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Onboarding Strategies Have a Longer Lasting Impact Than You Think

Posted by: ADP on 10 February 2016 in Human Capital Management

Giving new hires the best possible experience starts with employee onboarding strategies that focus on a proper orientation to the organisation and to the employee’s new responsibilities. A solid onboarding process benefits the business in terms of increased productivity, better retention and higher engagement levels for new hires. However, structured onboarding is too often overlooked and underutilised by organisations. The creation of a comprehensive onboarding process is integral to helping organisations retain and engage new employees long after the first few weeks on the job.

Many organisational leaders think they are doing enough to onboard new hires, when they are actually just running them through an unstructured orientation process. According to a Bersin by Deloitte study from 2014, “79 per cent of business leaders say (onboarding) is both an urgent and important priority.” Additionally they find that “more than 50% of organisations either have no structured onboarding solution or use a home-grown solution that has not been built for the competitive digital age.”

Employee Onboarding Strategies Make a Long-Lasting Impact

The first few weeks and months on a job are critical to a new hire and to his or her future at a job. Turnover among new employees in a workplace where there isn’t a consistent onboarding process is an on-going issue for many organisations. In fact, a survey by ADP showed that only nine per cent of managers and 20 per cent of HR professionals feel their organisation executes onboarding extremely well today. (1) This indicates that employers often fall short in the early days of employee engagement, making it difficult to retain and inspire the workforce.

The SHRM Foundation found that, for one organisation, “new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding program were 69 per cent more likely to remain at the company up to three years.” Impact Instruction Group, an Ohio based corporate training and development firm, advises that “the 30 per cent of our respondents who continually update their onboarding programs are likely better positioned to uncover and act upon industry indicators and employee trends in the organisation.” A smart onboarding program recognises the importance of an employee’s ability to ramp up key skills quickly, setting the employee up for success and enhancing the overall competitiveness of the business.

Guidelines for Creating Effective Employee Onboarding Strategies

It’s crucial for each organisation to establish a consistent onboarding process for all new employees while ensuring that it’s also customisable for the needs of a particular new hire. Designing employee onboarding strategies begins with a look at the short- and long-term needs of the business and the employee. Consider the benefits of both informal and formal processes, understanding that these two elements happen simultaneously:

  • An informal orientation occurs when employees learn about the corporate culture, processes and values of the organisation through personal experience. This is mainly peer led, so there isn’t always clearly identifiable structure.
  • Formal orientation is a focused effort by the HR team to carry out a written set of step-by-step policies, procedures and goals that are introduced to help each employee adjust to their new role. In this case, management support is integral.

In essence, the best of both worlds is a comprehensive program that combines the formal with the informal in a structured and consistent way, to set employees up for long-term success on the job, greater engagement and increased retention.

Onboarding Made Simple

Create a structured digital-onboarding process focused on human needs and outcomes using the “3 Cs”.

  • The goal is to help new hires assimilate quickly to ensure satisfaction with their new organisation and role. The first impression made when starting a new job can greatly affect the sense of comfort and belonging an employee feels for months, and even years, to come. Make the onboarding process educational, fun and supportive to set the tone for success.
  • Making a strong connection from day one with co-workers, managers, customers and the leaders of the organisation can enable greater productivity. Give all new hires their technology credentials and access to the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful right away. Assign new hires to a seasoned employee mentor so they have someone to lean on for on-going questions and learning. Schedule regular touch-point meetings between new hires and managers to overcome obstacles to success and to track progress.
  • Educate new hires about cultural norms, including the enterprise-wide values and expectations of the organisation. A video orientation or online training module can facilitate this part of the onboarding. Make sure the work environment is focused on integrating new hires into the corporate culture.

The above guidelines give your organisation a baseline to examine and improve onboarding strategies. These tenets directly address the increasing issues with new hire retention and can lead to improved productivity for recent hires as they work to establish themselves within the organisation and understand their role. Developing a strong digital onboarding process can provide a better return on investment for your business, because of increased retention, productivity and employee engagement.

Starting a new job is a big milestone for your new employees. Instituting a structured and comprehensive approach to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running on day one will help solidify the success of your new talent and, ultimately, your business.

  • ADP® Onboarding Study, 2015

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TAGS: Human Capital management long term success new hires onboarding satisfaction

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