February 2nd, 2018 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Optimize the Onboarding Process with HR Technology

In talent management, the challenges of retention and its impact on ROI are as old as the very act of hiring. It’s estimated that 31% percent of new hires leave their new job within six months. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million people have left their job voluntarily every month since June 2017. While there are myriad possible reasons, less than stellar onboarding is clearly a factor. HR technology including easier onboarding processes can offer helpful solutions. Done right technology-based onboarding dovetails a new hire in terms of organizational culture, as well as function.

If the onboarding process is not aligned with your organization’s culture and values, the disconnect can be damaging to the employee’s experience and overall engagement with your company. Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace survey found that only 33% of US employees were engaged or enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. The majority of US workers (51%) are not engaged and haven’t been for quite a while. Engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees —across the industry, company size and nationality and in good economic times and bad.

First impressions are key: even the process of setting up a new IT password can have a significant impact on a new hire’s first day. In practical terms, onboarding more quickly facilitates function and productivity, creates early connections to corporate values and teams and builds new hire’s confidence in their ability to do their job. If your onboarding process is not truly aligned with your organization’s culture and values, the disconnect can be damaging.

Training and Onboarding Disconnect

A recent study of new science teachers, a group not traditionally known for poor retention rates, is a foreboding example of a disconnect between onboarding and realities of a job. After a training phase that emphasized innovation and creativity, these new hires marched off to work ready to innovate and got an organizational “cold shower.” Their onboarding experience included close work with mentors who stressed the importance of “fitting in” and conforming to the status quo. The new teachers had to employ the best practices they had absorbed during training on the sly, which was very stressful. Many of the new teachers opted to find new jobs instead of continuing teaching with the internal conflict. In this example, onboarding technology could have been invaluable in comparing the different agendas of training and workplace culture. Had data been gathered on the true nature of the work environment versus the thrust of the training process, the disconnect would have been immediately apparent.

The story exemplifies why data is a two-way street; the findings could also have provided a neutral mode in which to point out a problem of workplace values. In this case, a stifling status quo trickled down to the onboarding process. But without the data, the training process was unaware of it. And in turn, the best practices stressed during the training phase could not make it back up to the workplace culture: it took an exodus to reveal the problem after the fact. Tech is a tool. To leverage the wide range of HR technology’s potential requires human leadership, human innovation, creativity and human management. The more we understand how it can drive HR in all phases, the better the results are going to be.

Great Onboarding Experiences Leads to Ongoing Employee Engagement

One way to utilize HR technology is by understanding and improving the employee experience. Employee experience is a holistic view of life at the workplace which requires constant feedback, action and monitoring. Onboarding is a critical part of creating a great candidate experience for new employees. When onboarding goes well, the benefits of increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success. Employees who go through an effective onboarding program become more productive quicker and put out more valuable work. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity leading to better performance. Employees who go through a more focused and detailed welcoming experience are more likely to be enthusiastic about their organization and ultimately can become brand ambassadors. When onboarding goes well, the benefits of increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success.

One way to increase employee engagement for a new employee is to implement a 30/60/90 Day Plan. The plan is a strategic outline of the job expectations for the new employee over the first 90 days. Having a plan will help new hires have a smoother transition to using company tools, understanding the company processes and understanding their expectations. The 30/60/90 Day plan clearly communicates training, culture and planning for the future to the employee allowing them to easily transition from “the new guy” to a full-on contributor to the team and company.

Optimizing the Onboarding Process

It is important to remember that onboarding is just not a function of the Human Resources department. It takes a village to onboard a new employee. Good onboarding requires input from many different members of an organization from leadership to site leaders to IT and even marketing.

Having a good new hire onboarding experience in place can make a substantial impact on employee morale and retention. Companies with highly engaged workers have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Because employees decide within their first six months whether to stay with a company, it’s critical that onboarding be a positive experience. Learn how to transform onboarding from a cumbersome, paper-laden process to one that engages top talent from the get-go by downloading Sterling Talent Solutions’ eBook HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

Download the Complete Guide to Onboarding

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.