According to a new study from Kronos Incorporated, onboarding is a critical weakness for a majority of organizations that stalls new hire momentum and threatens to disengage enthusiastic employees during their crucial first weeks on the job.
The report—New Hire Momentum: Driving the Onboarding Experience—was conducted by Kronos and the Human Capital Institute and included more than 350 Human Resources (HR) leaders at U.S. organizations of all sizes and industries. It concludes that organizations must refocus onboarding programs to emphasize high-impact training and development activities instead of administrative new-hire paperwork to better position new employees (and the business) for long-term success.
There are few instances in the employee lifecycle as momentous as the first few months on the job. New hires join a firm with the promise of productivity. They are focused on opportunities to grow and develop in their careers while making a positive impact both personally and professionally. Loyal to their organizations, new hires bring with them an enthusiasm and energy that is contagious.
“Starting a new job is exciting, where possibilities are endless and enthusiasm is high. Yet it’s also a time of apprehension and uncertainty where new hires meet colleagues, learn new processes, and understand how to make an impact at their new organization,” says Malysa O’Connor, Senior Director of the HR and payroll practice group at Kronos. “Organizations that succeed in capturing that enthusiasm while minimizing other challenges will gain a competitive advantage that is accessible to any business willing to design and deploy a strategic onboarding experience. Modern talent acquisition and onboarding solutions represent the first step in this initiative, as they free up HR from the administrative work associated with new-hire paperwork and empower HR teams to focus on building programs that ensure the long-term success of each employee.”
The study found that the anticipation and zeal new hires bring is consistent across industries, location, and size. It is a competitive advantage accessible to every firm willing to invest in the strategic design and deployment of a new hire experience. The monetary investment required can likewise be quite minimal, offering organizations with small talent management budgets the occasion to make a dramatic impact. But despite this opportunity, the research shows that few organizations effectively capitalize on it.
“Organizations make significant investments to source and recruit the best candidates, but often leave these same individuals to find their own way around the organization once they start,” explains Jenna N. Filipkowski, Ph.D., Head of Research for Human Capital Institute. “HR leaders need to re-evaluate how onboarding programs are structured and deployed within their organizations. The momentum of new hires is a force to be reckoned with, and it is possible to sustain this throughout and beyond the traditional 90-day onboarding timeline with the right programs, processes, and technologies in place. Organizations must be sharp and agile enough to capture this excitement and drive, leveraging it to propel the entire workforce forward.”
Well-structured onboarding programs that balance people, performance, and paperwork are an effective way to maximize the energy and excitement of new hires and set them up for long-term success. Kronos recommends the following tips for a successful onboarding program:
- Don’t delay—Begin onboarding the minute the job offer is accepted.
- Don’t hoard—Delegate onboarding activities.
- Clarify and communicate—Be consistent with expectations and messaging.
- Find your inspiration—Use creative, interactive ways to highlight your culture and values.
- Play matchmaker—Pair new hires with peer mentors and shadow opportunities.
- Tailor as needed—Customize additional content for roles and functions.
“We all know turnover is expensive, both in terms of direct costs and intellectual capital,” notes Sharlyn Lauby, President of ITM Group, Inc.. “Organizations can increase retention by focusing on those activities that get employees engaged from the start. One way to do that is by taking care of administrative paperwork before day one so employees can focus on their role and other things that matter to them most. Onboarding processes set new hires up for success by building positive work relationships, making good on promises made during interviews, and providing a career roadmap.”
For more information, or to view the full report, click here.