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HR: Does your onboarding process truly support new hires?

Published on April 17th, 2018 by Triton Benefits & HR Solutions

Internal human resources teams are in charge of numerous critically important processes, particularly when it comes to recruitment and hiring. However, once a new worker is brought aboard, the business counts on HR stakeholders to support yet another essential process: onboarding.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people now hold more jobs than ever before during their career – 11 in total, compared to the six jobs individuals held over the course of their working life 20 years ago. What's more, it currently costs 25 to even 50 percent of an annual salary to replace a staff member.

This puts considerable pressure on HR stakeholders to ensure that onboarding is informational and efficient, and truly supports the needs of new hires as well as the business itself.

"76 percent of companies are not carrying out effective onboarding processes."

High turnover: Struggles with onboarding

When someone joins a new company, it can be a whirlwind of new faces, new processes and a considerable amount of paperwork. The onboarding process represents the incoming hire's first official welcome to the company, as well as his or her introduction to the organization's key operating processes and job expectations.

In today's environment, however, many new hires are not feeling supported during this key phase. A survey from Kronos Inc. and the Human Capital Institute found that 76 percent of companies are not carrying out effective onboarding processes, the Society for Human Resource Management reported. Of the 350 HR leaders surveyed, only 47 percent noted that their onboarding activities result in the retention of new hires, and an additional 24 percent admitted their company did not have an officially stated onboarding program.

A lack of structured onboarding doesn't just result in high turnover – it also leads to reduced productivity and lower employee engagement. 

"Starting a new job is exciting … yet it's also a time of apprehension and uncertainty where new hires meet colleagues, learn new processes, and understand how to make an impact at their new organization," said Kronos HR senior director Malysa O'Connor. "Organizations that succeed in capturing that enthusiasm while minimizing other challenges will gain a competitive advantage."

"Hello I am" name tag with the word "NEW." Ineffective onboarding can lead to reduced productivity and engagement, as well as high turnover.

Tips for HR managers: How to improve onboarding

In order to ensure that new hires are supported during onboarding and that the process helps avoid turnover and stunted productivity, there are a few best practices that HR stakeholders should build into their onboarding considerations:

  • Balance paperwork with orientation: Onboarding typically involves its fair share of paperwork, including necessary contracts and enrollment in benefits and other programs. Getting this out of the way is important, but an employee's first day shouldn't be wall-to-wall forms and administrative processes. As The Balance contributor Brian Platz noted, it's also important to include other activities in day one, such as introduction to the company culture, meeting key colleagues and other support for successful intrapersonal relationships.

    "Consider assigning welcome mentors to each new hire, so they can immediately get a feel for the personality of your organization," Platz wrote. "This day of first impressions will have an enormous impact on the employee experience, so make it a good one."

  • Consider providing advanced access to necessary paperwork: It can be particularly helpful to allow new hires to complete certain paperwork ahead of their first day. This can include tax and other benefits forms, as well as setting up email or other profiles for important platforms.

    "As HR consultants for our clients, we advise them to have their new hires complete paperwork early," noted Melissa Cooke, Triton HR and Benefits Specialist. "That way, the HR team can interact in a meaningful way – such as introducing them to company policies, key training modules, new department introductions and answering any outstanding questions." 

    As  Cooke explained, having one-on-one interactions between the new hire and a member of HR is imperative.

    "Scheduling time to further explain the culture, up-coming events, and supporting them so they can ramp up quickly is key to a successful onboard process and new hire success," Cooke said. 

  • Ensure employees understand unwritten rules: Much of onboarding will revolve around official company policies and rules, but as Platz pointed out, when discussing the company culture, it's also important to make new hires aware of any unwritten rules. If the business has any perks or nuances that aren't included in official policies, it helps build trust when HR makes the new worker aware of these. As Platz suggested, don't make new employees learn the hard way – if the organization observes casual dress on Fridays, let the new hire know before they show up in a freshly pressed suit.
  • Use technology to the advantage of the new hire and the company: As the Human Capital Institute survey found, one of today's leading onboarding challenges is a lack of digital tools to automate and support the process. For this reason, it's important that HR teams have the necessary internal and employee-facing platforms required to streamline onboarding and make the required forms, benefits management and other information available to new hires.

This is where innovation solutions like those provided by Triton can become so advantageous. With options for HR outsourcing, employee benefits, payroll services and more, Triton has everything your HR stakeholders need to support new hires and the rest of the workforce.

Connect with Triton Benefits and HR Solutions today to learn more.