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Employee Onboarding: Beyond the Basics

Doing employee onboarding right today requires an effective process combined with emerging technology tools.

By now, the notion that onboarding is a critical component of any new hire’s life is firmly established in the human resource community and among the employers it serves.

Yet, there are nagging statistics that might lea one to believe that, while onboarding is considered table stakes in areas such as productivity, retention, employee engagement and loyalty, it appears all is not well on the onboarding front for many employers.

For example, more than half of all employees who left their jobs in the past year did so within the first 12 months, according to a 2015 Equifax report on turnover. And the Society for Human Resource Management, in a detailed study about onboarding, reports that half of all hourly workers leave new jobs in the first four months and half of senior outside hires fail within 18 months.

In fact, SHRM, in other search, reports that new employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organization and one in 25 people leave a new job just because of a poor (or nonexistent) onboarding program.

Those numbers and others abound in the research on the potentially negative relationship between onboarding and retention. And it all begs the question: Is your organization doing onboarding right?

“With onboarding, it’s so important to cover all the bases,” says Danielle Simer, global portfolio marketing manager at Hyland, creator of OnBase. “That means making sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes, so HR can proactively address every specific issue.” She mentions everything from ensuring a desk, computer and password are ready when the new hire arrives to ensuring a smooth transition to filling out benefits paperwork and registering for training. “These are the initial but critical steps of any successful onboarding process,” she says.

Philadelphia-based Karen Piercy, a partner in Mercer’s talent business, says that, while the early transactional aspects of onboarding sound like the “basics,” typically they are far more challenging for companies that one would expect.

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