Five secrets to successful onboarding

Every company has at least this in common: quality hires are critical to business success. Taking a step back, research shows that quality hires are directly tied to strong onboarding programs, yet more than half of all companies still do not leverage these enriching employee development programs.

Onboarding technology has been shown to boost retention and engagement while decreasing workload on existing employees. Furthermore, it keeps all new hire information in one accessible, secure location for convenience, saving everyone involved in the onboarding process lots of time and frustration.

If you’re thinking about starting or improving an existing new hire program at your organization, there are a few things you should know first.

There’s an easy way to reduce the burden of paper pushing 

Few people enjoy paperwork. Cutting this out of your first-day training by having new hires fill out forms before coming in increases engagement, job satisfaction and collaboration. Though many companies may not be using fully realized onboarding programs, more than 60 percent are at least leveraging online forms for tasks ranging from tax documentation, to equipment requests and employee bios.

Beyond saving paper, electronic forms and task management optimizes data integrity and gives employees the opportunity to complete information at their convenience. 

On-the-job training can start before the job 

Considering that lack of critical skills is one of the largest challenges in today’s labor market, 53 percent of workers said they’d like their jobs more if they had better training.

Onboarding technology can help boost employee skill sets through the coordination of on-site conferences, meetings, and workshops, or seamless transfer of candidate-turned-employee information to an online talent development program to track professional growth over time through guided coursework.

Showing new employees that they can seek new work paths within the organization is a great way to retain top talent and reduce churn. 

Early introductions foster teamwork 

According to a study from the Academy of Management Journal, the first 90 days of employment are pivotal to building rapport with the company, management and coworkers. When teammates and company leaders showed high levels of support, new hires often had more positive attitudes about their job and even worked harder. Provide a clear overview of the team, department, and leadership within onboarding content so hires can get to know their coworkers and establish connections early on.

Good old-fashioned mentorship still matters

A solid new hire program supported by onboarding technology also lays the groundwork for personal mentorship — and since more than 40 percent of employees reported wanting to be managed by a coach or mentor-like figure, this is a valuable strategy.

When hiring managers can begin meaningful communication before day one, their rapport with the new hire will have that much more weight. This level of comfort sets the stage for a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with shared goals in mind. 

Branding is a big differentiator

Dynamic first-day content like videos and welcome messages within a branded onboarding software portal can quickly and effectively teach about office culture and corporate policies alike. With just half of all companies still not fully utilizing onboard technology, now is the best time to make this investment to pull ahead of the pack.

Remember, 89 percent of HR professionals agree that a strong employment brand provides companies an edge against their competition, so don’t miss any opportunity to build it up and get buy in from employees!

Onboarding may be a new concept to some, but it is undoubtedly a core component of successful new hire engagement. More than 40 percent of turnovers are within the first six months, so this time is especially crucial to long-term retention. Well-trained employees are more productive and more loyal, making it a great investment for any company looking to thrive through the rest of 2016 and well beyond.

As chief marketing officer at iCIMS, Susan Vitale oversees direct marketing efforts as well as business development across a network of strategic alliances around the globe. She also plays a role in portfolio strategy, helping to ensure iCIMS’ products and platform remain on the radar of the ever-changing HR technology landscape.