The onboarding of new hires is one of the most critical things for a company to get right, yet it is also one of the things companies get so wrong, and the result can be devastating to the bottom line. The problem is that employees who don't go through a solid onboarding process often end up leaving their job out of frustration, or a lack of feeling that they have a worthwhile place within the company, among other reasons. As with many other facets of business, however, technology can make a major difference.
Statistics highlight just how important addressing this issue really is. For example, 20 percent of turnover occurs within the initial 45 days of employment, while 25 percent of new employees leave within the first year.1 On the flipside, if there's a solid onboarding process, 69 percent of employees will stay on for three years or more.1
Turnover is not only a massive hassle and disruption to operations; it's also incredibly costly. It may cost between $3,000 and $18,000 to replace an average employee.2
Employees need to have goals, and when you're not setting goals for new employees, it's easy for them to feel like they’re not a vital part of the company. These employees will likely be on the lookout for something better – somewhere they feel more appreciated and valued.
It's not as though businesses are intentionally leaving so many new hires this way. Most companies recognize the need to fix the problem, but may struggle to find a solution. Technology-based strategies can help, however.
One such strategy is to put together a set of digital onboarding courses that can help new hires get settled in and find their place within the company.
Bryan Adams, founder and CEO of Ph.Creative, recently wrote about just that in a column for Inc magazine: "It's a clever way to champion company culture, promote team values and get new hires up to speed. And best of all, you can ensure that onboarding programs are of a consistently high standard across the board. New recruits can follow guided 30, 60 or 90-day programs that help situate them within a new company and environment. Existing staff can focus on work, while still being able to support new hires in the best capacity." 3
Another option is to use digital tools from companies like Yoi, Workday, and Cornerstone OnDemand. As Keith Ferrazzi explains in Harvard Business Review, these tools "allow employees the opportunity to grow in this more practical, actionable manner," as well as "streamline communications across the enterprise, and bolster employee engagement throughout an employee’s tenure at the company."
Ferrazzi, who founded one of these companies, also recommends implementing digital behavioral assessments and interventions to improve the way companies measure employee behaviors related to job-specific knowledge and skills, core competencies, team integration, and work habit improvement. He compares the use of digital onboarding tools to the way Fitbit collects health indicators.
Of course, technology doesn't have all the answers. Writing out a solid onboarding plan and training onboarding staff in an effective manner can go a long way as well. Business consultant Larry Alton recommends designating a single person to oversee onboarding so they can perfect their approach as time goes on.5
As Alton notes, simply starting new hires off slowly is also something to seriously consider when it comes to onboarding and retaining new hires. "There’s no better way to scare someone off than by throwing them to the wolves their first day on the job," he said. "It’s tempting to get your employees trained and ready to work as quickly as possible for productivity reasons, but it’s better if you give them a chance to warm up to their environment. Introduce things one at a time, and give them some breathing room with breaks throughout the day. Employee retention is a marathon. You don’t want to exhaust them on day one."5
The reality is that there is no silver bullet answer to effective onboarding. It's a matter of trying things and learning from what works and what doesn't. You're never going to be able to completely prevent turnover, but if you take some steps to work at improving it, you stand to not only reduce disruption to your business and increase productivity, but also to save a great deal of money.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.