Onboarding (and Offboarding) In a High-Turnover Market
Wisetail | 3 min read
Onboarding and offboarding are traditional HR tasks, but with today’s high turnover and shallow talent pool, entry and exit procedures aren’t just about processing paperwork anymore. Both activities — orienting new hires and facilitating a former employee’s separation — are vital to increasing employee retention and creating a healthy company culture.
Onboarding for success
The cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees makes onboarding a strategic element of every company’s retention efforts. Excellent onboarding strategies improve the odds of retention by ensuring every employee’s understanding of company values, mission, vision, operating norms, and culture from their first day on the job.
Done well, onboarding establishes a new employee’s role and creates additional benefits for your business, including:
- A positive employee experience. Talented candidates have plenty of work options available in today’s job market. A superior onboarding strategy sets the tone for the entire employee experience. You’ve already convinced your new hire to work for you. Now, convince them they made the right decision.
- Early engagement. A comprehensive onboarding experience helps employees connect with your company. Include onboarding activities that go beyond filling out forms. Assign your new hires a mentor to help them get their bearings and settle into their role and your company culture.
- Improved retention. Employee turnover is expensive. A strong onboarding experience improves new hire retention by more than 80%. Focus on providing a smooth transition from candidate to new hire. Ensure paperwork can be completed efficiently, so your employee’s first day can be spent on introductions and early learning. Onboarding is not over at the end of a new hire’s first day. It takes a minimum of 90 days for new employees to fully acclimate to a new position and employer.
Opportunities in offboarding
If people think of offboarding at all, they tend to assume it’s nothing more than collecting keys, badges, and paperwork as a former employee exits the building for the last time. But offboarding without a strategy is a missed opportunity. Exit interviews and follow-ups provide critical information for improving the employee experience and future retention efforts.
In fact, offboarding is as essential to recruiting and retention as onboarding. Why?
- Cultural consistency. Your offboarding process should reflect the same values you promote as benefits during recruiting and onboarding. Consistency leaves departing employees with a favorable impression, and they may go on to recommend other candidates — or even return to your company in the future.
- Insider insights and expertise. Departing employees can be more open about their time working with your organization, which means they have useful feedback and insider expertise to offer. Insights gained during offboarding are valuable for improving the employee experience and increasing future retention rates.
- Compliance. A consistent offboarding strategy is also a good compliance and risk management tool. Exit interviews help HR discover problems, such as safety issues, discrimination, or bullying. This knowledge allows your company to take action and prevent further issues. Other offboarding steps ensure all company assets are recovered, including system access and passwords that may impact risk management.
The role of L&D in reducing turnover
Learning and development (L&D) programs are a major factor in improved employee retention. In fact, having limited opportunities for career development is among the top reasons for employee attrition, and most candidates would remain longer with a company that invested in their careers. The offer of ongoing training, upskilling, and reskilling with easily accessible, comprehensive training materials should be a top HR priority. Begin professional development planning during onboarding, and make learning a constant throughout an employee’s career. Helping employees create a clear career path from their first day boosts engagement, job satisfaction, and retention.
A well-designed L&D strategy focuses on developing each employee’s strengths. Strengths-based learning results in higher performance, increased engagement, and significantly lower attrition rates. Career planning and L&D opportunities encourage employees to pursue internal mobility rather than look elsewhere when they outgrow their current position. Even a lateral move within the company is a positive shift for all concerned when the employee already understands the company, its mission, and its culture. Employees provided with plenty of opportunities report a better overall experience, which builds your company reputation with your existing workforce and potential candidates.
Use a secure, accessible, and customizable learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP) to build an onboarding program that encourages engagement and increases the odds of retention from the start of the employee experience. Then create and centralize your L&D library for secure, accessible, and customizable cloud-based L&D to help your employees advance along their career path.
Read more about LMS and LXP solutions for a positive employee experience in Wisetail’s whitepaper Creating an Agile Organizational Learning Culture.