An engaging onboarding program is key to long-term retention and employee productivity, but what is it about successful onboarding that creates these effects? Consider your first day at a new job. You fill out paper work with HR, meet your supervisors and colleagues, and learn more about your responsibilities. You’ll also start to see the culture. Now take all the supporting structures and information out of the picture: you are thrown into your tasks with no orientation, nothing to go on. Sounds overwhelming, right? When it’s done well, onboarding helps to eliminate that sink or swim experience for new hires.
What Is Onboarding
Let’s note that onboarding is not the same as training. A great onboarding program familiarizes and engages new employees with company culture, connects people to the vision and mission of the company, and builds relationships between colleagues. A program with these qualities lets new employees know that management values them and will provide the infrastructure for them to do their jobs well.
There are lots of strategies you can use to make your onboarding more effective and engaging. Start by frontloading the process, making sure that your new hires have what they need right off the bat. You can reduce information overload by spacing out the information to avoid the forgetting curve. Or, if you want to spice things up, try using video and other kinds of media to show your new employees exactly how the company operates.
There’s a lot riding on your onboarding program. In order to drive employee retention, speed up time to productivity, increase engagement, and consider getting an expert opinion from outside your company. A fresh perspective can reveal new ideas and interactions that you may have missed before.
Nu Skin understood the value of an excellent onboarding program. However, they knew that they didn’t have the time or resources to create one, and decided that they needed to get some outside perspective on the matter.
So, Nu Skin asked Allen Communication to create some interactive training modules to provide a strong foundation for its new hires. Allen Communication designed a course that allowed learners to identify their long-term business goals and visually represent their sphere of influence. The training modules were optional, but the results were dramatic. 75% of distributors worldwide chose to complete the activities, reporting that they felt happy with their learning experience. Nu Skin’s retention rates increased as new employees felt empowered to create attainable goals through a clear path of action.
Onboarding’s Impact on Retention
Onboarding is serious business, and your level of dedication to it will make you stand out from other companies. When employees are given a structured onboarding experience, they are 69% more likely to stay on for at least 3 years. On average, 23% of new hires leave before their first anniversary, and this can only be made worse when the onboarding experience is poor or nonexistent. Since the cost of turnover is between 30-50% of the employee’s salary, losses can get out of hand quickly.
Part of the reason for this effect is that onboarding creates social engagement at work. 70% of employees say that having friendships at work is key to enjoying their work life. Your employees want to be productive, learn new skills, and engage with their work, so provide them with a structure that helps them achieve these goals.
Create clear job titles, responsibilities, and expectations. Set goals and milestones, introduce them to other team members and colleagues, and even get involved in the program. Making the onboarding investment today will build a strong, stable workforce in the future.