions. All while facilitating better communication and collaboration.
Book a demo today.