In a Talent Driven Market, more companies are embracing the need to effectively recruit, develop and retain the very best employees. A strategic onboarding process is a critical component of effective Talent Acquisition programs, and yet it is often overlooked as a priority. Does your company employ this valuable strategic tool?
According to an Aberdeen Group report in 2014, only 32% of companies have a formal onboarding process in place. This fact is more alarming when compared to research that asserts nearly 40% of newly hired executives fail or quit their positions within the first 18 months. Further, the Aberdeen Group reported in 2013 that 80% of new hires decide whether or not to leave a company within the first six months and 25% (one in four) actually do leave before making a valuable contribution.
Companies spend a great deal of money recruiting key talent. They also recognize the high cost of losing top talent. Turnover can negatively impact employee morale and organizational productivity. The sudden departure of a newly hired executive may influence a company’s image, making it more difficult to recruit additional new talent. The first months of a new hire’s tenure go by so quickly and they are critically important. Are you setting your new recruits up for success?
What is onboarding? Onboarding is more than employee orientation. It clarifies roles and outlines expectations and success criteria. It aligns goals with the organizational vision and identifies behaviors and competencies necessary for success. Onboarding maps out key relationships and delivers insightful feedback from key stakeholders. It focuses on the early months of an executive’s tenure and includes a custom designed onboarding document to guide the executive’s cultural integration. There is often a one-on-one executive coaching partner to guide and monitor the executive’s onboarding experience.
Why don’t more companies use onboarding? In 2013, SilkRoad, a global provider of end-to-end HR Solutions, surveyed 250 HR professionals, from a range of companies and industries. Their research revealed that many companies do not have a formal onboarding strategy mostly because of lack of time commitment to the process, budget and limited expertise on how to develop or manage a program.
What are the benefits of onboarding? A strategic approach to onboarding accelerates a new hire’s integration with the organizational culture, business strategy and leadership team. The process, when done well, can transform a new hire into a highly productive, contributory leader faster and more effectively. It enhances communication and collaboration while strengthening relationships. It increases retention and in doing so, lowers the overall cost of recruiting.
Set up for Success: I recently had the privilege of helping a prominent Twin Cities organization implement a structured onboarding process for a new senior executive. We designed the program to ensure the success and retention of a highly regarded executive who was aggressively recruited. Our onboarding process started before the executive’s first day of employment. The hiring manager and I outlined a 90-day plan. I interviewed him, significant peers and the hire’s direct reports to draft a “Blueprint for Success” guide for the new executive. Our engagement included an executive coaching component with monitoring check-ins to ensure success or manage course correction.
This process was overwhelmingly embraced by all participants. People were forthright, engaged and committed to helping the new executive quickly acclimate to the culture. The interviews were powerful and participants shared personal and professional information increasing the win-win potential for themselves, the new executive and the organization. The new hire welcomed the onboarding plan and the executive coaching partnership.
My client experience validated the efficacy and wisdom of taking a strategic approach to onboarding. The company and the new executive shared a commitment to success. They leveraged onboarding and are positioned well to achieve their full potential.