The Great Resignation: how to retain top talent with an automated onboarding process

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a paradigm shift in the way we work. In what economists are calling “The Great Resignation”, employees in 2021 resigned en masse. In August 2021, 2.9% of the US workforce left their jobs – the highest number ever on record. In the UK, in that same month, the number of job openings exceeded one million.

The mass exodus was indicative of many things: burnout, bad management, systems poorly adapted for hybrid working. Organizations, in a bid to retain their employees, have since invested in software initiatives, benefit schemes, and more flexible working hours. But what about where it all starts?

Employee onboarding is a process crucial to retaining new employees in their first year. Done correctly, it gives new hires the right tools, skills, and behaviors to perform at their best. Done badly and employees will feel unequipped, unsupported, and may look for another role. Poor onboarding is costly for employee and employer alike, and so it’s vital that businesses get it right. In the midst of a mass resignation, we look at the importance of employee onboarding and how an automated onboarding process can help retain talent.

What makes a good onboarding experience?

You’ve finally done it. After months of interviewing candidates, marking tests, and wading through mounds of administration, you’ve found the right candidate. Now comes the task of bringing her into your business and, with a successful onboarding process, ensuring that she sticks around.

A survey conducted by Glassdoor found that employees who rated their onboarding experience as “highly effective” were 18 times more likely to feel committed to their organization. A successful onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. It also predicts employee contribution, with 49% contributing to businesses within their first week. The stats are there, and so it falls to businesses to provide the very best in company onboarding.

So, what makes a good onboarding experience and what steps can you take to improve yours? Here are some tips:

  • First impressions are everything: 4% of new hires leave a job after a disastrous first day. Another 22% leave within the first 45 days. This means that the first day, week, and month are vital for making a great first impression. The importance of employee onboarding becomes most apparent in those firsts (day, meeting, review), as candidates gauge whether the company is a good fit. A bad first impression can leave a bad taste with new hires.
  • In it for the long-term: This is not to say that employee onboarding should end after a month. Many companies make the mistake of creating a successful short-term onboarding experience but allow it to drop off soon after. The general consensus among HR professionals is that onboarding takes three months, but research actually suggests that extending onboarding for up to a year can increase employee retention. This can take the form of regular check-ins, training reviews, and online courses.
  • Onboarding starts with pre-onboarding: Another mistake organizations make is to assume that onboarding begins on an employee’s first day. Not the case. The time in between accepting a job offer and starting the role is an apprehensive one for new hires. A whopping 65% of employers experience candidates not even turning up on their first day, usually down to poor communication with the hiring party. It’s vital, then, that employers recognize the importance of employee onboarding early on: checking in with new hires, providing fun training materials (e.g. short surveys), personalized welcome emails, and calendar invites. You want the new hire to feel part of the team as soon as possible.
  • Make it streamlined: Employee onboarding is a complex process to undertake. It involves multiple actions at multiple stages, many of which involve multiple personnel (e.g. IT departments to set up software; heads of departments to provide training). An automated onboarding process can remove the legwork for HR professionals, prompting actions when necessary and providing a visual map of the process overall.

Don’t complicate it; automate it

An effective onboarding process ought to be easy to iterate. The steps should be sequential, clear to every member of the process, and structured so that they can be carried out over a long period of time (up to a year, for the best employee retention) without impacting the daily work of employees.

An automated onboarding process is ideal for streamlining and fast-tracking the onboarding process. Every step, including providing new starter forms, approvals, equipment, accounts, software licenses etc., can be automated, prompting team members to act when they need to and ensuring that no step gets forgotten.

With a seamless automated onboarding process, candidates will hang around longer, cutting turnover costs and ensuring that new hires feel looked after. Navigating through a wave of mass resignations can be difficult for employers, but preventative measures can be taken with pre-onboarding, a long-term onboarding lifecycle, and automated processes for a smooth transition.

 

 

At Nintex we recognize the importance of employee onboarding and offer automated solutions. For more information contact our team today.

 

 

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