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HR Leaders Need to Focus on Building Effective Onboarding Processes

Evan James
March 31, 2022
Internal networks, 1:1 meetings, and productive collaboration are key

Our recent survey of 255 HR leaders in U.S. companies with 500+ employees yielded some truly eye-opening insights. 61% of respondents agree retention rates for employees hired during the pandemic will be lower than pre-pandemic rates, and over three-quarters have experienced higher turnover rates in the past year. 

Despite this, only about one-third of HR leaders are focused on recruitment and onboarding processes as a top objective for improving employee experience in the year ahead. There should be an urgency to advance and improve onboarding processes for new hires, especially in remote and hybrid workplaces.

The impact of onboarding on retention

Our survey respondents, especially those with turnover rates of less than 10%, found that remote training and isolation from teams were key challenges to the successful onboarding of new hires. For companies already struggling with high turnover, the issues are clear: manual processes, poor collaboration, and lack of clarity. Notably, PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Pulse Survey: Next in work, identifies adapting to a hybrid workforce is the key challenge facing businesses right now, and there should be little doubt that these two things are related. 

Check Out The Evolving Workforce & HR's Identity Crisis

A strong onboarding process for new hires — one that accounts for in-office, remote, and hybrid teams — is crucial to improving the employee experience and bringing down turnover rates. Here are some ways you can start to build onboarding programs that work for all of your new employees.

Measure internal network ramp up

New employees should have 75% of the network of an employee with at least a year of seniority in the same position. Compare this to the typical size of the network of contacts of more experienced employees and you can determine the typical ramp-up rate — the rate at which new hires catch up with more experienced colleagues in terms of the size of their network. 

Network size of new hires

Encourage 1:1 meetings with managers for new hires

Manager time spent with new hires in 1:1 meetings in their first months can be a decisive factor in speeding up their onboarding. The chart below, from Time is Ltd. Analytics, shows how much time new hires spend in 1:1 meetings with their superior on average. The charts show the trend through time and by team.

1:1 Meetings graph

Set employees up for success with the right digital collaboration tools 

Digital tools can make or break a workplace. As ZDNet reports, email, Slack/IM, and file sharing usage all nearly doubled in the last year, but 94% of HR leaders say that digital tools that support employee communication and productivity are more essential than ever to overall success. It’s important to establish guidelines and educate your workforce on how to use them effectively. In short, digital tools are vital, but measuring, evaluating, and managing their implementation is critical for productivity, collaboration, and employee experience.

The Takeaway 

Today’s workplace challenges HR leaders are struggling with come from meetings, onboarding, and a general lack of insights. Our survey reflects this - and that collaboration is a core driver of employee engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction. 

Read our Survey: The Evolving Workforce & HR's Identity Crisis

Evan James

The Evolving Workforce & HR's Identity Crisis

The last two pandemic-filled years have changed the nature of work, and HR leaders are struggling to adapt. That's the main takeaway from our new survey of 255 HR professionals. We went to HR leaders directly to discover the challenges they face with employee engagement, retention, onboarding, and more, and the results paint a picture of HR leaders being at a crossroads. 

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Want to learn more about how to create  highly collaborative and engaged teams? Check out our blog for key insights and best practices.