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In With the New: Establishing Structured Employee Onboarding

The rapid growth rate of the Health and Human Services industry has led to the dilemma of dwindling employee retention rates. While there are many factors that influence employee retention, an often-overlooked factor is the onboarding process. Not only does this introductory period help get a new hire trained and acclimated to your organization, it also has a huge impact on the employee’s long-term experience as well. In fact, research provided by Glint showed that a poor onboarding experience, due to a lack of tools and resources, makes employees 8 times more likely to be disengaged in their work and 11 times less likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work. These negative experiences at such an early stage can quickly add up to high turnover and cause future recruiting issues.

Furthermore, the cost of turnover expensive, so having a well-thought-out onboarding process is not only critical to maintaining engagement and encouraging a culture of success among all employees, it’s also critical for your bottom line. This means investing the necessary time and resources into creating a structured onboarding strategy.

Generally speaking, there are 3 major rules to follow when planning to welcome new employees into the fold of your organization’s culture:

1. Establish a plan and follow it.

This is where the “structured” part of a structured onboarding comes into play. Organizations need to invest the time, resources, and energy necessary to build an onboarding experience that communicates expectations and helps establish the interpersonal and organizational connections that are vital to a new hire’s success. Creating this strategic approach requires organization-wide support to deliver a positive onboarding experience – from executives setting the strategy to managers implementing it and peers supporting it. This structured approach to the onboarding process allows new hires to recognize their value to the organization and their role in helping the organization achieve its mission.

2. Commit to all 365 days in a year.

Organizations know that onboarding is much more than just an orientation session on day one. Onboarding isn’t even a process that can be completed in a single week. A thorough and complete onboarding requires much more time and effort, and managers must understand their ongoing role in this process.

In DATIS’ recent Executive Priorities Report, one of the most commonly reported challenges managers identified regarding the onboarding process was acclimating new hires to the organization. Using monthly milestones for at least several months following the date of hire can facilitate a seamless work experience and help ensure managers are checking in regularly with their employees. This additional and regular engagement allows the employee to become further entrenched in the organization’s ideology.

3. Build and use resources.

Having the right resources available can help managers provide a consistent onboarding experience for employees. The onboarding strategy can also be brought to life with tools that fit your organization’s needs. Tools like checklists can provide the conducive roadmap for the long onboarding journey ahead. Additionally, digital tools can assist in ensuring the onboarding process is productive and comprehensive. For example, training videos, social networking platforms for employees, and digital document processing can support the entire onboarding process and ensure no steps are missed.

Establishing a structured onboarding process, committing to the strategy, and allocating resources to support it can greatly improve the employee experience, boosting retention and future recruiting efforts. In fact, in DATIS’ Executive Priorities Report, we found that close to 36% of organizations were implementing a structured onboarding process this year as a step towards improving employee engagement. Organizations that have implemented a structured onboarding typically enjoy a wealth of benefits, including greater employee engagement, higher morale, greater efficiency, and many other improvements that contribute to the success of each employee and the organization as a whole.

Written by Skyler Nickols

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