Onboarding a vital element for employee retention

Simply having an onboarding process for new employees is no longer good enough. Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies, believes those organisations who make staff feel like valuable resources from the first day at the company can gain critical competitive advantage.

The statistics back this up.

Companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. Unfortunately, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their business does a great job of onboarding. Additionally, most organisations stop their onboarding process after the first week, leaving new hires feeling confused, discouraged, and lacking resources.

Hardly surprising that the Society for Human Resource Management has found that employee turnover can be as much as 50% in the first four months for hourly workers, and 50% in the first 18 months for senior hires. And while a poor onboarding process cannot take all the blame for these figures, putting new appointments on the back foot from the get-go certainly does not help matters.

“Companies can ill afford not to do the basics right when it comes to onboarding. Things like providing a desk, laptop, stationary and so on for relevant appointments are not nice-to-haves but essential tools for the job. A negative onboarding experience can very quickly give a sense of disillusionment and have new staff looking for opportunities elsewhere,” says McAlister.

Process-focus

Effective onboarding programmes not only do the fundamentals right, they also clarify the employee’s role in the business, build confidence in the company, and aid in developing relationships with key staff members.

“Onboarding provides a critical link between attracting and hiring a person and making them feel engaged with the organisation. Doing this effectively helps the company fulfil on the promises made during the recruitment and hiring process. It provides a foundation for the employee experience and positions the brand reputation of the organisation to the employee in a very direct way.”

Furthermore, if the onboarding experience is positive, then new hires are likely to recommend the employer to others. Considering how valuable employee referrals are to identify and attract new talent, the value this offers cannot be underestimated.

“During onboarding, the company has the best opportunity to position the culture of the organisation to the new appointment. Many businesses adopt the mantra of people-centricity, but how many implement it when it comes to their internal resources? Mentoring and teamwork done through experiential means are invaluable to make an individual feel part of the company early on.”

A journey

In fact, investing time and resources in identifying the strengths of a new employee are great ways to build a close bond with that person. It shows that the business values the employee as an individual and does not see them as merely a number or cog in a larger wheel.

Generally, new appointees will have more than 50 activities that need to be completed during their onboarding period. This can include everything from signing documents, completing administrative tasks, and delivering certain learning goals during the process.

“Moreover, the potential for complicating the onboarding process is clear. Yet, companies should view it as part of a larger journey the person will be taking with the business. By doing the groundwork when a new hire starts, the company is positioning itself for the potential of a long and fruitful partnership into the future,” McAlister concludes.