Studies show that many employees will be searching for another job within three months of starting a new job because their initial experience with the organisation was so poor. However there are some hopeful signs that organisations are beginning to wake up to how they can do onboarding better.
In recent years, many larger organisations have transitioned their onboarding process online. But perhaps none have gone quite so far as cosmetics company L’Oreal, whose new onboarding app serves as a buddy and guru for new recruits navigating the exciting, complex and sometimes overwhelming universe of a new workplace.
Whether they’re starting their new job in Argentina or Australia, new hires are greeted in their own language (11 languages are available) and guided through the “Seven most critical aspects of the L’Oréal culture to master” – as named by current and past employees.
Using the gamification techniques that are fast-infiltrating all areas of the workplace, new employees are encouraged to “play” on their app for five to 10 minutes a day during their first month at the company.
Capsules of content – delivered as text, photos, videos, testimonials and quizzes – on topics such as entrepreneurship, agility and networking are initially communicated to employees; they are then encouraged to complete real-life “missions” in order to put their learning into practice.
New hires are rewarded for progressing. They win “insider secrets” (interesting facts, stories or legends about L’Oréal only known by those on the inside).
The idea, according to international learning manager, Rosie McCarthy, is to ensure employees can comprehend and embrace the “cultural subtleties” at the company through experiences that show, rather than tell them what the company is all about.
What does great onboarding look like?
Many other global companies have taken a similar, tech-driven approach to onboarding.
For example, Ernst & Young provides an onboarding portal to new hires before they begin work, which includes an online virtual tour and answers questions most frequently asked by previous new hires.
But the human touch is still valued – even at places like Google, where, under their “buddy hire program”, new hires are given a mentor to help speed their progress towards becoming a productive employee.
Onboarding: executives don’t see ROI
Whether a tech behemoth or SME, investing effort into onboarding doesn’t just achieve goodwill, it has measurable ROI for businesses.
Studies show that, on average, 22 per cent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment and 33 per cent of new hires look for a job within their first six months. However, an effective onboarding program means employees are 69 per cent more likely to stay with the company for three years or more.
It’s a case that needs to be made more strongly by HR, says Jan Pacas, managing director at HR and onboarding platform, Flare.
The ‘hiring : onboarding’ ratio of time allocated by managers is still way out of whack, he says – and that’s because, after a lengthy and potentially exhausting recruitment process, “many hiring managers have run out of energy to ensure the new hire has a great onboarding experience”.
However most executives don’t necessarily see current onboarding practices as valuable to the business.
A recent study found that Australian executives say HR is one of the least efficient business processes in their company – in terms of speed and ease and 31 per cent said that onboarding was the least efficient business process in their company.
This tells us that while larger organisations spend time and money on “extreme onboarding”, using digital tools to get new hires up to speed and on board with company values and practices, what really counts is whether your employees buy into it. In the end, nearly half of employee engagement comes from feeling like you’re a good fit with your company culture.
As the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report states, “if company culture is the way we get things done around here, then employee engagement is the way we feel about the way we get things done around here.”
HR Tech Conference
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