Onboarding versus induction – we discuss the benefits of structured onboarding in our blog

Increasingly senior management recognise that the best way to guarantee a solid return on investment for the cost of recruitment is to retain new hires for the long term. Research consistently shows that effective “on-boarding” procedures (as opposed to mere “induction”) can help solidify the relationship between employer and new employee and result in a longer, more fruitful working relationship.

Onboarding is more than just planning for the new employee’s first day. It encompasses the entire first year, which is why managers need to prepare and plan ahead. The benefits of a comprehensive onboarding experience can include:

• A more engaged employee who feels a real connection to the organisation and understands the purpose and responsibilities of his/her role;
• A new employee who is able to make immediate contributions through a successful first assignment;

A survey of graduates in new roles, taken at the end of their first day, found that only 4% were completely sure they wanted to stay with their current company. However, when they were given a structured on-boarding process lasting longer than 6 months, 66% of them stated that they felt likely to remain for longer than 3 years.

Extending the length of onboarding can have a dramatic impact on employee turnover because it provides more time for coaching, sharing information and answering questions. Interestingly, building in an opportunity to ask new hires why they left their last job during onboarding is a useful way to provide their new manager with insight into possible factors which might cause them to leave this this new job.

On-boarding can begin before the first day at work too – using “pre-engagement” welcome packs can reduce “first day” stress and get new hires fully engaged with the company. Using employees who have been in the business less than two years to contribute to this process is useful – ask them what they wish they’d known before starting and use that information in a “Frequently Asked Question” section of the pack.

Effective onboarding can play a critical role in the image of the employer brand. Surveying new hires about the recruiting process that they just completed and asking them what made them say yes to offer, and which parts of the recruiting process “worked” compared with the parts which they felt could be improved is also invaluable feedback. Making a strong impression during onboarding can help spread the employer brand message that the firm is a great place to work.

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