The Business Impact of Orphaned Onboarding
A dear friend of mine runs the IT Helpdesk at a company that shall remain nameless. Generally speaking, when an organization hires a new person, in today’s digital age one of the first priorities is to ensure that the new hire has access to all the technology necessary to do his or her job successfully. If I told you how many times my friend has learned that a new hire needs a laptop or iPad as much as a week after a person’s start date, you’d be shocked. Imagine being asked to learn a new job while spending an entire week without the proper devices.
Unfortunately, this situation is still not unique. In recent years, organizations have invested heavily in streamlining application practices, enhancing the candidate experience and crystallizing the employer brand. Then, according to HCI research, 58% of onboarding programs still focus on paperwork. And in worst case scenarios, organizations are not preparing new employees to begin learning the ropes and empowering them to do the job for which they were hired. This lack of focus on onboarding means organizations are failing to deliver on promises made during the talent acquisition process, and it has a real effect on the bottom line.
Ineffective onboarding programs are often what I call “orphaned”—nobody in the organization truly owns the process. Human Resources makes sure paperwork gets done. The new supervisor is responsible for training. The IT department is responsible for setting up computers and passwords. There might be an “orientation” led by various managers to help familiarize the new employee with the structure of the organization. There is a to-do list of tasks for new employees that eventually all get finished but there is no structure or intention driving the process.
What’s at stake when our orphaned onboarding efforts aren’t addressed? Research shows that 20% of new hires may leave in the first 45 days. Conversely, 69% of new employees that experience structured onboarding programs will stay with the company more than three years. Organizations with dedicated onboarding programs see measurable business effects in employee and customer retention, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
In order to achieve success in crafting an onboarding program, the first step is to assign ownership of the process. It could be HR, the hiring manager, or even an interdepartmental team tasked with developing innovative ways to immerse new employees in the culture. Secondly, onboarding is more than paperwork and orientation. It’s more than learning where the coffee maker is and how to contact the IT Helpdesk. Employee onboarding is the design of what your employees feel, see and hear after they have been hired. It’s about sharing the company culture, building rapport with colleagues and establishing a support system. It’s about continuing the stellar candidate experience, and ensuring that the employee experience is consistent.
To learn more about strategies for crafting a successful onboarding program, view the webcast on demand “Reimagine Onboarding: Streamlining Your Practice Impacts More than Employee Happiness.”