There’s a secret to standing out in today’s employee-centric job market, and it isn’t in your brand book. Or your benefits package. Or your kegerator.
It’s in your onboarding program. No period in the employment lifecycle is more important than an employee’s first 90 days on the job. Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored the myriad reasons why, from financial savings to improved oversight and compliance outcomes. We also recently hosted an onboarding webinar with Hireology VP Scott Brinkman and Sandy Zannino, founder and CEO of Innovative Auto HR.
Now, as we wrap up our series of articles on this topic, let’s review what we’ve learned and take a look at the top 8 reasons employers should optimize their onboarding programs:
1. Onboarding Can Reduce Turnover (and Turnover Costs)
Turnover is expensive. How expensive? SHRM estimates that the total cost associated with replacing an employee ranges between 100–300% of the individual’s salary. We’re not just talking about taking out ads or paying recruiters. When a worker quits, other employees need to pick up the slack, draining the organization of time, energy, and resources. Companies that invest in effective onboarding procedures save money by retaining 50% new hires than they would otherwise.
2. Standardized Onboarding Is a Competitive Edge
Fewer vacant jobs also mean higher rates of productivity. When members of your workforce aren’t scrambling to fill positions and juggle multiple roles at once, they can focus entirely on the work in front of them. The result: employees who are happier and more productive—50% more productive to be precise. This, in turn, improves how your organization looks to candidates prospective hires. Would you rather work for the company where everyone seems overwhelmed, or the competitor down the street that seems to take great care of its people?
3. Onboarding Ensures Workforce Compliance from Day One
Your compliance program is what keeps your business protected, and onboarding is the first step. In broad terms, the compliance training an employee undergoes during onboarding sets the tone for the employee’s experience in the workplace: what kind of conduct is expected, how to interact with customers and team members, and so forth. But equally important are the details. With regulators stepping up audits of I-9 forms and other employment documents, no company can risk taking a non-standardized approach to compliance paperwork.
4. Onboarding Provides New Hires With the Information They Need to Do Their Jobs
Very few people walk into a new job knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. The onboarding process is your opportunity to clarify fundamental expectations, address uncertainties, and answer big questions before they can develop into safety issues and productivity killers. It’s everything from making sure employees have access to the tools and equipment they need to setting the framework for an ongoing with management and leadership.
5. Onboarding Helps Maintain—and Enrich—Organizational Culture
When people are assessing job opportunities, culture makes all the difference.
“I don’t think we can overemphasize the importance of culture,” said Sandy. “Culture can be described simply as: What is it like to work around here? Onboarding is the opportunity for the organization to answer that question.”
Through onboarding, an organization can clearly demonstrate its mission, values, and unique characteristics—at a moment when employees are at their most receptive. Onboarding also shows new hires how they can interact with and influence the culture through their actions and attitudes at work.
6. Onboarding Can Cultivate Teamwork, Mentorship, and Leadership
Managers can take a number of concrete steps during the onboarding process to forge powerful, lasting connections with employees. Beyond helping new hires feel acclimated to the workplace, effective onboarding uses the human element to connect employees—new and old—on an emotional, personal level. It’s a crucial way in which managers develop members of their teams, pass along institutional knowledge, and plant the seeds for future organizational leaders. Rather than looking for a new job, employees will be motivated to go after roles within the business.
7. Onboarding Keeps Your Managers Accessible and Accountable
When an employee quits, they usually do so because of issues with their immediate boss. The best way to avoid this is through periodic meetings with managers and employees, especially at the outset. In addition to acting as barometers for worker well-being, these check-ins build rapport, provide employees with the chance to offer feedback, and keep management accountable.
“Most managers I know do daily walkthroughs,” said Sandy. “At the very least, they pass by and ask, ‘How is it going? Is there anything that you can do to help?’ This is important not only because it’s a reminder that your people are people and not just employee numbers, but because it’s an opportunity to find and correct any current compliance or performance problems. With technology and a fantastic communication system like Compli, you can help managers stay on track with 30-, 60-, and 90-day ‘check backs’ on top of day-to-day communication.”
8. Any Organization Can Implement an Effective Onboarding Program Easily
Sandy and Scott told us that although onboarding can seem overwhelming, it isn’t “rocket science.” To keep your onboarding program simple and aligned with your other workforce processes, follow the 5 C’s—compliance, clarification, culture, connection, and check back—give new hires access to information early, and leverage technology wherever you can.
“If an organization doesn’t have an onboarding program already in place, I think that the important part is starting, no matter where you start,” said Sandy.
“The challenge in all these things is just starting,” Scott added. “I would recommend picking something small—something you can do, complete, and roll out—just because that sort of positive reinforcement will naturally lead you to the next step you want to tackle. It makes things much less daunting.”
With Compli, you can roll out an onboarding program built on powerful automated workforce software. Whatever your onboarding program looks like (even if you don’t have a program in place), we’re here to help. See how easy it is to get started.