Onboarding: What Comes Next After Hiring?
Your employee onboarding program is the first – and, in many ways, the only – opportunity you have to get your new employees on the right track. Far too many companies railroad individuals through an abbreviated “orientation” program that’s simply outdated, off-putting, and counterproductive.
It would not be recommended to simply expect new employees to perform at their new position with simply a few hours’ worth of training. Nor can you expect them to perform their best without proper acclimation to their new roles. The same is true for brand new hires as it is for long-time employees that are transitioning internally to new positions within the company.
Data shows that 25% of all Americans experience some sort of employment transition each year. Whether that’s changing jobs, departments or branches, the net result is the same. One-quarter of the workforce is in need of onboarding at any given time.
In addition, consider that half of all hourly workers will leave new jobs in the first four months, and half of senior-level employees hired externally from the company will quit (or be fired) within 18 months.
Clearly, something isn’t working. Employees need to be integrated fully – not just slotted into their new roles. It can be a prolonged and expensive process to hire someone new due to a poor onboarding process. So what can you do to boost your onboarding program in order to minimize costly turnover?
Below are three ways how you can improve your onboarding process and create efficiencies for your people.
Focus on the Employee
Every new hire or transfer comes from a different background, possesses different authentic strengths, and suffers unique weaknesses. As tempting as it is to have a standardized onboarding system, you have to allow for flexibility – and not just in terms of the time it takes on successfully onboard someone. By tailoring the entire process, including the types of interactions your employees have, you can expedite the process and create a win-win situation in which your new hires learn faster and are able to stand on their own two feet sooner than expected.
Similarly, it’s tempting to lump a bunch of new hires together in order to get the most bang for your onboarding buck. However, this isn’t a good idea, because, in order to do so, you’d have to postpone the process for some and rush it for others.
Additionally, catering to individuals becomes almost impossible (as does measuring progress) when you’re dealing with an entire group of people. This type of onboarding could also lead to interpersonal confrontations and long-lasting attitude adjustments that could be harmful in the future.
Make it Interactive
Optimizing your onboarding and training programs not only has a cost-saving effect on your company, but it also reduces the time in which new hires reach a baseline level of operational knowledge. According to statistics from UrbanBound, as much as 20% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, and organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new-hire productivity. So how do companies create an effective onboarding process?
The greatest opportunity for improvement in workplace learning could be the creation of of highly engaging, interactive, and hyper-personalized instruction. Artificial intelligence (AI) and technology platforms promise a realistic solution to the problem of one-size-fits-all education. AI-enabled intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs), for example, date back to the 1980s at the college level and in the military. Their advanced counterparts are now part of many modern systems.
Many tech companies now are offering tools like this one that enables learning and development professionals to implement authentic AI in eLearning. These platforms offer personalization, adaptive learning, content curation, and automated, real-time assessment. Its algorithms examine various types of learning content, then break the content down and classify each word, phrase, and concept. As a learner goes through the material, every keystroke, every pause, and every break is analyzed in real-time by algorithms that assess and predict the learner’s progress.
Use the Data and Iterate
For companies that are using technology in their onboarding process, data collection is happening behind the scenes automatically.
Over the years, learning management systems improved and detailed information on eLearning activities became available. However, HR organizations were still unable to do much with this data because they lacked standardized reporting tools for use across the entire business. In the absence of such tools, all of this valuable eLearning data was being viewed in a vacuum.
The best modern learning and development programs bring context back into the equation with enhanced reporting systems that collect and integrate data from their learning systems and videos embedded throughout the HR processes.
By doing this, HR teams are able to track the progress of the new employees and how they are responding to the training program.
With such systems in place, organizations can finally see how their investments in training are paying off in performance, succession planning, goal achievement, organizational readiness, and can take the time to revisit the data regularly and make changes to optimize the process even further.
By taking the time to fully train and incorporate a new hire or transfer, rather than just “getting them up to speed,” you’re investing in the future of your company. Not only are fully “onboarded” employees generally happier in their jobs, but they’re also more likely to stay on for the long haul – making them far more effective for your company’s growth than those who miss out on critical onboarding processes.