Incredible Performance Starts with Onboarding

Are you familiar with the term “Breakeven Point”? It’s the point at which gains equal losses. Each new employee hits a breakeven point at different times, unless of course they decide to leave the organization before reaching it. Obviously, the faster that point is reached, the more return on investment the employer gets from their worker. 

Onboarding does several things, but one of the targets of onboarding is to get employees to the breakeven point faster, and safeguard against loss. Heightening the productivity of new hires faster is the main way to do this. In any position and any organization there is going to be a learning curve. No one comes on at 100% productivity; this takes time and strategy.

It is no secret that employers must invest in workers in order to get the return they need to drive success. Onboarding is just another case of a completely worthwhile employee investment, and it’s a strong one. SHRM opens their onboarding report

“Each year, nearly 25% of the working population undergoes some type of career transition. Turnover is expensive, so it’s important to support new employees with comprehensive onboarding to ensure their success. Onboarding is the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.”

Productivity and organizational performance have a strong correlation. Increased and immediate productivity, on the individual level, leads to increased profitability, organizational expansion and improved market share.Aberdeen’s 2012 Onboarding Research concluded that the talent process with the greatest impact on workforce productivity is onboarding. Here are some compelling statistics from Aberdeen’s research:

  • 77% of Best-in-Class organizations begin the onboarding process before day one.
  • 76% of organizations extend onboarding beyond one month.
  • Onboarding is the leading area of talent management that impacts retention (17%)
  • 60% of organizations cited the need to create a more efficient onboarding program in order to meet company growth objectives as a top pressure.

The benefits of and need for onboarding have been established, yet 36% of organizations lack a formal onboarding process. Of those companies who do have a formal onboarding process in place, 48% of them fail to assimilate new hires into the company culture. So where we’re not seeing a lack of initiative, we’re seeing a significant lack of success in these programs.

When considering successful ways to get new employees engaged and producing quicker, companies should consider turning to technology. The more efficient and automated the technical part of onboarding can be, the more time and energy can be spent on getting this new employee to their breakeven point faster. Since we now know lack of successful cultural integration is a leading reason that most onboarding programs fail, and we also now have the tools to automate and streamline the paperwork and compliance process, HR and leadership can focus on critical matters like cultural integration.

People matters, which are the leading factors in a successful onboarding program, no longer have to take a backseat to paperwork and compliance. Cultural fit, individual and organizational goal alignment, and the social aspects of onboarding can take priority.

Take a look at more posts we have written.

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Comment by Competency Toolkit on April 29, 2014 at 11:31am

Excellent, fact-based article Andre.  Completely agree on the criticality of an effective, efficient on-boarding process for near and long-term employee productivity.  '77% of best-in-class organizations begin the on-boarding process before day 1' is a telling statistic.  We would argue that on-boarding starts even before the talent acquisition process.  For the benefit of the employees, their managers and themselves, organizations should define the 'attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors' (competencies) required for high performance.  Using these to assess candidates will lend itself to a more impactful on-boarding process, with focus on the competencies identified as gaps in the hiring process, whether it be an organizational core value (e.g., integrity), cross-functional skill (e.g., communication) or technical knowledge (e.g., tax accounting).


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