One of your departments just got a new hire. You’ve shown the only cubicle that’s available and you reckon that’s where the new hire should belong. 15 minutes later, Sandra from marketing is complaining that she doesn’t have a seat and has to go to the coffee shop downstairs to do her work. A couple of moments later the new hire has some questions and the only person able to answer them is on leave and will only be back Monday next week.
Talk about the best onboarding experience ever. Look around the internet and you’ll find plenty of stories regarding onboarding experiences that are great and some, downright horrible. And in fact, more often than not, employees go through a horrible one.
Thankfully companies like Digi, Fave, and Piktochart have taken it to themselves in providing a good onboarding program for new hires. However, this trend is only about slowly being thoroughly practiced here in Malaysia.
So why do companies not spend time and effort to onboard the new hires properly? Is the hiring process finished and done once the candidate is hired? Given that it does end once the candidate is hired, does it make sense to hire every week due to a high turnover rate rather than retaining the hire?
A good onboarding program benefits both the employee and the employer by increasing the chances for the newly-formed relationship to work.
The Cost Of Employment
Key point to remember: The costs of retaining your hires are just as important as hiring itself. From a cost perspective, it takes less to retain an employee than it does to employ another one.
Whenever the thought of retaining new employees comes into play, the onboarding experience really plays a huge role in it. 31% of new hires end up leaving the company in the first six months, and most of them are entry level and intermediate jobs. So why does this happen?
One of the many big reasons was that the work given to them was different than what was expected. Them coming into the company and not knowing what to expect in a job because of poor first direction is a product of poor onboarding programs.
Now while not every job position out there needs a well-structured onboarding experience – we’re talking about cost here. Is it a stretch to call it a sound financial decision to at least try and keep your new hire happy and willing to progress with company, rather than leaving quickly when you’re spending all that time and money to find them?
As it stands, companies roughly spend about 30-40% of an annual salary to hire an employee. Employees are an investment, and it only makes sense to protect that investment to gain the most out of it.
Making Them Stay
Now the question is, does a good onboarding experience really make an employee stay? While the question of an employee’s loyalty may vary, based on studies, a bad onboarding experience gives an employee A REASON to leave
Leading companies know this and retention is ever so important due to the cost of hiring an employee and getting them up to speed. A good onboarding experience plays a vital role in retaining your employees. It’s the first few months in the company that an employee decides whether a company is suitable or not. The onboarding experience is like the first impressions of a company, and who wouldn’t think it’s wise to spend good time on first impressions?
Onboarding programs can sometimes be more than 2 weeks long. Leading companies have onboarding programs that can even last for a year. Onboarding isn’t ‘trying to stuff everything to the employee on the first day and expecting them to perform’. It takes time and resources to familiarise new hires with the company’s practices. An onboarding program should be structured – and the more structured it is, the better it will produce results.
An onboarding program would usually comprise of several key components that will help an employee get up to speed. One key component is the proper documentation on what is expected of the new hire. This will give them a better idea on what to work on and what to achieve. Document your onboarding programs digitally so that you can keep a track on your previous programs and also tweak them with less hassle.
Include some on-the-job training programs so that you’re new hires are competent on whatever task that will be given to them. According to a survey in 2014 by BambooHR, 76% of new hires find that on the job training was the most important thing they needed to become productive quickly. Good employees are ambitious and full of conviction, giving them dull tasks will only diminish their capabilities.
As an employer, you want to know what these new hires are capable of, but are employers really getting them involved in projects and hearing out their opinions? Hey, you hired them for a reason right?
Getting Into The Culture
One very important aspect of the onboarding program is to instill the company’s culture to the new hire. As mentioned by the co-founder of Perlocate Noah Brier, “If marketing is the outward manifestation of your brand, then culture is its internal embodiment. That begins with onboarding.”
The culture from one company to another may vary and new hires are almost all the time clueless about the culture on their first day. So take measures to make sure they aren’t lost, and make them feel like they belong in the company. Assign them a buddy, a mentor, and maybe give them a company guide book before they start work next Monday, or if you want to really start early, when they sign the offer letter.
Having a strong company culture shows that the company cares for its employees, and that everyone involved with the company is happy to be there. You want everyone to be part of the onboarding program to welcome the new hire.
What Do You Want To Look For?
Onboarding programs can vary from one company to another depending on the type of industry. An onboarding program for a company that does finance won’t necessarily work for a tech company. Not only does it vary between industries it also varies between positions and departments if the company has a lot of employees.
You’d want a structure to your program so that it stays consistent by creating a checklist that caters to specific departments if needed. There is always something to improve in a program and keeping it structured lets you pinpoint what can be, and what should be improved.
So remember these key words if you think about turning around your onboarding program:
‘It is more cost effective to retain employees rather than hiring new ones’