Getting a new employee up to speed is a tough task for organizations, given the time and costs involved. The total cost of hiring and onboarding a new employee can range from USD 1000 for services-related industries to as high as USD 5,000, or more, in a professional or manufacturing set-up. What’s more – an average employee isn’t fully productive until the fifth or sixth month. This ‘productivity tax’ and the long wait can get really taxing for organizations as businesses today operate on a tight timeline. Can the time-to-productivity for new hires be shortened? Fortunately, yes, and onboarding, one of several talent management solutions, plays a major role in getting there.
how the right onboarding can turn new hires into star employees quickly
Onboarding refers to the time gap between job offer acceptance and candidate assimilation i.e. when a candidate is absorbed into a company’s culture and starts showing results. Truly getting an employee ‘on board’ means more than just imparting job training or doing the paperwork – often termed as ‘death by orientation’ as it leaves new employees bored, ill-equipped, and saps all enthusiasm. While numerous studies have proved that a structured onboarding program should be 90 days long, most companies are yet to take note.
According to a recent survey, 36% of employers lack a structured onboarding program for new hires. Nearly three-quarters of hiring managers in the survey revealed that their onboarding process lasts one month or less, while 50% said onboarding at their companies lasts only about a week. Companies that lack or skimp on onboarding often face costly consequences - lower employee productivity (16%), greater inefficiencies (14%), higher employee turnover (12%), lower employee morale (11%), lower level of employee engagement (10%), and missed revenue targets (6%).
On the other hand, the benefits of having a structured and longer onboarding program are proven. 62% of companies with a structured onboarding program see faster time-to-productivity. 58% of employees who undergo a structured onboarding program are more likely to hit the three-year retention mark with the organization. What’s more - employees in the longest onboarding programs become fully productive 34% faster than those in the shortest programs – a huge difference of nearly four months.
relational onboarding – nurturing employees to maximize performance
Considering most companies aren’t even paying the minimum attention to onboarding that it deserves, relational onboarding – the concept of extending onboarding programs to a year to nurture employees and help them reach maximum productivity may seem absurd. But remember, nearly 90% of employees decide whether to stay or go within their first six months on a job. Other advantages of relational onboarding that include collaborative and continued learning, better peer to peer connect, and deeper alignment with the organizational culture, far outweigh the investment in the long-term.
sometimes all it takes is to show ‘you care’
Whether your new hires are freshers or seasoned professionals, they are both excited and nervous to start a new job and this ‘mixed feelings’ phase is an opportunity time for employers to get to their hearts. How Google raked up its new employee (referred to as Noogler) productivity by 25% with a single email is a classic example of this. The tech giant conducted an internal pilot project that included an email the HR department sent managers the Sunday before their new employee's first day. It included a five-point checklist the manager must follow:
- Conduct a roles-and-responsibilities discussion.
- Match your Noogler with a peer buddy.
- Assist your Noogler in building a like-minded social network.
- Conduct onboarding check-ins once a month for your Noogler's first six months.
- Encourage open and two-way communication.
At the heart of the checklist, the message was clear – show the new employee that you care.