Regretted attrition

The onboarding process is highly important; a 2013 study by Boston Consulting Group, in which they looked at 22 HR processes, found onboarding and retention (the first done well leads to the second) to have the second highest influence on business success. Their report concluded “As abundant case experience shows, a systematic new hire onboarding process not only increases productivity but also leads to a reduction in ‘regretted attrition’ – the loss of employees that the company wants to retain – in the first and second years of employment”

The concept of ‘regretted attrition’ is an interesting one. An effective and successful recruitment function requires a significant investment of both finance and time. To have that wasted when new employees leave quickly can create pressures elsewhere in the organisation, as well as having a negative impact on morale. The upheaval of people starting and leaving quickly can also lead to immediate team members finding their routines disrupted.

Did I make the right choice?

Research has found that 20% of new hires leave within the first 45 days, and 77% decide whether to stay or leave in the longer term, within the first 6 months. There can be little doubt that onboarding is now the decisive HR process during the early period of employment, linking recruitment to performance, development and retention. The onboarding experience continues the candidate experience and starts the employee experience, helping to re-affirm in the mind of a new hire that they’ve made the right choice.

Historically what might not have begun until a new employee’s first day is now a much more dynamic and seamless process, starting at least from the offer stage. There is a strong case for onboarding beginning even earlier, as candidates usually start to shape their impressions of a business as soon as they are invited for interview. A drawn-out process, offering patchy feedback and communication, and a lengthy wait for paperwork and detail around an offer, can all lead to a negative impression and either potentially scupper an acceptance, or create doubt in the new starter.

Don’t wait! And be transparent

The company that waits until the first day of employment before starting to immerse new employees in organisational culture, helping them to connect socially and build relationships with their new colleagues, and to begin the learning they need to operate effectively, is likely to be giving them a poor experience. In the age of transparency, where online reviews and shared experiences from both employees and job applicants are crucial to the overall hiring process, a poor experience can have a negative impact on a company’s ability to attract and hire the people they need.

The key differentiator for businesses trying to find the right talent is what they are like to work for – how they support their people in development and performance, and whether the culture and working environment enables employees to do their best work. By getting the onboarding right, and having a smooth transition from candidate to productive employee, an organisation can attract, and keep, the people they need.

Onboarding infographic

Interested in the different onboarding options? Check out our onboarding infographic where you can read:

  • HR trends for 2017
  • why onboarding is upcoming in HR
  • What onboarding solutions are there?
  • Tips for making a good onboarding programme