Pump it Up!



Onboarding has been identified as a key process within the employee lifecycle which, if bungled, can lead to early departures and cost you top talent as well as a lot of money.

In fact, only 12% of employees say that their employer does a great job of onboarding, which is miserably low. In addition, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee turnover for new hires can be as much as 50% in the first four months for hourly workers and 50% in the first 18 months for senior outside hires. Think about the costs associated with that!

So, what’s the problem? Here are 7 things which have been identified as problems with many onboarding processes, with some tips to do things differently:

  • It’s “HR’s job”. Socialization is a major part of joining a new team yet, many times, leaders, managers and team members see onboarding as someone else’s job. Going out to lunch on the first day may not be enough to make newcomers feel they are truly a part of the team.

Managers should take an active role in onboarding. New employees need to make friends and know who to ask for help.

  • Onboarding is not long enough. Organizations obviously have an incentive to shorten the road for new employees. However, organizations should really think of onboarding as a much longer journey. Studies show that new employees typically take around 12 months to reach their full performance potential within a role.

Create regular check-in opportunities and developmental experiences well past the first month of employment. Also avoid comparing the performance of new employees with veteran employees too early.

  • Onboarding program doesn’t express your culture. Honestly…a PowerPoint slide with your core values listed is not enough to clearly convey what makes your organization a unique place to work.

Provide immersive experiences that let employees feel your values, not just be able to name them. They want to know what you believe — and how that makes a difference in the way works gets done. This can be achieved through storytelling, action, or role-playing.

  • What’s the future look like? Talented people want to work for you because they see possibilities. Onboarding shouldn’t feel like a bait-and-switch operation.

Managers should have conversations about an employee’s aspirations early on. Employees should also be introduced to learning and development opportunities that extend training beyond formal onboarding, so they can see a clear plan for their professional development.

  • If your onboarding is not exceptional, it’s broken. Employees who give their onboarding a “5” are about twice as likely to strongly agree that they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their new role.

HR leaders need to design a consistent, creative, and deeply engaging experience that WOWS new employees. Incorporate things like an online welcome package, having their workspace ready on day one, introduction to teammates, filling them in on perks and benefits, and assigning a mentor or guide. Finally, get them on board with learning right out of the gate.

  • You have no clue if it’s working or not. Most leaders don’t know their onboarding is broken until they’ve already lost top talent.

Organizations can systematically use pulse surveys throughout the onboarding process to identify when new employees are failing to connect. Use that data and connect it with the rest of your organizational performance metrics — engagement, performance and exit data, for example. Greater investments in onboarding are justified when you can prove the value of new programs to business outcomes.

  • It’s costing you money. A dysfunctional onboarding process loses exceptional talent.

When asked, most new employees leave because of the lack of: on-the-job training, a review of company policies, a tour of the company, their equipment already set up and ready to go, and a buddy or a mentor. The cost of finding, hiring, and training are exceptionally high. Conservative estimates indicate that it will cost a company one-half to two times an employee’s annual salary to identify and onboard a replacement. In a competitive talent marketplace, that’s a lot of wasted time and money re-finding your potential all-star.

So, pump it up! Fix your onboarding program now!

Source: Gallup

Give us a call at 513-528-9700 or contact me by email at jackie@talentmanagementllc.com to learn more.

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Jackie Messersmith is President and CEO of Talent Management LLC. Talent Management provides consulting services to small to mid-size businesses to put an employee engagement culture and talent strategy in place, and is the developer of Talent Snapshot®, an integrated, competency-based, online talent management solution. Jackie can be reached at 513-528-9700 or jackie@talentmanagementllc.com.