With the urgency to fill staffing gaps brought on by the pandemic, we’ve all spent time and effort in the recruiting process to find the best candidate, it sucks hours out of the day and we can’t wait to get back to business. However, that sense of relief at finding a good candidate and the urgency to make up for ‘lost’ time often mean decent onboarding is overlooked – at the expense of your business.
Once your new hire officially joins, as well as job stuff, there is essential information about the organisation and its culture that needs to be assimilated to give them the best possible head start. Many employers feel the pressure to have the new employee jump straight in and have them figure things out as they go. Shadowing other employees helps but is not the ideal solution and such an ad-hoc approach is high risk. The first few weeks on the job are critical in ensuring the employee’s engagement, not least in the need to receive information first hand from the leader on the purpose and direction of the organisation – they need context as well as process.
Onboarding is often confused with orientation, but there are important differences: onboarding is longer and more involved. Your new hire’s first impression of your business will have a lasting impact on how they integrate, induction spanning a few weeks will help your employee settle in, while you can take comfort in the knowledge that they have the right skills and information to perform at their best.
It is not just in the best interest of your new hires either, research repeatedly indicates that proper onboarding not only reduces churn but also improves commitment and job satisfaction. New employees are often anxious in their new roles, and good onboarding allows them to settle in. When they are in unfamiliar territory, they often can’t see the forest for the trees, leaving them overwhelmed and uncertain of what is to be expected of them.
Are you still not convinced about the importance of good onboarding? Here are my top five reasons why the failure to invest time in new employees is bad for business.
1. Labour Churn is Costly
Many businesses fear investing time in new hires early on, before they get a feel for the value they can bring to the table. However, consider the investment you’ve already made in the recruitingprocess, this investment will go to waste if newcomers apply their ‘new job enthusiasm’ with no foundation or direction. Here is a surprise statistic for you – if you take into consideration the time of redoing interviews, the cost of reposting for the same job and time spent onboarding all over again, the cost of failure can be up to 150% of the employee’s salary. Finances aside, high employee turnover also negatively impacts the team as a whole. For instance;
Staff can become demoralised and lose trust in the judgment of management.
Existing staff have to pick up the slack while you are searching for a replacement, which will also negatively impact productivity.
Employees will find it hard to form a connection with fellow staff, as they don’t know who will stick around. This will seriously impact teamwork and staff relations.
2. Losing Key Talent
Attracting fresh talent is the first step towards an exceptional and high performing team. How do you plan to retain these skills, if they’re joining a team unsettled by previous recruitment or retention failures? You shouldn’t just consider what a new hire brings to your company either, you’d better start thinking early on what a career path might look like, because you can bet your starter is thinking along those lines already. Onboarding can bridge the gap between what they bring and what is expected of them. If new joiners form a good first impression of your business they will tend to stick around and bring their A-game.
3. The corrosiveness of misinformation
It is frustrating at best for everyone when a new hire (or existing employees, for that matter) are out of synch and expect to go right when the rest of the team is going left. Miscommunication and misinformation are corrosive to any organisation. Onboarding helps to keep everyone on the same page, with an emphasis on the job role and frequent check-ins with managers. This dialogue will help develop the group bond as teams discuss their goals and the direction of the work relationship. No business should experience damaging miscommunication when it’s so easy to avoid! .
4. Low employee engagement damages productivity
As Richard Branson once said, “Clients don’t come first, employees do.” It’s safe to assume a happy worker is a good worker, but how do you quantify how they contribute to the business performance? According to Gallup, an “engaged team” outperforms other teams by a factor of two. Unsatisfied and disconnected employees will do the bare minimum, and not go the extra mile to make your company extraordinary. A well delivered onboarding programme doesn’t just engage employees, but it also:
Increases the bond of the overall team
Helps staff to reconnect and stay connected to the company’s goals and vision
Create a sense of excitement in existing teams with the fresh perspective of a new employee who integrates seamlessly into the workforce.
5. Disconnected new hires fail to perform
Ever been thrown into the deep end and be told to sink or swim? It may make for a great dinner table anecdote, but it’s not good for the new hire or the business. Dropping a procedures manual and telling them to get on with it is not likely to inspire excellence. Even go-getters and self-starters need direction if they are to fully familiarise themselves with your processes and software. No manual can teach a new employee about the company’s passion and culture – they need to experience it. Proper onboarding helps them learn the ropes in a connected, hands-on environment. Independence should be encouraged step by step, and the induction will make it that much easier to let them perform without supervision.
It is crucial then, that leaders plan and execute onboarding with the same energy they apply to product launches and sales presentations. Next time, take time to reflect on your current process and how it could be improved. Instead of thinking about what you can’t afford, think of what you can’t afford to lose.