The importance of an onboarding program that works can’t be overstated. In fact, in large organizations the lack of success of a program can quite literally translate into lost revenue measuring in the hundreds of thousands or even more. It can be argued then that keeping an organization’s talent asset happy and engaged is critical to its success. If an onboarding program doesn’t work, what happens? Usually this results in a complete or partial overhaul of the program. Before we move forward let’s examine how onboarding programs are supposed to work.
What An Onboarding Program Is Supposed To Achieve
A good onboarding program needs to be able to fulfill the following three things:
Provide clarity about your organization and its culture
Even organizations that are in the same industry have a different workplace culture that make it unique. As we know, a lateral transfer from one organization to another doesn’t necessarily mean that an employee will be able to hit the ground running. Therefore any onboarding program needs set direction by providing clarity on an organization’s vision, mission, values, and strategy
Provide knowledge about an employee’s role and expectations
When most people think of onboarding they think of this. In order to be truly successful, an onboarding program should not only give the employee knowledge of how to do their job but also inform them of what support is available to them so they can get up to speed quickly and experience success.
Tracking accountabilities and success
An onboarding program isn’t simply a course or orientation. It’s an ongoing process to ascertain how well a new hire is becoming acclimatized to the organization. It aligns their values with the company values, it tracks their accountabilities, and it provides any additional resources needed for them to do their job effectively.
There are two critical factors that drive the decisions an organization makes regarding its onboarding program. Without getting a handle on these factors, any capital invested in an onboarding program may be wasted.
Performance & Loyalty
A survey by Impact Instruction Group states that the 75.6% of respondents indicated “accelerating new employee’s performance” was the top catalyst for driving changes to an onboarding program. This is not surprising, as it fulfills the main purpose of the onboarding program. However, 73.2% of the respondents to this survey cited “improve employee retention and loyalty” as a catalyst for change to an onboarding program.
To put this into perspective, the Center for American Progress states that:
“Losing an employee in a position that pays $30-50K/year costs a company 20%. For highly educated positions it can be 213% of employees salary”
Furthermore, Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen state in their book Successful Onboarding that:
“Nearly ⅓ of people employed in their job for less than 6 months are already job searching”
In this day and age, loyalty is not something you gain from an employee by paying them more money. This is especially true with a younger workforce. It needs to be cultivated and clearly expressed from the moment a new hire walks into the interview room.
A Better Solution
Onboarding is an important process for all new hires to go through. In fact, the success of an onboarding program can be directly tied to the success of the organization because of the savings associated with having to rehire and retrain employees. Effectively providing new employees with clarity on company culture, their role, and accountabilities will reduce turnover and improve performance.
However, onboarding is a time consuming and expensive proposition. The best way to deliver a comprehensive program like this is through an inexpensive blended learning format that includes live person-to-person instruction, training via digital onboarding, and the use of an accountability performance tool.
This blended approach lowers the onboarding learning costs and presents itself in a medium that is both convenient and attractive to younger workers.
From a training management perspective, any onboarding program delivered via this method and using an LMS is immediately more measurable. Employee progress, completion and performance from the onboarding elearning courses and accountability tool can easily be tracked via the learning management system (LMS).
With the number of employees that can go through an onboarding program, it’s becoming more critical to know if they truly understand the information. The data gathered by the LMS will allow training managers to take a more proactive approach to the onboarding process.
Employee loyalty and retention can’t be bought; it needs to be earned. Your organization needs to clearly express why you’re better than your competitors to any new hire. However, if your message is being delivered in a medium that’s not attractive to new hires, will they listen?