YES! A big, fat “yes” is the answer. Retention is such a powerful metric in business because of the ridiculously high cost of turnover. Retained employees represent a great return on the many investments that employers make on their workforce, and onboarding is a solid, yet often overlooked aspect of those investments.

According to a 2013 Aberdeen Report, organizations that were rated best-in-class in the category of onboarding retained 91% of employees within the first year. We see just how impressive this is when compared to the retention rates of companies with industry-average or laggard onboarding processes.

Industry-Average onboarding programs show retention rates of 70%, and laggard programs show retention rates as low as 30%.

So we can clearly see that it’s not enough to simply have an onboarding program. In order to see results like increased engagement and retention, employers have to invest in the quality of the program. With voluntary turnover rates climbing in almost every sector of business, companies can no longer afford to ignore the importance of an effective onboarding program. Looking at those retention numbers should be a wake-up call to the importance of investing in onboarding as a solid retention tactic.

Invest Time

We’re not just talking about investing monetarily here either. The strongest investment that company leaders can make in their employees is with their own time and leadership.

Training pro Bill Cushard said: 

“Most employees leave supervisors, not companies. This means the employee/manager relationship is quite possibly the most important relationship a new hire needs to establish. So the more we can build opportunities for managers to interact with new employees early and throughout the on-boarding process, the better.”

Invest in the Right Technology

There is some pretty amazing onboarding tech out there right now that can help companies get through the compliance matters in onboarding and really concentrate on the social and cultural aspects of onboarding. Yes, documents have to be signed and collected, the handbook has to be covered and compliance must be adhered to, but those are the secondary matters of successful onboarding that the take over the entire process if the right tools aren’t available. Onboarding specialist, Autumn D. Krauss, said:

“It is important to make sure the relationship starts off on the right foot, since the first experiences of a new employee in your organization are critical. If executed correctly, a successful onboarding program will maximize your new employees’ understanding of their specific roles and responsibilities, boost their confidence, and help them to become active and welcome participants in your organization and its unique culture.”

Attraction and retention are on the minds of company leaders everywhere right now. HireRight revealed that 52% of respondents in a study stated that their top business challenge was hiring and retaining talent. With low engagement and increasing turnover rates, organizations need to start investing in their talent from the start. Strategic onboarding is one of the more effective tools at an organization’s disposal to get employees producing faster, establish the employee’s value and create strong professional relationships in the workplace.

The resources that a company puts into their onboarding will almost always yield a positive return on investment. Onboarding is a proven retention tool that leaders need to pay attention to in order to achieve and maintain their talent goals, employer brand and productivity needs.

Check out our main blog.

Photo Credit: log_mitra777 via Compfight cc

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Tags: Corporate Recruiting, Hiring, Human Resources, Onboarding, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing, Retaining Employees

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