It’s one thing to recruit talent; it’s another to retain and inspire them from their first day on the job. Onboarding new employees helps ramp hires up for maximum productivity, and it increases the likelihood that they will stick around. This is critical because the time and cost of recruiting talent can be astronomical. One estimate from the Society for Human Resource Management puts the average cost of hiring a single employee at around $4,129 USD, while replacing an employee can cost as much as six months of an employee’s salary.
Companies need to be able to gain a positive return on the investment in hiring, training, and developing employees. A structured onboarding process has long-term benefits for organizations, including greater employee engagement and improved retention rates—two common challenges in the workplace. Fortunately, there are ways to create a manageable onboarding program for new hires that can maximize human capital.
Make the Most of Talent
In a time when great talent is getting harder to find, employers must make the most of every new hire to ensure they have people who will stay put for longer. According to a Brandon Hall study, a well-managed process for onboarding new hires has been shown to increase employee retention by as much as 82 percent. When employees are given a pleasant first experience on the job, with structure and support, this is carried with them for the long term.
Employee engagement levels can be dramatically improved when an onboarding program is in place to guide new hires through the challenges they may encounter. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report advises that 70 percent of the workforce is not actively engaged. Glint, a real-time engagement software firm, found that new hires are slightly more engaged than more seasoned employees, but 40 percent of employees who had a poor onboarding experience felt disengaged within the first 90 days on the job and, furthermore, would not recommend the company to peers.
Setting Up a Structured Process
The evidence is there, then, that onboarding new employees is a must-do for all employers. And this can be an ongoing effort that begins on the first day the new hire arrives and throughout the career experience of every employee. Setting new hires up for success is not about a one-day orientation. Instead, the company needs to have an onboarding program that starts with a formal introduction to the company, its values, leadership and the industry as a whole. An onboarding process can include several weeks of specific tasks that orient employees to the company, colleagues, customers, technology and more.
The other element to a successful onboarding program is pairing new hires up with mentors within the organization. Choose seasoned employees to provide long-term support and guidance as new hires learn their tasks. Management should be directly involved with each and every employee with regular touch-points—long after the initial onboarding phase. Daily meetings for the first week followed by weekly meetings with employees can reduce any obstacles that may present themselves. This also allows new hires to voice concerns and ask questions that will empower them to be successful.
In order for new hires to fully experience the corporate culture, the onboarding program can be designed to help employees find their place in the organization. This is an area that many employees struggle with and, therefore, lose interest in during the first few months on the job. Millennials have surpassed all other generations in the workforce, and onboarding programs need to cater to their needs. Statistically, millennials are more apt to change jobs if they do not feel supported and understand how they impact the organization. They want clear direction and structure, as well as quick access to the information and resources they need to excel at work. New hires of this generation desire to know what their role is in the bigger picture, and how they contribute to the outcomes of the department and company.
By developing an onboarding program that keeps these factors in mind, any organization can increase new hire engagement, retention and productivity that support long-term objectives.