Picture this: A relay race where the runner, after receiving the baton, slows down, and casually strolls to the finish line. So close, yet, so far. That wouldn’t make for a winning team now, would it? 

In the exciting world of talent acquisition, onboarding is often perceived as that “final stage” where the candidate crosses the finish line and joins the team. However, the reality is quite different. Effective onboarding is not the conclusion of the race; it’s the electrifying start to a long journey of employee success. 

According to Onboarding Experience Statistics, as much as 20% Of Staff Turnover occurs within the first 45 Days of employment! It’s a very critical period, a make-or-break moment, if you will, when new hires are getting acclimated to your organization’s culture, expectations, and their role within the team. The way you handle this phase can make all the difference in the world, impacting their decision to stay and contribute their best or to disengage and eventually depart.

Here, we’ll uncover how organizations and HR leaders can redefine their onboarding process from a mundane paperwork ritual (Boring!) to a dynamic retention strategy that will make fiscal sense as well. 

It’s time to step up our talent game! Are you ready?

Onboarding New Talent (Source: Insperity)

The Challenges of Lackluster Onboarding 

We’re going to call out one of the biggest questions you might have as a TA or HR leader. 

You hire someone who seems to be super excited about their role. They walk in the first day full of enthusiasm, but as the days pass, you see the spark fading. They start to feel lost, disoriented, and detached from the team. The beginning of their journey starts to feel like a missed opportunity, and they have one step out the door already. You’re left wondering - what went wrong?

Did you know - only 12% of employees agree that their organization has a good onboarding process!? (Source: Gallup) 

This period often acts a litmus test of sorts for candidates, where they assess whether their choice aligns with their expectations. Without proper guidance and integration into the company culture, doubts can creep in, and the allure of alternative opportunities may grow stronger. 

When the onboarding process falls short, it’s not just the new hire who feels the strain. The entire team experiences the impact. Co-workers bear the weight of more work while managers and leaders have to spend precious business time and resources troubleshooting and looking out, yet again.

What’s more, a weak onboarding process can be surprisingly expensive! It’s not just the cost of rehiring; it’s the lost productivity, training time, drained morale, and the setback in achieving your strategic goals. 

The ‘Golden Period’

Believe it or not, recruitment does have a ‘golden period’ where the hiring managers must be on their toes to prevent the challenges we’ve mentioned above. It’s not before the offer is made; it’s the immediate time after the candidate replies with a “yes”! This is the moment when they’re most engaged, excited, and eager to start their journey with the company.

Onboarding 2.0: Best Practices and Strategies 

Perfect your process (Source: Idexx Currents)

It’s not always easy to modify key processes within organizations, especially when they might have been set in stone for years now. But that’s exactly when change is needed the most. 

Investing in some strategies and practices can guarantee a lasting connection with your new hire and build a strong foundation for their journey ahead. We promise -  it’s worth the effort. 

People, not paperwork

According to Company Onboarding Statistics, 58% of organizations say that their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork (Source: Sapling HR). Needless to say, this is not the way to go. 

Onboarding isn't merely about filling out forms and signing documents. It's about forging a human connection. Take the time to understand the person behind the resume. Engage in conversations that reveal their aspirations, motivations, and unique strengths. This personal touch can make all the difference in their journey with you.

Tailoring the path

One size doesn't fit all, especially in onboarding. Personalized onboarding plans are the key to making new hires feel valued and understood. Consider their skills, background, and goals when crafting their journey. Companies that adopt this approach see higher engagement and quicker integration.

A personalized plan recognizes that each new hire brings a unique set of experiences and strengths to the table. By tailoring their onboarding experience, you show that you're invested in their success and that you recognize their individual contributions to the team.

Building Bonds 

It's not enough to introduce new hires to their workstations; you must introduce them to the team. Facilitate warm welcomes and create opportunities for new hires to get to know their colleagues. Job rotation in the initial days can also be an excellent tool to help them understand different facets of the organization and establish connections.

A successful onboarding process doesn't stop at the basics - it actively fosters a sense of belonging. Build relationships that set the stage for a more collaborative and harmonious work environment.

