Onboarding: You Only Get One Shot At This

Linda LaitalaBusiness, Employees, ManagementLeave a Comment


Traditionally, orienting new employees is a rote process consisting of an employee handbook, videos, an explanation of duties and being introduced to co-workers. But in a tight labor market, savvy employers realize keeping good employees depends on the initial relationship they develop with the organization – the Onboarding process.

Onboarding: simply put, integrating a new employee into an organization and its culture.   Successful onboarding has the potential to double revenue growth and profit margins (as compared to firms who do average or no onboarding).

IBM, Facebook, Google and Zappos have run the numbers and discovered a high economic value in adding, bold, high-impact features to onboarding.

Traditional “first-day-only onboarding” has a negligible impact on retention, but when new hires take part in a structured onboarding process, 66% are likely to stay with the company longer than three years.

Wipro created an employee-focused process that emphasizes the strengths of new employees.  After six months, employees who participated in the program were 32% more likely to stay than those who had gone through the traditional process.

Extending the length of onboarding can also have a dramatic impact on turnover because it provides more time for coaching, sharing information and answering questions.

IBM (Succeeding@IBM) and L’Oréal offer two-year processes that provide new hires with information on corporate values, strategy, and the resources necessary to be successful.  Facebook requires six weeks at their onboarding “boot camp” while Rackspace and Zappos offer a four-week program.

Rackspace includes games, skits with costumes, thumping music and a limbo bar in their initial four-day process.  Bazaarvoice sends incoming employees on a week-long scavenger hunt designed to bring them up to speed on company jargon and culture.

Arrow Electronics developed an interactive onboarding computer game called “A Culture for Success”.  Each module is followed by a quiz show type element that gives immediate feedback on how well they did.

Onboarding can be a powerful tool for retaining employees.  Pair it with a culture of caring, educational programs designed to grow people and a well-executed communication flow, and your every hire will be golden.

The road is easier together,

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