How to Onboard Talent and Boost Employee Retention

The onboarding experience for a new employee can be as extensive as a month-long program filled with meetings, and training, or it can be a quick hello with a middle manager. If you are reading this, chances are you are wondering how to improve the way you onboard talent.

Considering this: when your workforce has a great onboarding experience, their employee retention rate is increased by 82%, it’s no wonder that organizations around the world are optimizing their onboarding process

Especially now, after the COVID pandemic moved companies online, creating a flawless onboarding experience for new talent is vital for the future success of your business. 

How Do Most Organizations Handle the Onboarding Process?

On the first day of a new job, employers typically assign a ‘Buddy Employee’ to onboard the new hires, walk them to their desks, and walk them through the day-to-day at the company. No bells, no whistles, and absolutely no fanfare. 

Even if there is a structure in place, perhaps with some meetings booked in or some expectations outlined, it only lasts until the “buddy” gets overwhelmed or called into another meeting. With disappointing first days like these being the norm, it’s understandable that 28% of employees leave within 90 days after their onboarding.

That was already the case prior to the COVID pandemic. and the seismic changes it has brought to the workplace. Within our new reality, some new hires are finding it harder than ever to meet, communicate, and build relationships with people on their team

Especially considering that 76% of new hires believe that socialization with their coworkers is the most important element of integrating into a new job, the movement to more anti-social remote working dynamics has frustrated the onboarding process entirely. 

Perfecting New Hires – the John Deere Onboarding Experience

In their 2017 book, The Power of Moments, Dan and Chip Heath outline how positive experiences are the trigger to building memories, establishing bonds, and forming the foundation of our characters. They suggest that the key to onboarding talent and to developing new hires that are motivated and productive is to ensure personalization at every step of the process.

New employees should feel special the moment they step foot in the building, with a buddy going that extra mile to personalize their onboarding experience. They outline a few examples of this:

  • A welcome screen with the employee’s name in the lobby
  • Putting a banner on their cubicle to invite other employees to say hello
  • A video message from the CEO welcoming the employee (Pete sample video)

All of these ideas come back to the central point that new hires only have one first day on the job. It is all about showing them that their new company values them from the moment they walk through the door. 

Not only does a structured onboarding program increase productivity and engagement, but it also boosts the likelihood that the new hire will stay at the company for at least three years by 69%. This returns to what the John Deere Experience exemplifies, employees that are made to feel special on their first day are more likely to connect with their job, feel more passion, and ultimately stay for longer.

How Can my Business Boost Talent Acquisition and Ensure a Smooth Onboarding Experience?

When looking to onboard talent, the central goal should always be socialization. As social creatures, humans need company, with employees that feel part of a team being more likely to resonate with their company and work harder while at their job.

Seeking to onboard talent properly shouldn’t be a strenuous process. Once you’ve constructed a range of processes and systems that cover up to the first six months, you’ll be able to help your employees get into the flow. That said, there are three main aspects that you should try and remember when introducing talent into the business.

Start with Values

Part of employee and employer engagement comes back to people feeling inspired by what they’re working towards. Due to this, aligning your potential future candidates with your work culture is a vital step in the hiring process. 

Be sure to question how your candidates align with your company values, and then guide your workforce towards upholding these values once they’re active in the company. Not only does this help an employee feel in sync with the organization they work for, but it also gives them a base of operations to refer to whenever they face challenges at work. 

Cohort Learning is a Superpower

When you onboard talent in groups rather than individually, the collaborative nature of all being in the same boat will lead to an improvement in how these new hires work together in the company. Not only does this lead to success down the line, but it also helps create a communal workforce where everyone feels familiar and teamwork becomes second nature.

The increased structure that hires can get from going through their onboarding together can help them learn faster, focus more, and progress while feeling supported. If you can, moving to group recruiting has a range of benefits for both your business and the individuals themselves. 

Using tools like Lattus that help boost collaboration amongst organizations by facilitating high-impact conversations between employees and mentors is a fantastic way of overcoming the hybrid environment issue that post-COVID workers are facing. By moving to services that help to increase communication, you’ll be able to help your employees access conversations and develop during their working day. 

Onboarding is Ongoing

While the John Deere Experience demonstrates the importance and benefits of a great first day, onboarding talent doesn’t stop there. An employer should put in place tools, tips, and opportunities for their new team members for weeks, if not months, into the future. 

These events could be as simple as a 1-1 meeting each week to help check up on how team members are fairing. Equally, your business could run feedback sessions on how the employee’s expectations of the role are being met if they’re having any issues dealing with clients, or fitting into the company culture. 

Above all, to onboard talent is to welcome a new hire into your organization with structure, support, and solutions in place to help them out – whatever their issue may be. Investing in your own talent is never a waste, with a strong system for new hires ensuring you attract top talent and make sure they stay as long as possible. 

Onboarding isn’t a daily or weekly effort, but one that continues to develop as the brand behind the system changes, grows, and refines itself. 

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