4 Ingredients for the Perfect Employee Onboarding Process (2016 Edition)

By / January 7, 2015 / / 4 Comments

*Updated from our previous post “4 Ingredients for the Perfect Employee Onboarding Process”

Do you often lose new candidates within their first 3 months? Or do you find it takes a long time for new employees to become effective in their role? Chances are you’ve got some kinks in your onboarding process.

The good news is, you’re not alone. The latest report on employee onboarding from the Aberdeen Group shows only 32% of companies currently have a formal onboarding process.

Having worked with some of the leading employee onboarders across Australia & NZ, we’ve seen some definite trends in what works and what doesn’t work in the average employee onboarding process. Here’s the 4 (+ 1 Bonus Ingredient)  most important ingredients all the best ones have.

Include Line Managers in the Employee Onboarding Process

employee onboarding
Source: Michael Stern

61% of Best-in-Class onboarding businesses give their managers visibility into the status of new hires. You should too!

By including managers in the process (rather than just relying on HR), you ensure that best practices are followed. If managers understand what employee onboarding is about, the effects it can have on engagement and the positive effect it will have on staff retention, they’ll be more than happy to do their part.

Part of this process should facilitate two-way feedback. HR needs to tell managers who the at-risk employees are. Managers need to share information about new hires’ performance, experience and engagement to HR to help refine the new hire process.

Live & Breathe your Employer Brand

employee onboarding
Source: llee_wu

If you’ve already got an awesome workplace culture, you want to share those values with new candidates during the onboarding process. This ensures they’re the right fit for the organisation, but if you can position yourself as an employer of choice, it can also help you catch those first choice candidates.

Only 32% of organisations communicate their core values to candidates and new employees, which can lead to higher turnover (especially in the first 3 months).

If you don’t have a strong employer brand, use your employee on-boarding process to build one! Make your candidates feel welcome from day 1 (or even earlier) and allow them to spread the word about how great an organisation you are to work for.

Automate the Process with Employee Onboarding Software

employee onboarding
Source: Michael Stern

The big one! Automating the employee onboarding process is vital to any business who’s serious about taking their onboarding to the next level. The Aberdeen Group found Best-In-Class companies are:

  • 1.6x more likely to use a portal for new hires to access documents, forms and policies
  • 14% more likely to provide forms to new hires before Day 1 (usually performed automatically online)
  • 2.54x more likely to track new hire progress during the onboarding process

It’s not surprising why the HR leaders automate this process. Automation means less legwork for HR, easy communication of provisioning requirements for new hires (to IT & Finance, for example), fewer mistakes due to human error and a proven, structured framework for onboarding new employees.

Online automation also allows new hires to complete all the necessary paperwork and preparation before Day 1, reducing the time it takes for the employee to become effective in their role and easing their transition into the organisation.

Don’t Stop Onboarding After their First Week

employee onboarding
Source: Herry Lawford

Companies with shorter onboarding programs are 9% less likely to retain their first-year employees. So what counts as ‘too short’ for an employee onboarding process? Whilst it will depend a lot on the company and the role, the general rule of thumb is that it must be longer than a month.

Remember that the onboarding process doesn’t just help retention. Try to focus your onboarding on getting new employees effective and happy in their roles and you’ll likely find their performance will increase too. If you have a good learning and development program within your organisation, co-ordinate it with your onboarding process to manage employees’ entire careers.

For example, we recently completed up-skilling our employees in Digital Marketing, specifically educating them in the SEO process and to track success in Google Analytics. Shout out to DataSauce.

If your employee onboarding process is missing any of these ingredients, check out our free guide to Creating the Business Case for Employee Onboarding Software to work out which elements will give you the biggest return.

Bonus: Create an alumni group!

Employee onboarding
Source: Michael Stern

Alumni groups are a great way to create a network so your employees can keep in touch with each other and your organisation. They can be simple to set up, and they can make the recruitment process much easier later on down the track.

Having an alumni group for the new hire to join will instantly make them feel part of the team. It will enable them to quickly pickup company culture and meet their new colleagues. Alumni groups are also great at directing potential candidates in your current employees network towards your advertised positions.

And for when the employee finally exits your organisation, they are more likely to ‘boomerang’ back into the organisation later on in their careers, bringing with them added experience, knowledge and connections.