How Important Is Onboarding In Your Hiring Process?

HR is in a quandary. Latest figures suggest that 90% of large organisations can predict and model their budget yet only 4% can model and predict their workforce. With such uncertainty, employers must reconsider their talent acquisition strategies.

Employer branding, culture and the candidate experience all play a role in attracting qualified candidates but most organisations are guilty of overlooking the final and most important element of the candidate experience – onboarding. PwC’s Adapt To Survive survey suggests that one in three new hires in the UK leave within a year, with 22% of these employees leaving within the first six weeks.

Poor onboarding plays a key role in these figures.

Why does onboarding matter?

Today’s new hires expect more than a brief orientation and a fistful of paperwork to review before being introduced to their new colleagues. The early stages of a fresh role bring enthusiastic employees who relish the challenge of a new job. As an employer it’s your opportunity to make a great first impression.

Effective onboarding accomplishes the following:-

  • Onboarding ensures your new hires remain engaged and feel part of your company culture, improving turnover levels. The new employee gets on with their job without feeling overly stressed or anxious about whether or not they are a suitable ‘fit’.
  • An onboarding experience which reflects the promises made during the interview process will ensure greater satisfaction, engagement and loyalty from your new employees.
  • It reduces the time-to-productivity, a critical metric in successful talent acquisition. With a third of UK companies experiencing turnover levels as high as 21% a strong onboarding programme will reinforce the new hire’s value to employers and motivate them to succeed.  

According to the Aberdeen Group, the world’s most successful employers have an integrated onboarding programme to help them achieve just that, resulting in the following:-

  • 66% improved integration of their new hires
  • 62% higher time-to-productivity ratios
  • 54% higher engagement levels

Employee engagement, retention and time-to-productivity are the metrics which offer the most value to HR for assessing onboarding.

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Achieving successful onboarding

Implement the steps below for successful onboarding:-

Automate mundane processes : Sophisticated HR technology automates the administrative elements of the onboarding process, such as generating the offer letter and issuing reference requests and official checks where necessary, allowing HR to focus on welcoming the new hire into the company.

Begin onboarding immediately : With administrative elements taken care of, the process of integrating your new employee should begin as soon as your job offer is accepted and a start date agreed. Include your new hire in all relevant communications and add a personal touch with regular text messages to wish them a good weekend or ask if they have any questions about their new role, for example. Text messages can be personalised and automated through modern recruitment software. Senior management and HR should also be actively involved in this process.

Involve colleagues : Successful onboarding informs your new hire about your company values, culture and mission while ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their new position and how it fits in within the company’s overall vision and goals.Introduce them to colleagues early in the process and explain how your culture works. Quickly adapting to corporate and team etiquette is essential for a new hire to feel part of your organisation from the start, especially if it’s their first job.

Focus on training for skill : No employee arrives equipped to carry out every single aspect of their new role without appropriate training. HR must deliver on-the-job skills development at a pace that can be sustained and is acceptable to both parties.

Beyond onboarding

Finally, in moving beyond onboarding, employers must consider the following:-

  • Effective onboarding means that employees must understand how they will be assessed against their performance objectives in the future. Frequent communication and improved feedback is vital to retain and develop an evolving workforce. Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey reveals the need for regular, consistent feedback and ongoing career development to retain millennial hires.  
  • Take surveys at specific points in the first year of employment, for example, on acceptance of offer, during onboarding and following each review. While annual surveys are helpful, they are no longer the only source of feedback.
  • A recent report by Randstad echoes Deloitte’s findings into what today’s professionals want from their employers. Career growth opportunities, work/life balance, a competitive pay structure and inspirational leadership are all key to attracting and retaining talent and should be built into the onboarding experience. As Netflix this week raised the bar by launching unlimited parental leave for up to a year other employers will be forced to review talent attraction, onboarding and retention policies to compete.

Automate the administrative elements of your entire hiring process from job postings to onboarding with world class recruitment software that allows HR to focus on what really matters.

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