Onboarding – Setting the Tone for Long Term Success

It seems odd that in 2020 there are still organizations struggling to develop a consistent onboarding program. This gets even more bizarre when one considers that according to Glassdoor, a strong onboarding process can increase retention by up to 82% and productivity by up to 70%. The simple reality is improving onboarding processes is largely glossed over—even though almost everyone agrees employee retention is critical. Follow along to learn more about just how important onboarding is, and how updating antiquated programs can help you enjoy a sea-change in retention.

Onboarding Isn’t Just About Process and Paperwork

A common mistake many companies make is thinking onboarding is primarily an HR issue, focused more on compliance and core business practices than anything else. The reality is while those do remain important parts of the process, they’re no longer the core focus. Modern onboarding has two important factors: transactional HR and cultural immersion.

The first of those could be considered your traditional onboarding work: paperwork, policies, core processes, etc. Far more interesting is cultural immersion. This is where new hires can be steeped into organizational culture and organically introduced to their role and new expectations. By developing a multi-faceted onboarding strategy, you’ll be confirming to your new employee they’ve made the right decision to work with you, while also setting them up for cultural acceptance and success in their role.

Onboarding Creates Value for New Hires and the Employer

As an employer, one of your biggest goals should be making sure your onboarding process is meeting the needs of your organization. After all, success stories about employers who consistently hire the wrong people are few and far between—and that’s unlikely to change.

Just as important as finding the right people, of course, is hanging onto them—and well-designed onboarding is proven to increase retention. And retention is only the start.

Onboarding can Improve Engagement and Talent Development

Well-designed onboarding strategies will also increase engagement and can even create an evangelist in market to help you find even more talented people. This is how you can develop a healthy pipeline of talent, all from making one good hiring decision. Now you’re verifying your strategy through results, and you’re able to better understand the individual skills, knowledge, and experiences you need to meet your organizational goals for hiring and the bottom line. This is an ideal situation to further develop your learning and development processes and sets the tone for measuring and managing performance.

Being Intentional and Hiring with Clarity

No one likes surprises when it comes to the onboarding process—and that includes your new employees. Being transparent about opportunities and expectations will take the guesswork out of your new hire’s transitional period, and so will giving them a clear idea about how they’re going to be observed and assessed for performance. This will make any feedback or coaching you provide seem like an expected part of the process, rather than discipline. This could also provide the opportunity to share new knowledge and capabilities across your team. After all, cultural acceptance of a new employee is a two-way street. The sooner they feel comfortable, the sooner they’ll be able to meaningfully contribute.

As you can see, a well-designed onboarding experience is about far more than pulling in new talent, it could quite literally be the difference between meeting organizational goals or failing to accomplish them. Consider your current onboarding structure. Are you driving and receiving all the value you should be?

Contact me to learn more about what SDI Clarity can do to improve your onboarding, and help you understand the benefits of not only meeting HR goals, but to also build excitement and truly prepare each new hire for success in their role

In my next blog I’ll be taking a deep dive into not only the role learning and development can play in building skills and knowledge within your organization, but also exploring the ways learning and development can create opportunities for your organization to more effectively manage and develop talent.

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Jeremy Erard

View posts by Jeremy Erard
A Grand Rapids, MI native with an entrepreneurial background spanning over 15 years, Jeremy has led the creation of several start-up companies and strategic business units that represent in excess of $200 million in annual revenue. Jeremy has worked with various clients across many industries to develop strategies and implement solutions that enable them to achieve profitable and sustainable growth, and secure and develop the critical talent necessary for future success.