A great onboarding experience will help employees adjust to their new role so they can quickly deliver valuable work and thrive in their new environment.
Ideally, an onboarding program will:
- Embed the company culture
- Explain the resources available in the role
- Clearly explain the job role and expectations from new hires’ managers
- Introduce new hires to the individuals they’ll need to collaborate and work with
The Benefits of a World-Class Onboarding Program
The onboarding experience is strongly correlated with a number of important employee experience and engagement KPIs including:
- Tenure – employees tend to stay longer at a company when they’ve had a positive onboarding experience
- Ramp time – the better the onboarding process, the faster new employees get up to speed and deliver valuable work to the company
- Advocacy – a better onboarding process has been shown to increase the likelihood that new hires will recommend you as a place to work, potentially referring more top talent to the organisation
Each of those metrics has a tangible link back to the organisation’s core operating metrics. Take ramp time for example – if the average ramp time was 6 months, think of the increased value to the company if you can improve the onboarding process and reduce that to just 3. In that scenario, for every new hire, the organisation would get an additional 3 months of full value out of them in the first year.
Improving the Onboarding Experience
In order to improve your onboarding program, you need to get an understanding of what’s working and what’s not through employee feedback.
The most common way to do this is by automating an onboarding survey to be sent at particular milestones during the onboarding process. This could be after every training session, introduction or other milestones, or you could choose to send them after a set time, say 30 days, after starting in the role.
The aim of their feedback is to identify the effectiveness of your program and a great way to achieve that is to combine onboarding feedback with other employee lifecycle feedback like the annual engagement survey or employees’ 360 development reviews.
This allows you to monitor the effect of the onboarding program on other areas further on in the lifecycle. For example, does the onboarding program have an impact on engagement after 12 months? Is there a link between the onboarding experience and people’s performance reviews?
Bringing all this data together means you’ll be able to make connections to really demonstrate the value of your initiatives and also spot areas for improvement.
For example, you may spot that those employees who gave a poor rating when asked their views on their career conversations during onboarding are also receiving low ratings in their performance reviews. This gives you the information you need to improve help improve performance, by focusing on working with managers to improve the career conversations they’re having with new hires.
Similarly, you can start to look for patterns throughout the lifecycle – is there a link between employee attrition and employee feedback in onboarding? How does the onboarding experience affect engagement after year 1 in the job? Are there any areas for improvement in your employee engagement survey that could be addressed through changes to the onboarding process?
Understanding this data and how it impacts the rest of the employee lifecycle is a key part of prioritising your initiatives in HR. With a holistic view of every touchpoint, you can see what improvements will have the biggest impact on your core KPIs and crucially, where you need to step in to make them.
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