Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Onboarding & Retention Relationship

         O.C. Tanner reports that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their places of employment for at least three years after a great onboarding experience. Back in 2009, an Aberdeen Group survey reported that 86% of senior executives and HR professionals believe that a new hire’s decision to stay with an organization long-term is made within the first six months of employment. Is the process of onboarding really that critical to retention?

         Research suggests that perhaps the first 90 days of employment are more critical than we think in terms of retention. The Wynhurst Group found that 22% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment. BambooHR found that one-third of 1,000 individuals surveyed quit a job within six months of hire. A study from Kronos Incorporated earlier this year also indicates that many feel the onboarding process can affect employee retention, as it should include more than orientation paperwork. Also of note is that

  • 60% of survey respondents felt the main purpose of onboarding is to integrate employees into the organization’s culture.
  • 36% blame insufficient technology for their inability to automate and better organize onboarding programs…resulting in the inability to properly train managers in proper onboarding techniques.

        Sharlyn Lauby, the HR Bartender & president of ITM Group, Inc. explains, “We all know turnover is expensive, both in terms of direct costs and intellectual capital. Organizations can increase retention by focusing on those activities that get employees engaged from the start. One way to do that is by taking care of administrative paperwork before day one so employees can focus on their role and other things that matter to them most. Onboarding processes set new hires up for success by building positive work relationships, making good on promises made during interviews, and providing a career roadmap.”

        What should an organization consider when creating an onboarding program geared to retain an employee? In an article on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) site, Roy Maurer quoted Amber Hyatt from SilkRoad, suggesting these reflective, brainstorming questions:

  • When will onboarding start?
  • How long will it last?
  • What impression do you want new employees to walk away with at the end of the first day?
  • What do new employees need to know about the culture and work environment?
  • What role will HR play in the onboarding process? What about direct managers? Co-workers?
  • What kind of goals do you want to set for new employees?
  • How will you gather feedback on the program and measure its success?

          Another aspect to consider is technology. Although nothing will replace one-on-one conversation and experience within an organization’s culture, some organizations have taken the step to use technology to make the onboarding experience more robust:

  • Ashoka: the non-profit organization has an onboarding management system that allows new staff to complete tasks and set their own goals. It is said to empower new hires to “own their development.”
  • ADP: the software developers at ADP have software that give text and video introductions to new hires before they even enter the workplace.
  • Yoi: the onboarding platform Yoi is based on the concept of “experiential learning.” Through a range of assignments and assessments, managers are able to customize the onboarding experience for all new employees.

         Have you given thought to updating the onboarding process at your organization? What are some changes you are considering? Will you be adding some technological upgrades? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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