How the right employee onboarding process can improve retention
When you find out that as many as 20% of staff who leave their company do so in the first 45 days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that high early employee churn is somehow a fact of life.But think about this for a moment: there really is nothing natural or inevitable about starting a job and then quitting after a paltry six weeks (or even six months). It’s hardly in the typical employee’s “life plan”. And, given that the average cost of replacing an employee can be as much as 20% of annual salary, it almost certainly isn’t part of your business plan!
Almost invariably, high early quit rates are a sign that something’s gone wrong. Either expectations haven’t been met - or the employee hasn’t settled in quite as they’d hoped - or it’s a combination of the two.
But research shows that companies with a structured onboarding process in place enjoy 50% higher new hire retention rates than those without. If keeping hold of new talent is the aim of the game, it seems that formal onboarding strategies pay dividends. Here are the key reasons why…
Onboarding bridges the “message gap” between job acceptance, first day and beyond…
What’s true of your customers also applies to new recruits: mixed messages are a turn-off.
Imagine an employee who encounters a potential new employer for the first time as part of a recruitment round. She’s ‘wowed’ by the corporate video and impressed by the claims made in the job advert.
But now fast forward to the first day. As she’s left to plough through the office manual alone, there’s precious little evidence of that ‘dynamic, supportive environment’ promised in the recruitment brochure.
Employer Branding is all about sending out the clearest possible message about who you are, what you stand for, what you can offer new recruits and what makes you stand apart from your competitors in the jobs marketplace.
But imagine a customer who signs up to your service offering only to discover that it doesn’t deliver what was expected. That all-important “brand promise” is broken - and they quickly walk away.
So at heart, onboarding is about delivering on the Employer Brand promise. You can read more about how the logistics of it here. But bear in mind that it works best if you can achieve the following:
Put out a strong Employer Brand message in the first place. The right brand asset creation tools can make this much easier.
Ensure consistency of brand message. Crucially, this applies not just to the recruitment stage but afterwards, too. The multimedia welcome package, orientation info, internal training courses, internal messaging: an all-encompassing brand portal can be just what’s needed to ensure that the information you provide new employees is delivered in a consistent way.
Onboarding provides the support and communication new employees crave
But if there’s one thing that all great onboarding and induction programmes have in common, it’s communication. Whether it’s mentoring, discussion groups or the use of specialist apps, much of onboarding involves giving employees the information they need to succeed in manageable, relevant and engaging chunks at precisely the right time.
And of course, feedback is crucial to this. After all, if you’re a new starter who’s expected to wait for a month or longer for the slightest indication of how you are getting on, this can seem like an eternity!