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Why Onboarding Matters and Effects Retention in the Long Term

Feb 04, 2022
Why Onboarding Matters and Effects Retention in the Long Term

The need for organizations to hire and retain candidates with the highest talent potential is increasing at a rapid rate. There’s nothing more rewarding in recruitment than finding the right talent and fit for an organization. In the same manner, there’s nothing worse than losing the top talent to competitors.

While some candidates decide to leave an organization for reasons out of an employer’s control, there are a number of factors that employers can influence to prevent employees from looking elsewhere. One of the most impactful ways to reduce employee turnover is improving the onboarding process.

According to Glassdoor research, organizations with a robust onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.

However, Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees. That means 88% believe their organizations do a great job at onboarding, which leaves room for a lot of improvement.

Onboarding isn’t just a week’s task—it is a continuous process that determines your retention and turnover

Your onboarding should ideally focus on keeping your employees enthusiastic about their role and your organization in the short term. Ensure all the necessary paperwork is done and that they have access to all the required resources to help them perform their role to full potential. And lastly, acclimatize them to your company culture and help them get along well with your current team in the most frictionless manner possible.

Keeping the future in mind, your at-large onboarding should focus on promoting continued training and learning and ensuring an environment where your employees feel they belong, are appreciated, and get opportunities for personal growth.

What’s essential to building a rock-solid onboarding program

58% of organizations say their onboarding program focuses on processes and paperwork. It’s no surprise that only 12% of employees think their organization does a great job onboarding.

Furthermore, one-third said their onboarding was inconsistent, informal or reactive. The best employee onboarding programs are structured, focused on people rather than administrative, and full of paperwork.

  • Organizational aspect

HCI states that most organizations stop onboarding after the first week, leaving new hires confused and discouraged. It’s a no-brainer that organizations aren’t doing a great job with onboarding when the process is completed so quickly.

A week is not enough time for a new hire to become acclimated to their company, culture, and role. The best employee onboarding extends throughout the first 90 days—and can extend out for a full year—to fully support new hires as they ramp to maximum productivity.

What can you do differently?

→ Teach your new employees how things work at your organization. The most critical aspect of effective onboarding should be providing employees access to information they would need to perform their duties like an office tour, an ID card, and taking them through benefits, rules, and policies in detail.

→ Help them feel a part of your organization by familiarizing them with your organization’s values and norms, especially during the first year. Additionally, every quarter, hiring managers should have conversations about the organization’s goal, vision, and growth opportunities for new hires. Share success stories of current outperformers that demonstrate your appreciation for an employee.

  • Technical aspect

→ Just because a candidate possesses specific capabilities and experiences during the interview process doesn’t mean that they would be required in their new role and implemented in the same manner as their last organization.

New hires with expertise in certain areas can quickly start feeling like complete beginners at their new job. To avoid this situation, provide your new hire with a detailed job description that includes accountabilities and well-defined boundaries regarding available organizational powers and resources they should be familiar with.

Book weekly coaching to ensure they have opportunities to make a healthy contribution to your organization’s success.

→ Converse and come up with defined goals to have realistic expectations. A good way to do this is by assigning tasks expected to be completed within a particular period, like 3, 6, or 9 months. Start with goals that your new hire can achieve using their current skill set while giving them an equal opportunity to grow in any other areas of interest that they may want to advance into.

This will send a strong signal that you trust them enough and are focused on their growth. Throughout this process, you will also get a clear idea of the gaps in your new hire’s skillset. Try to close them through fruitful discussion with actionable plans.

  • Social aspect

→ Help them get along with the rest of the team. Isolation in new hires can make them feel like complete outsiders increasing their likelihood of leaving.

Building relationships and incorporating a strong sense of community into your organizational values can help new hires feel more confident. They should have a strong idea about whose success relies on their role and vice versa. This way, employees feel that no person’s work at your organization can run in isolation and produce better outcomes. Everyone should have more coherent and well-defined common goals.

On top of all, keep the enthusiasm going

Usually, only the first few days of a new hire are filled with enthusiasm and full energy, and as time passes, it dwindles. To keep that flow continuous, build an environment of employee recognition, inclusion, and companionship, along with solid teamwork ethics.

Make new hires feel appreciated by giving shoutouts during meetings. Promote companionship by hosting meetings or parties to help employees get to know each other outside of work. Ensure inclusion by telling everyone that they are highly valued. To measure the success of all these strategies, ask employees for regular feedback to promote a healthy work environment at your organization.

All in all

Talent management is something that most leaders often worry about but pay very little attention to when onboarding new hires. Organizations unintentionally drive away talented candidates due to inefficient hiring and onboarding. The situation can be frustrating and hinder growth and hiring efforts. A seamless employee onboarding process can help you engage and retain employees from day 1. As a result, determining what constitutes successful onboarding should be one of your top priorities.