Ever heard of onboarding?

The employment habits of millennials, increased workforce mobility, a competitive marketplace and several other factors have been attributed to causing lower staff retention rates Australia-wide.

This shift has heightened the importance of employee recruitment and retention, which has seen the onboarding process gain significant momentum in recent years.

A BRC firm study saw onboarding ranked as the second highest business impact process (after recruiting) out of 22 HR processes.

Yet onboarding is still often overlooked – in part due to management teams disregarding it as HR’s responsibility, and vice versa.

Creating an effective onboarding system takes time and money, but forward-thinking managers have realised that a systematic onboarding program is well worth the time and outlay.


Onboarding explained

Orientation and onboarding are complimentary tasks. The major point of difference is that orientation deals with formalities, whereas onboarding is an ongoing process that fosters the new hire’s potential for success.

Onboarding works on the premise that the sooner an employee feels at home and confident in their role, the sooner they will become a valued and productive member of the team.


Think social

Socialisation lies at the heart of onboarding practices.

During the socialisation process new hires learn the attitudes and skills necessary to hit the ground running at work.

Assimilation or ‘person-organisation fit’ is the leading predictor of staff retention, and requires a connection between the new hire and the company’s culture and ethos.

It is critical that the entire organisation ‘buys in’ – that is, all levels of the company must commit – for the onboarding process to be effective.


Think three months, not three weeks

Unlike orientation, onboarding should span from at least three to six months.

Providing information and training over several months ensures that the newcomer is not overloaded, which can result in a disconnected and flustered employee.


Think technology

Technology can support the seamless rollout of your onboarding program.

Automatic reminders, online quizzes, training games and social media forums are just a few tools that can save management time and money in the long run.

IBM claims that it has saved significantly on training costs after introducing online training and follow-up online quizzes.


Software solutions can help you tailor your onboarding program. Onboarding practices can easily be supported through:

–        scheduling of email reminders

–        creation and maintenance of online training quizzes and feedback questionnaires

–        communication/culture forums for employees

–        forums for mentoring systems

–        analytics to monitor the effectiveness of onboarding programs

–        points and leaderboards to gamify training or socialisation processes