How to Onboard for Retention in a Competitive Hiring Market

Mar 20, 2019

When employees aren’t happy at work, they aren’t productive. Happiness at work is about feeling engaged and fulfilled–being confident, challenged and comfortable. When an onboarding process at a company is strategic, flexible and user-driven employees are more engaged and thus stay longer, allowing a business to save money.

People are what matter even with digital disruption

Simplifying internal business processes always pays off. Whether that’s modernizing long-standing businesses or catapulting start-ups, automating your onboarding will protect the very thing you can’t survive without…your employees.

However, the answer is not to merely automate onboarding. Often, onboarding focuses on the transactional part of joining a new company but doesn’t provide guidance on the culture within the company – how to meet expectations, set realistic goals that align with the company mission, or how to grow and succeed within the organizational structure.

In fact, there is an automation paradox. Companies with higher levels of automation have much higher levels of unwanted turnover – nearly a third of highly automated organizations lose more than 50 percent of their new hires in the first year, and one out of 10 say goodbye to 75 percent of their employees in the first year. Regardless of whether technology and automation can truly replace humans in a company, neglecting employees in terms of true orientation and acculturation has a consistently negative impact.

These findings are part of a new report released today by SilkRoad in partnership with Forbes Insights, which surveyed 212 U.S. executives acting as the senior-most official in the finance function for their organization.

Other interesting findings? Nearly two-thirds of CFOs say their firm has a hard time keeping wanted employees, and poor employee engagement is the prime cause of unwanted turnover. Nearly all CFOs (92%) believe that proper onboarding could increase employee engagement and decrease or eliminate the costs of unwanted turnover…yet only a quarter say their organization is improving onboarding. It’s time for improvement.

Strategic onboarding produces employee engagement

Most new hires decide to stay or leave within the first six months. C-suite executives need to embrace that employees are an investment for the long-term. Onboarding should not be treated as a brief transaction focused on compliance and forms, it’s the start of a journey that leads to employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. When onboarding is strategic there are key advantages for the employee and the employer – it’s a flexible, user-driven system for a meaningful orientation to the company and ongoing acculturation of new and current employees.

As the adage says, anything worth doing isn’t easy. To reap the awards of faster productivity, employee satisfaction and acculturation, and ultimately, retention, hard work and focus need to apply to onboarding. Here are three first steps for implementing an onboarding culture for your organization.

Improve retention through employee engagement

Strategic onboarding causes a 75 percent improvement in long-term retention because there is employee engagement. Your employees are strategic investments. By providing strategic onboarding you are driving organizational efficiency, sustaining a competitive edge and gaining the returns on your investments.

93 percent of employers agree that a good onboarding experience is critical to influence a new hire’s decision to stay with an organization. But are they putting money where their mouth is?

The data says no.

To make a change in employee engagement and retention at your organization, check out what strategic onboarding can offer.

Lilith Christiansen is the Vice President, Onboarding Solutions with SilkRoad. She brings more than 20 years of consulting experience to SilkRoad, having established a reputation as an industry expert, author and speaker. At SilkRoad Lilith Christiansen leads a team dedicated to partnering with SilkRoad customers to develop world-class strategic onboarding practices and programs that transform their employee experiences and drive business outcomes. The onboarding solutions team helps organizations build better employee experiences and drive retention by connecting all the onboarding experiences throughout the employee lifecycle. Prior to joining SilkRoad, Lilith served as Vice President of the Organizational Development Practice group at Kaiser Associates, co-leading deep analytical and business performance perspective projects to help leading companies succeed against organizational development challenges. She co-authored the best-selling business book “Successful Onboarding.” It one of the first books to outline methodologies for creating strategic onboarding programs on a global scale to unlock hidden values from talent bases.

Written by:  Lilith Christiansen

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