Onboarding is a standard affair when inducting any new employee to your organization. However, one report suggests that 86% of employees who are not onboarded adequately, or provided clear goals of their roles and responsibilities tend to quit within the first six months. In addition to this, another study found that employees who do receive structured onboarding are 69% more likely to stay on with the organization for three years or more.
Understanding what your employee needs and what motivates them is vital in ensuring their retention. Here is a lowdown on the most common mistakes HR managers commit while inducting a new employee to their organization.
The objective of any onboarding program is to bring the new employee up to speed with the company’s processes in order for them to contribute productively. Yet, according to a survey of over 2300 hiring managers, over eleven percent of onboarding sessions last three months or more, while over a third of them last more than a month.
This is sub-optimal for both the organization and the employee. From the company’s perspective, lengthy onboarding prevents an employee from contributing until much later. The employee is left unsatisfied too since they do not get to gain real experience for several weeks after joining the organization.
There are a few reasons why many organizations push for lengthy onboarding. In fact, there are studies that show that onboarding programs that last less than one month contribute to lower retention rates. Many organizations push for lengthy onboarding sessions in order to retain employees.
This does not necessarily mean that hiring managers should compromise on their employee training. On the contrary, organizations must draw a line between onboarding and training. The objective of onboarding is to enable the employee to contribute. Periodic training ensures that the employee gets better at their job over time and contributes more productively.
More importantly, organizations must focus on the quality of training imparted to their employees. Focusing on high priority knowledge transfer enables your employees to start contributing. Honing their productivity through continuous training could be offered as a follow up.
In a large organization with thousands of employees, there are dozens of new recruits almost every single week. These organizations tend to optimize their processes by structuring their training programs into batches. This is not optimal for two reasons. Firstly, employees do not get the level of personal interaction that they would benefit from during an onboarding session. Secondly, a generic onboarding session organized for employees from various departments exposes a new employee to functions that they may not be immediately interested in.
It is important to focus on personalized training sessions that are relevant to your new employee. This brings down the time it takes for them to get onboarded. Also, each employee is unique and allowing them to get trained independently helps them get onboarded at their own pace.
It is also worth pointing out that classroom sessions that organizations hold may not be optimal after all. According to Deloitte’s Leadership Academy founder Tom Richardson, face-to-face interactions cost companies an average of $50 per employee hour. Switching to online training methods that are personalized to the employee’s unique needs and speed is not only more effective, but is also way cheaper at $5 per employee hour.
Online training methods are beneficial for a number of reasons. For one, unlike classroom sessions, they involve a one-time investment that can be recovered through multiple sessions of training. Also, such training tools are highly customizable with features like gamification, surveys, and be deployed with interactive methods that make onboarding more effective from a learner’s perspective.
This is by far the most common reason why employee onboarding is ineffective. Unlike an academic institution, the success of an employee is not measured by their theoretical understanding of the concepts, but rather how well they can put their learning into practice.
To improve the effectiveness of a training program, it is important to let employees learn through practice. While classroom or online training courses are inevitable, it is worthwhile to let your new employee spend a part of their training time in shadowing their colleagues or executing projects themselves. The lessons learned through such programs are retained a lot better than concepts imparted over a classroom course.
Every induction process goes through an assessment phase where the new employee is tested on how well they have been trained. Where induction goes wrong is in the way these assessments are conducted. It is important to note that a well-trained employee performs better at work than one who has not been adequately trained. The only way to mark this distinction is through an impartial assessment.
In many instances, managers are asked to assess the employability of the new recruit. This is a double-edged sword because although the managers are the best placed people in an organization to assess the quality of their subordinates, they are also responsible to meet company targets. Managers with strict deadlines to meet end up inducting employees well before they are adequately trained. This not only results in poor performance, but also contributes to higher attrition among these employees.
There are two ways to remove the inefficiencies in the assessment process. One way to do this is by directing managers not directly involved with the employee’s role to handle the assessment process. Another process that is becoming increasingly common is to conduct assessments with the help of online learning management tools. Since these assessments quantitatively measure the success or failure of every candidate, hiring managers could make it mandatory for an employee to pass these tests before being formally inducted.
At the end of the day, the success of an organization depends on the individual successes of each of its employees. A proper induction program that helps employees become more productive is thus in the best interests of not only the employee themselves, but also the organization as a whole.
About The Author
Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources. Their comparison section has comprehensive feature and price comparison of all the necessary business products and services.