The Talent Scout Episode 62: The importance of onboarding
4 minutes | Posted 03 June, 2021

Onboarding is a vital component of a successful and growing organization. It has a huge impact on employee productivity but it also can factor into overall employee retention. Up to 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. What happens during these first 45 days is an onboarding failure that costs the organization time and money without even mentioning the loss of a potentially great new team member. The costs are not only the recruitment costs of finding a replacement but also the lost revenue, either directly or indirectly, of the missing team member. Worse still, this loss could have been avoided by investing within your onboarding. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they experience great onboarding.

What really great onboarding of a new hire looks like will vary with different organizations and roles but at a minimum, it should be more than an orientation of teams and it should last longer than the first day. Onboarding is just as much about getting your new hire up to speed as quickly as possible, as it is about making them feel welcome, giving them a purpose, and embedding them within your company culture. That said, achieving a positive onboarding experience has always been challenging. HR believe it’s the hiring managers job, hiring managers feel recruitment should have already covered the basics, and recruitment have already moved on to the next role that they need to fill. Add remote working into the mix and many new hires are feeling pretty isolated by their new employers. However, it isn’t impossible to achieve a positive onboarding experience. With the right technology, and a bit of dedication, any organization can successfully onboard a new hire and give them all they need to be a successful and engaged member of the team.

Mapping out your employee lifecycle

Every employee within your organization has a journey during their time with you. They first make contact with you as an applicant for an open role and at some point, they will end their time with you either through retiring, resignation, or termination. Mapping out this journey can be a very useful exercise for understanding your employee base better, but mapping out the first leg of this journey is the first step towards improving your employee onboarding experience. When mapping out this first leg, ask yourself some questions. Who do your employees interact with? Where are the choke points? At which early points in their time with you are your employees left to their own devices for a lengthy period of time? Armed with this information, you’ll have a better understanding of what your recruitment process currently looks like and what challenges you need to overcome. If you’re still unsure as to where your pain points lie, anonymously surveying the employees that have been with you for a year or less can yield incredibly useful information.

Building goals into your onboarding

New employees want to feel like they add value. There’s nothing worse than staring at a monitor for most of a day because your manager is too busy to take you through what’s expected of you. A way of combatting this sentiment is by building clear and achievable goals into your onboarding experience. What should your new hire have achieved by the end of their first day? By the end of their first week? And again by the end of their first month? Clear and actionable goals that a new hire can work towards are a great way of building engagement. As time passes these goals should become more complex and relevant to their role but for the first day their goal could be as simple as learning one fact about each member of their new team.

Onboarding before the first day

Onboarding begins long before the first day. As soon as a candidate verbally agrees to an offer your onboarding process has begun. Likely the first way your candidate is going to experience this is by receiving their contract. If you’re still using hardcopy contracts that you deliver by mail it’s time to consider evolving. If you’re using email for contracts and expecting candidates to print them and sign them before returning them to you, again, you’re making the very first step of your onboarding process more laborious and stressful than it needs to be. Moving your contracts and onboarding documentation to be electronic and allowing your new hires to sign them electronically is a much more positive experience for your candidates and allows you to start your overall onboarding process on the right foot. Using Scout’s Onboard tool is one means of bringing your contracts entirely online and achieving this positive initial start with your new team member.

Many organizations with a strong onboarding process will reach out to their new team members several times prior to their start date. Some will send videos with introductions, cakes, flowers, or even something as simple as more information about the organization and its goals. We here at Scout Talent have frequent team-building events and reward nights, if a new hire is onboarding we’ll often invite them to one of these events ahead of their start date so that they can get to know the team better.

Training within onboarding

Training a new hire is typically a very important part of onboarding. You want your new joiner to be successful within their role as quickly as possible and in order to do that, you need to give them relevant and effective training. This training can be hands-on 1:1 learning or self-learning guided by examples depending on the role in question. Whatever form this training exists within, make sure it’s useful and relevant to the individual or else they’ll quickly grow disengaged.

Utilizing a learning management system, like the one that we offer here at Scout Talent, can be a really effective way of ensuring uniform training and lining up the goals of your onboarding program. A learning management system allows you to centralize your training while enabling your users to partake within it from their own computer when they have the time. This can also be an effective way of giving your new joiners something to do during those initial awkward moments of their career with you when they’re at a loose end and unsure what they should be next working on.

Closing thoughts

Onboarding is much more than a buzzword and needs a dedicated effort in order to get it right. A positive onboarding experience helps prevent early turnover within your employee base and also ensures that your new hires are quickly achieving the goals that they need to achieve in order to be successful within their roles. It benefits employers by saving revenue and increasing productivity while benefiting employees by embedding them within an organization and enabling them to achieve.

To make sure that you don’t miss an episode of The Talent Scout, sign up below.