Talent Acquisition

The Importance of Effective Onboarding

Many businesses will claim to have an onboarding process when bringing new employees into the fold, but how many of them can say how effective that process really is? In too many cases, onboarding is an exercise in paper pushing, but getting a new recruit set up on payroll isn’t quite the same as helping them integrate with a brand new team in an alien environment. With the right approach to onboarding, new members of the team will integrate faster, be happier and more productive, and they’re far more likely to stick around for longer. It’s an easy win for businesses, so why isn’t onboarding being taken more seriously?

As any business will attest to, turnover is expensive. According to the Human Capitalist Institute, businesses that are wholly invested in their onboarding process are rewarded with higher levels of engagement, better employee focus and, you guessed it, drastically reduced turnover. However, coming up with an onboarding process isn’t a ‘one and done’ deal. It’s a living project that will require constant evolution to stay relevant and effective. This is most easily achieved when great ideas meet ground-breaking new technology, but that means little if an organization isn’t prepared to put its people first.

A 2017 Gallup Poll found that only 1 in 10 employees agree that their employer does a good job of onboarding new candidates. Combine this with the notion that a whopping 20% of new hires are likely to leave in their first 45 days, and a sad picture starts to emerge. Onboarding and retention are inextricably linked. In fact, research by Gillespie Associates found that having an effective integrated onboarding process meant that employees were 60% more likely to remain with an organization for at least three years. In other words, if a business gets its onboarding strategy right, it’ll make huge savings on what can be an expensive hiring process.

It isn’t just about retention either. The Harvard Business Review tells us that it can take new starters up to 12 months to reach their full productivity level with little or no onboarding strategy in place. Should that really be a cost businesses continue to pay as we move into 2020? Of course not.

So, what is ‘good onboarding’ and how can it be achieved?

For some businesses, it might seem like an almost unattainable goal, but with the right ideas and the technology to realize them, it’s perfectly within reach. Not only can powerful new HR platforms streamline the administrative side of onboarding, but there are also now a plethora of tools available, like HR chatbots, to help new starters integrate with their team and get their bearings.

Setting up group ‘communities’ on networking platforms can help to connect employees with shared interests and goals from day one. Businesses can also go one step further and include social profiles to allow new starters to express themselves and get to know their colleagues on a more personal level. This level of accessible networking can really help a candidate hit the ground running when starting a new role, removing much of the anxiety associated with socializing and fitting in. It can also make managers and leaders more personable and recognizable, making meetings and introductions quicker and easier.

Sure, admin is important, but clever onboarding does a lot more than crossing the I’s and dotting the t’s. It can help a business establish its culture and set a productive, uplifting tone for the entire organization. Step by step, businesses can create an ever-evolving onboarding process that sees their employees click faster, work happier and make valuable contributions for years to come. After all, isn’t that why they were hired?

About the author: Mark Williams is Senior Vice President of Product, at People First. Mark is dedicating to re-humanizing the workplace, feeding his passion to build enjoyable technology that actually helps people, inside and outside of work. Mark has spoken at many industry events on topics spanning artificial intelligence, robots, chatbots and the future of work, and he is always keen to connect with enlightened leaders to continue the future of work discussion.


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