“Can prioritizing onboarding really help boost retention?” you may be asking yourself.
The short answer is yes, it really can.
We had a great time hanging out with customers and discussing how important a role onboarding plays in retaining your talent long term.
The speakers were:
- Vinay Patankar – CEO and Co-founder of Process Street
- Danielle Monaghan – VP Global Talent at Uber (now Google)
- Greg Russell – Head of Talent at Snapdocs
Some key points discussed during the panel included:
- Preboarding = better retention
- Personalize onboarding as much as possible
- Transparency helps facilitate process improvement
- Good hiring & onboarding takes a village
Preboarding = better retention
If you’ve read any of our articles on employee onboarding, you’ll already know how crucial preboarding is at ensuring your new hire stays at your company for the long haul.
But with the number of companies actually offering preboarding dwindling and the sudden uptick in new hires ghosting in recent years, it’s clear preboarding is falling by the wayside.
“Back in the day, you sign your offer, you show up. Today, not necessarily. You’ve got to make sure you’re keeping your candidates warm.”– Danielle Monaghan, VP Global Talent at Uber (now Google)
So, how exactly do you keep your candidates warm and make sure they actually show up?
It’s simple, really: Maintain communication.
When a candidate accepts a job offer, they may still be wrestling with questions like whether or not this new job is really right for them, or if they’ll fit in at your company. And if the time between signing your job offer and their start date is long and without guidance, they might lose faith in your company and decide not to go through with it at all.
This is why it’s so important to maintain communication with your new hires up until their first day on the job. They should show up on Day 1 excited and hopeful, with a working email and access to your company Slack, understanding what’s expected of them, and ready to dive into onboarding.
“You want people to turn up, you want them to be engaged, and feel part of the culture.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
Process Street focuses on communication during the preboarding phase. And because of this, organizations using Process Street are able to fast track their new hire’s productivity from Day 1. They aren’t wasting their first moments with their new hire on lifeless tasks like filling out paperwork, setting up accounts and access, watching onboarding videos: all the boring stuff that could’ve been handled ahead of time.
But is it fair to expect every new hire to preboard? No, of course not.
Though preboarding may offer undeniable benefits for you and your new hire, not every new hire has the luxury to take the time to participate in it before their start date.
“Not every new hire wants to do it; not every new hire has the time to do it.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
But don’t let this dissuade you from offering preboarding altogether. Though not all candidates will want or be able to preboard, many candidates will.
“A lot of the people we hire are interested in moving faster. They care about their careers; they do want to learn more. And so they decide to jump in and do it.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
Personalize onboarding as much as possible
At first glance, the idea that technology can increase personal touch feels counterintuitive. But it’s true.
By automating onboarding processes that don’t necessarily require human interaction, it frees up a lot of your time to spend on actually building a bond with your new hire and making sure all their needs are being met as they’re integrating into your company.
“If you’re doing a lot of hiring and onboarding, it’s difficult to get personal without leveraging technology in some way.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
Using workflow management software (like Process Street) also gives you the freedom to offer customized onboarding experiences to new hires depending on their specific role or potential challenges.
“We onboarded all of Slack into Salesforce, which was about 3000 people. They had two very different cultures, and were worried about the cultural clash that was going to happen with that.
So, through preboarding through our workflow, we were able to send out all these nudges, videos, and content to the Slack team to educate them on the Salesforce culture so they’re not so surprised and have such a big culture shock when they arrive.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
Transparency helps facilitate process improvement
One of the biggest challenges faced by HR teams during onboarding is a lack of visibility into the onboarding process.
This can mean not knowing who’s currently being onboarded, what stage of the process everyone’s in, which hiring manager the new hires may be waiting on, etc.
Usually, you’ll get this lack of visibility as a result of using multiple disconnected processes. So, for example, instead of just following one all-encompassing onboarding workflow, you’ll communicate with new hires through email, then Slack, and record information into a standalone spreadsheet; and there ends up being no way to round up all of this information and access it from one place.
This kind of fractured documentation really limits how much insight HR can get from their onboarding processes.
“If you can’t measure how [your onboarding workflow] is performing, then you can’t tell if the changes you’re making are improving or hurting that workflow.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
So in the long run, a lack of visibility means that not only is the onboarding process generally less efficient for you and your new hire, but there’s no real way to iterate on it and determine whether your updates did any good. You could be wasting valuable time and resources and not even know it!
“Not having visibility into how onboarding is performing restricts people from keeping it up to date, and making sure it’s performing at the highest standard.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
Good hiring & onboarding takes a village
“Retention is not just HR’s responsibility. It has to be co-owned and with co-accountability.”– Danielle Monaghan, VP Global Talent at Uber (now Google)
It’s a common mistake to expect HR and new hires to single handedly own the complete onboarding process. Sure, HR is responsible for laying the groundwork for your new hire’s first experiences with your organization, but when it comes to achieving long term retention, organizations need to work together as a team.
If you’re finding that you’re losing talent within their first 90 days at your organization, it may be a result of poor onboarding or simply hiring the wrong people, but it could also be a result of uninspiring management, for example.
“I think having the whole organization focus on creating a magical experience for new employees can make a difference.”– Vinay Patankar, CEO at Process Street
What did you think of HR Transform’s onboarding panel? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below!