Onboarding and the bottom line

by Rose Sneyd08 May 2013

An excellent onboarding process has a real, positive impact on a business’s bottom line, according to new research*.

A report by Aberdeen examined the use, experiences, and intentions of enterprises using strategic onboarding initiatives. It defined those enterprises that constituted the top 20% of aggregate performance scorers as ‘best-in-class’. They were defined by key performance criteria:

  • Those companies where 91% of employees were retained, compared with 70% industry average

  • Those companies where 62% of employees hired in the previous year met first performance milestones on time, compared with 29% industry average

  • Those companies that registered a 33% year-on-year improvement in hiring manager satisfaction, compared with 11% industry average

The benefits experienced by these companies with superior onboarding processes included a 16% year-on-year improvement in customer retention (compared with a 12% industry average), and a 17% improvement in revenue per full-time employee (compared with 9% industry average).

The report also considered those key elements of the onboarding processes of ‘best-in-class’ performers. It concluded that those factors contributing to success included:

  • A process to ensure clear accountability given to all stakeholders involved in ensuring that the employee is set up and ready to go day one

  • Onboarding is centralised – one dedicated resource has oversight and decision authority over the organisation’s entire onboarding process

  • Localisation of onboarding practices, forms, and technologies

  • Integration and enrolment of new hires in learning programs

  • Metrics to measure effectiveness of onboarding have been agreed to all by relevant stakeholders

Key HR takeaways:

  • Define metrics and ensure agreement from key stakeholders
  • Consider innovative technology options such as gamification
  • Balance both the tactical and strategic elements of onboarding

*The research was conducted in January and February of this year, and involved 230 organisations of diverse size in North America, predominantly, but also in the Asia-Pacific region.


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