Why onboarding is key to talent acquisition

Onboarding is often overlooked as a vital element of talent retention, but new technology could help streamline the process and make it more efficient

A good cultural fit, the right skills and experience, and a sound grasp of the job role have always been essential to successful recruitment strategies. In the new era of remote and hybrid working, with a challenging talent market, an effective onboarding process has also become pivotal to ensuring a successful hire, as Chris Jones, head of customer success at onboarding and engagement platform Enboarder, explains.

“Poor onboarding is a major cause of employee turnover, which has huge cost implications for companies,” he says. “If they can engage people after they’ve accepted an offer, but before they start, they will settle into their new role more quickly and will be less likely to leave.”

It’s surprising to learn, therefore, that over a third of employers (36%) do not have a structured onboarding process, according to a survey by CareerBuilder. With hybrid and remote working now the norm, and competition for talent fiercer than ever, companies need to work harder to engage with new hires. Many are turning to digital platforms that can customise and personalise all aspects of the onboarding journey, creating an exceptional employee experience that boosts productivity, engagement and retention.

Make it personal

Enboarder’s platform, for example, delivers engaging personalised content directly to a new hire’s mobile phone from the moment they sign their offer letter. It can find out about their interests and preferred learning style, providing managers and the support team with valuable information on how they would like to work with the team before they’ve even joined. A built-in coaching system for managers allows them to better prepare to welcome a new starter and make them feel more engaged.

Communications can also be personalised to avoid overwhelming new starters. In a global survey by Enboarder over half of employees (54%) reported feeling more overwhelmed in the last two years due to the number of notifications they receive from work-related software. For large companies with thousands of employees, the sheer volume of information that gets sent out can make engagement a challenge.

Jones says: “The technology can prevent that information overload by breaking it down and delivering the most relevant content to individuals based on the preferences they’ve already expressed to their team, or their location, rather than bombarding them with information on everything.”

Maintaining the human touch

A personalised approach to onboarding and engagement makes employees feel invested in, valued, and cared about by their employer. It also strengthens their connection to the company and their team, which is particularly important for those working remotely. The Enboarder study found that 84% of employees found it easier to do their best work when they felt close to the team they’re working with. However, while technology clearly has a huge role to play in enhancing the onboarding process and the overall employee experience, it can never replace human interaction.

“True engagement between an employee, team members and managers has to be on a face-to-face basis, whether that’s in person, or via Zoom,” says Jones. “The technology sits in the background, seamlessly handling all the personalisation, and automating much of the labour-intensive admin. This gives managers more time to invest in their team, and maintain that enhanced employee experience, whether it’s when someone joins the business, takes parental leave or is promoted to a managerial role.”

Shared social learning

Digital onboarding also supports the concept of social learning. In any organisation there are people with different learning styles and different skills gaps. Instead of this falling to the manager to deal with, digital onboarding platforms can match people to others with similar learning styles and skills, enabling them to learn from one another, reinforcing a culture of social learning.

Jones says: “In recent years, the challenges of attracting the right candidate has made the recruitment experience the focus of the talent strategy. The process of onboarding, and engaging people with joining hasn’t been on the radar. Talent is extremely hard to find and costly to lose, but with an effective onboarding process companies will achieve higher levels of engagement and retention.”

For more information, visit enboarder.com

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