All too often, the lack of success between a new hire and their new company can be directly attributed to an ineffective (or obsolete) onboarding strategy. A comprehensive onboarding plan welcomes and orientates new employees and introduces them to corporate culture, it establishes roles and responsibilities, improves time to productivity, and positively influences retention rates. With that said, few of today’s cost-conscious companies prioritize onboarding programs – a costly mistake.
The 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey revealed that the ‘average’ cost to fill one professional position is about $11,000. However, the survey also reported that companies lose an average of 25% of all new hires within their first year of employment. So to spend $11K hiring someone, only to have them resign within less than a year, must be the cause of many sleepless nights for those responsible for talent development. And the top reason cited by employees on why they leave? You’ve guessed it – onboarding.
Now, given this insight, it came as a surprise to me that the corporate budget dedicated to onboarding was less than you’d probably imagine. Approximately 35% of companies admitted that they spend $0 on onboarding. Yes, you read that right – zero. Companies spend an average of $11K on hiring someone and then spend $0 on making them productive. What’s wrong with this picture?
The impact of ineffective onboarding to an employers bottom-line is VERY real. But it’s not just premature resignations that are costing companies millions, there are also negative costs associated with employees who stay and remain quietly under-productive. In the US alone, an estimated $300 billion is spent annually on under-productive employees who do not understand their jobs—much of which can be attributed to improper onboarding.
So what can forward-looking companies do to supercharge their onboarding ROI?
Here are 6 suggestions:
1. Provide continuous training
38% of companies admit to a standard of 1-2 days onboarding programs, a week at most, then it’s sink or swim time for new hires. And 25% do not include any kind of job duty training. However, a continuous, drip-fed approach to training will ensure employees don’t feel like they’re treading water and reduce stress during those vulnerable first 6 months when over 90% of employees decide to stick or abandon ship.
2. Deliver information in easily-digestible amounts
New employees are eager to impress, so most won’t admit to feeling overwhelmed on their first few days. Don’t dump too much information all at once, as most will not be retained. You’re wasting both your, and your new hires time. Instead, break down your training into easily digestible chunks for new employees to absorb, and reinforce over predetermined periods to optimize time to productivity.
3. Align new hires responsibilities to key business goals
A mere 7% of employees today say they fully understand their company’s business goals and strategies and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve those goals. You can increase both employee and business performance by personalizing the onboarding experience and tying their individual roles and responsibilities to the company’s overall strategy.
4. Measure base competencies and work to close knowledge gaps
30% of companies reported that it takes at least a year for a new employee to reach full productivity. By issuing an initial evaluation of what a new hire does and doesn’t know, you can zero in on what each employee needs to know to do their job well, and begin work to close those knowledge gaps.
5. Track new hire success, and provide regular feedback
60% of companies admit that they don’t set any formal milestones or goals for new hires. Those companies who have the ability to provide immediate feedback on how a new hire is doing, and can communicate progress overall, help employees feel more competent, confident and better able to perform on the job—leading to higher levels of satisfaction and retention.
6. And for goodness sake have some fun!
Studies show that by promoting a social learning environment which understands that work and play can, and should co-exist, you’ll help new hires integrate into the team, reduce turnover and boost overall morale—which will go a long way towards keeping employees happy, and your organization running smoothly.
Written by Sabrina Prudham