Getting Executive Buy-In for Your Onboarding Strategy

Posted by Kristen Monsey on April 2, 2015

Office Workers

Getting Excutive Buy-In for Your Onboarding Strategy

Onboarding is a part of HR that is severely underrated, and often misunderstood. HR professionals are starting to realize more and more just how important this process is for a successful talent management strategy. In a very real way, the onboarding of new employees can affect the entire tone of an organization, the levels of productivity, employee engagement, retention, and ultimately the bottom line. This is why onboarding is something that shouldn't be important just to the HR team, but should have the full support and backing from executives as well. An investment in a solid onboarding strategy can truly make a huge impact on the company's future.

So what do we mean when we talk about onboarding? Often, onboarding gets confused with new hire orientation. While it should include things such as having new hires fill out legal documentation, that shouldn't be the extent of it. I'm sure all of us have had an experience similar to the one described in an article by Human Resources IQ, Onboarding: The Key to Talent Retention:

"Welcome to your first day at ABC Company. Do me a favor - just fill out these 102 forms, watch this 30 minute video and I'll meet you for lunch at noon. This afternoon we'll walk you through the facility, have you meet a few important people, give you 20 books to read and let you go home early. Oh, and don't forget, the company picnic is in August. I'll see you then."

A new hire's experience is just as important (if not more important) as attracting a possible candidate to your company. During their first few days, a new hire is looking for reassurance that they made the right decision in joining your organization. Given that 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment, it is crucial that your organization makes the most of that time to impress the employee and do everything possible to set them up for a win very early on in their new position.

There are several ways to do that, one is by engaging with the employees on the first day. Have them do more then just compliance issues but have them become interactive with the company culture from the start. Another is to articulate clear responsibilities that the employee needs to perform daily to be successful. Next is to address culture fit, this should include an explanation of company jargon, events calendar, and matching them with mentors. Then, link onboarding to their desired skills, and deliver feedback early so they are sure to develop the right habits to your company.

The Onboarding Process is just that: a process. According to Leadership IQ, 46 percent of new hires don't last more then 18 months. We need to be understanding of the human capabilities on how much they can handle in the first couple months of hire. Having the right balance of goals and challenges are key to a successful onboarding process but stays away from an orientation style for your new hires.