The concept of onboarding is nothing new, however as we face the ongoing war on talent, the way we welcome, support, train and hold onto new hires over their first few days and months is even more important than ever before.
It is essential that onboarding becomes an ongoing talent strategy where a new employee is integrated within their new company and its culture and given the tools and necessary information needed to become a fully satisfied and a productive member of the team.
The consequences of not onboarding an employee in a satisfactory manner can be widely felt and can include significant impact on the culture, morale, productivity and job satisfaction of everyone involved and of course there is the considerable cost of replacing lost talent.
The simple truth is that a good onboarding process greatly increases the likelihood that a new employee will show up on their first day, stay over the first crucial 90 days and will choose to immerse themselves in the company culture and become a committed long-term employee.
Unfortunately, a recent survey highlights that there is a significant gap between what employees want from the onboarding process and what HR thinks they need.
Notably, the survey emphasises that although all the HR professionals surveyed said they thought onboarding was important, more than a third (34%) of employees said they had not witnessed any onboarding programme at their organisation and for an unfortunate 42% it took more than a week to even get basic workstation logistics in place.
Plus, more than half (52%) of employees said that the onboarding they had received finished after their first month in a role, despite the fact that 48% of HR professionals felt it was important to continue inducting an employee for at least the first three months at a company.
The survey also emphasised that for those respondents that had experienced onboarding, 51% said it halved the time it took them to become proficient at their role. HR professionals clearly see this as important, with 74% saying “speeding up employees’ time to contribution” was something they expected from the onboarding process.
Unfortunately, the results of the survey also showed that only 5% of respondents said onboarding was an ongoing process and 47% said they did nothing to evaluate how effective their onboarding process was.
Onboarding is also only commonly offered as a one-size-fits-all solution as underlined by the 90% of respondents who confirmed they do not tailor the onboarding process to the role.
Overall, one of the most concerning issues brought to light from the survey is the difference in perception by HR and new hires of what is needed from the onboarding process with 64% of employees indicating that this has led to a lack of clarity around their new role. Most importantly 61% of HR professionals thought getting to know company culture was important, while 66% of new employees want to know what the job duties and expectations are.
The survey also illustrates the key things new hires think are missing from the onboarding process including:
Clear job duties and expectations
Sufficient time for training
Socialisation with colleagues
Guidance and involvement of a Manager
Feedback and follow-up
Overview of company structure
Access to IT systems