When it comes to developing a successful retention strategy, the importance of onboarding is often overlooked. Given that up to 20 percent of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days, however, the onboarding process plays a critical role in employee retention. In fact, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding. So, what is your organization doing to optimize new hire onboarding?
Here are four ways HR and talent leaders can deliver a great onboarding experience:
1. Don't wait until an employee's first day
A strong onboarding program makes use of the time between when a candidate signs their offer letter and their first day on the job. In fact, Aberdeen Group found that 83 percent of best-in-class companies start onboarding prior to day one. Having a new hire spend their first day filling out paperwork doesn't really make for a standout first day. By taking care of the administrative tasks and providing information to new hires that will help them get acquainted before their first day, employees can instead spend their first eight hours on the job getting to know their colleagues and actively immersing themselves in your company's culture. Starting the onboarding process early helps new hires feel more welcomed and at ease on their first day, while also enabling them to get up to speed more quickly.
2. Make goal setting a priority
To engage new hires from the start, managers should work early on with employees to set career and performance goals, both short-and long-term. When employees have a clear understanding of their goals and expectations early in the onboarding process, they are more enthusiastic about their future with the company. They also are more invested in the success of the company, as they can understand the role they play in the organization's overall success.
3. Facilitate connection and collaboration
We've all been there after starting a new job: half the work seems to just be finding out where-or who-to go to for what. A big challenge for new hires is often just becoming familiar with the lay of the land and identifying where to turn for the information they need to do their jobs. By facilitating social and real-time collaboration with tools such as workspaces, talent leaders can help minimize new hire frustration while improving time-to-productivity. Considering a mentorship program as part of the onboarding process- in which a new hire is paired with an experienced colleague-can also help new hires feel like the organization is truly setting them up to succeed.
4. Extend the onboarding program
Given that 90 percent of employees are still deciding whether they'll stay at an organization throughout their first six months, why is it that onboarding typically stops at some point within the first 90 days? Establishing an onboarding process lasting at least six months that incorporates on-the-job training will help make sure employees gain the practical knowledge they need to stay engaged.
Effective onboarding is so much more than making sure the I-9 is filled out correctly and the new hires have all the info they need to complete their benefit elections. With these four tips, you'll be well on your way to delivering an outstanding onboarding experience that will enable your organization to improve employee engagement, retention and productivity.