The Importance of Getting Your Digital On-boarding Just Right

dreamstime_xs_38288276E-learning:  the cornerstone of nearly every corporate employee’s on-boarding, induction or new employee orientation – whatever name you give it.  Associated with a seemingly never-ending number of compliance training courses, it’s the bit your new recruits are eager to put behind them and that causes L&D and HR administrators much stress and heartache.  And it’s undoubtedly a major cause of the dissatisfaction with e-learning, when that need not be the case.

But it’s not just the general malaise that it can induce on your new starters that should be of concern.  It’s critical that your overall on-boarding process hits the mark for each person.  The evidence shows that getting things wrong here can have a major impact on your business.  So it really is time to take a new look at your digital on-boarding programme.  In this first of two posts, I will look at why it’s important to get this right.

The subject of on-boarding has come up a few times over the last few weeks and it’s enabled me to dig out, update and reorganise some powerful statistics I’ve used before to justify a rethink of the whole induction process.

I’ve broken the research into three areas, looking at the impact of on-boarding on:

  1. Employee turnover
  2. Productivity and engagement levels
  3. Employee mindset
Employee turnover

Getting those first few days right is critical to reducing turnover, which is an issue the world of work cannot not afford to address.

Research finding Source
Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days. Smart, B. (1999). Top grading: How leading companies win by hiring, coaching, and keeping the best people. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (via SHRM)
Half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months in a new position. Krauss, A. D. (2010). On-boarding the hourly workforce. Poster presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Atlanta, GA (via SHRM)
Nearly four percent of new employees leave their new jobs after a disastrous first day. Moscato, 2005 (via SHRM)
Effective on-boarding programs can improve employee retention by 25 percent. All Aboard: Effective On-boarding Techniques and Strategies (Boston: Aberdeen Group), January 2008
Productivity and engagement levels

On-boarding programmes are often dominated by compliance training, but the data suggests that there are other more pressing topics that new starters want addressed if they are to be truly productive and engaged in their new role.

Research finding Source
Effective on-boarding programmes can improve employee performance by up to 11.3%. The Recruiting Roundtable (2005)
Effectively on-boarding new hires can increase an employee’s discretionary effort in excess of 20%. The Corporate Leadership Council (2004)
US and UK employees are costing businesses £18.7 billion every year because they do not fully understand their jobs. IDC/Cognisco. (2010). $37 billion: Counting the cost of employee misunderstanding
A strong on-boarding programme helps employees reach full productivity an average of two months earlier than colleagues who do not receive similar on-boarding attention. On-boarding Benchmark Report: Technology Drivers Help Improve the New Hire Experience (Boston: Aberdeen Group), August 2006
Of higher performing organisations with on-boarding programmes. 2006 On-boarding Benchmark Report (Boston: Aberdeen Group), August 2006
Employee mindset

Getting your digital on-boarding on target is also critical for getting your new starter into the right mental state to integrate into their new role and organisation.  The research shows that many new starters decide if they are going to stay much sooner than you might think.

Research finding Source
86 percent of employees decide whether to stay with the organisation during their first six months. 2006 On-boarding Benchmark Report (Boston: Aberdeen Group), August 2006
33 percent of employees decide to stay on-board with a firm or jump ship within their first 30 days of employment. Bob Kelleher, in Employee Engagement For Dummies, December 2013
New employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organisation. L. Friedman/The Corporate Leadership Council, 2006 (via SHRM)
One-third (33%) of employees knew whether they would stay at their company long-term after being on the job for one week or less; 63% had decided within the first month. Ultimate Software and The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2015
1 in 25 people leave a new job just because of a poor (or no) on-boarding programme. Owler, 2007 (via SHRM)

In the next post, I will look at how to define a successful digital on-boarding experience.


The Importance of Getting Your Digital On-boarding Just Right

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