You don’t get a second chance at a first impression - it’s an old adage, but one that still rings true. When it comes to hiring new employees, they’ll only ever have one first day, week, month, and year, yet many companies forget this, or simply don’t care. But making a poor first impression on a new hire can be costly, as high early turnover rates can hurt employee morale, halt productivity, and damage your employer brand. Can an HR onboarding program really make that much of a difference?
90% of organizations believe that employees make the decision to stay within the first year.
One study on onboarding in companies rating high and low for their onboarding processes found that best-in-class onboarders retained, on average, 91% of new hires in their first year, and over 60% of those hires met or exceeded performance milestone deadlines within 12 months.
Very different from orientation, onboarding entails a period lasting from three months to a year where new hires are trained and acclimated to their position and the company as a whole. Even more specific, HR onboarding refers to onboarding with heavy involvement from human resources professionals, whether that be designing, implementing, overseeing, or ideally, all of the above. Onboarding should not be an insular process within a department; rather, it should involve peers, supervisors, HR, and upper management to help get the employee used to operations.
Here are some of the main benefits of a great HR onboarding program:
Attract and Retain Talent
Right now, our workforce is comprised of several generations: Boomers are reaching retirement, Gen X is advancing into upper management, Millennials are making their mark, and the older members of Gen Z are getting their feet wet in the job market. And while Millennials in particular have a reputation of company disloyalty, the truth is that high, fast turnover rates are an intergenerational problem. It’s not them, so it might be you.
A formal onboarding program, tailored for your organization, can help you both attract and retain the talent you need. Older workers, those with experience, tend to know their worth and will likely be more attracted to a company that has a good onboarding program, because investing in new hires means putting greater value on employees as a whole. This is part of why the world of HR has begun to put so much emphasis on an “employer brand” - or, the public-facing picture of the employee experience at a company. If your employer brand reflects careful attention to onboarding, you’ll be more likely to bring in top talent.
Similarly, HR onboarding can help retain employees regardless of skill level, but younger hires may require, not just prefer, a structured introduction to their duties and the company. Without a procedure to follow, trainers and managers may overlook points of confusion, leaving new hires feeling lost. If you’re able to meet your new employee halfway, they’ll likely feel more comfortable, more quickly.
Get New Hires Productive Faster
When companies don’t anticipate a ramp up time with their new employees, it’s easy for them to become overburdened and overwhelmed. At the same time, having an employee in the “new hire” mindset for too long can be costly.
As you create or evaluate your onboarding program, get a sense of the timeline: are you expecting too much, too soon? Are you dragging out instruction of basic skills in search of mastery? Are you missing procedures that will take longer to correct if addressed down the line? Your organization’s needs in terms of ramp up time are going to be unique, so don’t be afraid of some trial and error. The sooner you can get new hires feeling comfortable with their responsibilities, team, and the company culture, the sooner they’ll be able to make meaningful contributions to the company’s goals.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
A happy customer is a loyal customer, and the same is true for employees. Not only does investing time into onboarding mean you value your new hire, it also means you value their professional development - and in an age where lifelong learning is a top goal among professionals, encouraging growth is invaluable to employee satisfaction.
In addition, established employees benefit from onboarding new hires well. Often, when there’s an open position being filled, people in related positions need to pick up the slack, and those extra duties are only lessened, not eliminated, upon hiring a new employee. The faster a new hire is able to take on their complete roster of job duties, the more bandwidth others will have for their own responsibilities.
Here at HR Collaborative, we have our own set of truths, like the fact that recruitment doesn’t end after hiring. Implementing or re-evaluating a formal HR onboarding program can help the entire company achieve more with each new hire. As HR and recruitment professionals, we excel at partnering with companies to make great hires. Want to learn more? Learn how we helped our clients by downloading our case studies below.