Are new hire onboarding (aka orientation) processes too short? That is the question asked in a survey conducted by Silkroad, an online onboarding software supplier, according to an article by Roy Maurer (Survey: Onboarding Programs Are Too Short, By Roy Maurer (November 30, 2018). Silkroad found that nearly 8 in 10 large employers’ onboarding programs run under three months, and 38% of employers report that their programs are only a week or less—much shorter than the 12 months many experts recommend.
Objective performance data shows that the ideal ramp-up time for a new employee is generally from 12 to 15 months, according to Vipula Gandhi, a managing partner at research and consulting firm Gallup. Gallup research has found that organizations lose between one-third and two-thirds of new hires within the first 12 months on the job. That metric varies based on the position held, but one study found that half of all senior-level new hires jump ship within 18 months, and half of all hourly workers last only four months, Gandhi said.
Onboarding has become much more than the completion of new hire paperwork. That kind of transactional paperwork is being put in front of new hires before they arrive on-site, through the miracle of the internet. Onboarding is becoming more about early-development experiences.
Retention of quality hires needs to be a continuous goal of all organizations, especially when unemployment rates are low, as they are as of this writing. Turnover is costly and should be minimized.
Small employers need to be concerned about retention as well as large employers, maybe even more so. The loss of a single employee in a key role arguably has a greater effect on a small employer.
The process should be tailored to take into account the business unit of the new hire as well as their role in the organization, helping new hires to understand how their role connects to the overall business. It should provide connections to key internal and external contacts who will work with new employees, and foster an environment that promotes their successful integration.
The onboarding process does not have to be limited to new hires; it can also apply to transfers between units of the organization, as well as returns from lengthy leaves of absence (e.g. from military duty leave).