For example, 87% of companies report that a buddy program speeds up productivity (Source: Qualtrics)

Set Clear Expectations 

No one likes surprises on their first day. Clearly communicate what new hires can expect on their first day, first week, and first month. Walk them through what they can expect their days to look like and let them know if the team is working on a major project/assignment at that time so they can be brought up to speed. This helps them manage their time and expectations, ensuring a smoother transition into their new role.

According to Mercer, 78% of employees report that they would remain with a company longer if they had a clear career path within the current organization. 

This is like handing them a roadmap for success. It reduces anxiety, sets the stage for productivity, and helps new hires settle in comfortably. It's a proactive step towards ensuring that their initial experiences are positive and aligned with their career goals.

Bite-sized Knowledge Is the Way to Go!

A whopping 81% of new hires say they feel overwhelmed with information during the onboarding process. Avoid overwhelming new hires with information overload. Microlearning delivers knowledge in small, digestible portions. This approach enhances retention and engagement, making the onboarding process more efficient and enjoyable.

This maximizes information retention and minimizes the risk of new hires feeling overwhelmed. By adopting this approach, you make learning an enjoyable and manageable aspect of their onboarding experience.

Guidance From the Top

Connecting new hires with mentors and providing opportunities to interact with leadership can be invaluable. Reverse mentorship is also an interesting strategy to consider, where younger employees mentor senior leaders, which fosters a culture of learning and collaboration - after all, age is just a number! 

Mentorship isn't just about transferring knowledge; it's about creating a support system. By facilitating this along with leadership interaction, you give new hires a sense of guidance and belonging. It promotes a culture where everyone's insights and experiences are valued.

Consider this: According to Enboarder, 72% of employees report that 1:1 time with their direct manager is crucial to good onboarding.

Leveling Up Engagement 

We get it - paperwork and documentation are important too, but there’s always a better way to do something. Leave behind the monotony with gamification elements. Incorporate quizzes, challenges, and leaderboards into the onboarding process to make it engaging and enjoyable for new hires.

Gamification takes onboarding from a passive experience to an active and engaging one. It transforms the process into a journey where new hires can learn while having fun, fostering a positive and motivating start. Not to mention, you clearly set yourself apart from other organizations, strengthening your EVP even more. 

Here are a few more stats to consider. Employees say gamification makes them feel more productive (89%) and happier (88%) at work. 83% of those who receive gamified training feel motivated, while 61% of those who receive non-gamified training feel bored and unproductive (Yikes!).

Beyond the Desk 

Don't stop at introducing the job; introduce your culture. Showcase your organization's values, diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, community initiatives, and more. Help new hires understand how they can contribute beyond their daily tasks.

Your company's culture is a vital aspect of their experience. By showcasing it from the outset, you allow new hires to align their personal values with those of the organization. This deeper sense of purpose can enhance their commitment and enthusiasm.

Small Wins, Big Impact

Celebrate small milestones with new hires. Provide frequent feedback in the initial days to help them grow and feel appreciated. Recognition and encouragement go a long way in building loyalty and motivation and creating a positive atmosphere of achievement. It lets professionals know that their contributions are valued and that their growth is a priority.

This is also a two-way street! 55% of businesses don’t measure the effectiveness of their onboarding processes (Source: Businesswire). Seek out feedback from your employees and strive to do better. 

Incorporating these strategies can transform your onboarding process from a mere checklist into an engaging and impactful experience. Ever so often we find ourselves in an employee-driven market, making it very difficult to hold on to and retain the best talent. Implementing effective steps like those mentioned above showcases how your organization is different from the get-go, assuring the professional that they’ve made the correct choice. 

Still not convinced? Here are a few more statistics that will likely help you see the value of effective onboarding. 

  • Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82% (Source: Brandon Hall Group) 
  • Organizations with structured onboarding saw a 60% year-on-year improvement in revenue. (Source: Northpass) 
  • New employees with good onboarding experience are 18x more committed to their employer (Source: Bamboo HR) 

Build stronger teams (Source: SnackNation)

Global Talent Exchange: Your Partner in Success 

At GTX, we’re the architects of change. As experts in global talent acquisition and employer branding, we understand that onboarding is just one piece of the puzzle. We offer comprehensive solutions that encompass the entire recruitment lifecycle. Our strategies are designed to meet the evolving needs of each organization along with the evolving expectations of candidates. 

Reach out to us and let’s begin a journey together - a journey that promises business growth, innovation, and lasting success.