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Time for Onboarding

This post was written by Ed Lines and first appeared on the LINE blog on 14th December 2012.

I know the term is guilty of being rather Americani[z]ed, and it isn’t even recognised as a legitimate word in my spellchecker, but I’m going to be referring to the process by which organisations get their employees up-to-speed in their new job roles as ‘onboarding’ rather than ‘induction’. ‘Onboarding’ implies something welcoming and continuous rather than being something forced and isolated.

SilkRoad Technology defines it as, “The process of integrating new employees into an organisation, of preparing them to succeed at their job, and to become fully engaged, productive members of the organisation”. And if you wanted to define ‘effective onboarding’, you might just add ‘as soon as possible’ to that.

LINE’s Director, Steve Ash, is going to be dealing with the subject of how to onboard effectively in a more detailed article next month, so the purpose of this blog is to briefly highlight the opportunities that a rethink of your onboarding process could bring. Especially if it is similar to Catbert’s below!

dilbert onboarding

Firstly, some state of the nation facts from Bersin & Associates for you:

First impressions count: 90% of employees make a decision to stay within the first 6 months.

  • Full productivity takes time and support: On average, 6 months for more senior roles
  • Failure is costly: an unsuccessful transition costs companies 1.5 to 5 times annual salary

I think the last point is important, not just from a financial point of view but because not everyone who is disengaged during the transitional phase will leave. Many will stay and remain disengaged and be in high-risk positions, risking people’s safety and the company’s integrity and business.

Secondly, when you consider onboarding to be a bigger entity than just a health and safety chat and a meeting with IT, it can lead to fairly significant results. Aberdeen Group has done a fantastic piece of research monitoring 282 companies who have some form of onboarding strategy in place against companies that do not.

impact of standardized onboarding

Highlights of the chart suggest that having an onboarding strategy in place increases new employee retention by nearly one third, it improves performance by 13%, and it doubles employee engagement. So, the better you support your new employees, the better it will be for the business.

We’ve got many facts and figures of our own where we’ve proved that a rethink of the onboarding process can lead to large savings, increased sales, reduced time to competency and reduced training time. We’ll save these success stories for our next post where we’ll also present an engaging method in which to harness an onboarding programme!