Onboarding in the Valley of Uncertainty
On Thursday, August 11, 2022, Click hosted an exclusive webinar with leading HCM authority and Aptitude Research chief analyst, Madeline Laurano. Also sharing the virtual stage was our own David Corrigan, Chief Revenue Officer, and Head of Marketing, Michelle Graham.
The topic centered around the Valley of Uncertainty, Click Boarding’s analogy of where newly hired candidates fall to their depths, in between being handed off from recruiting to the business. The reason they fall? Corrigan explained that with recruiting competition at all-time high, candidates are charmed throughout the talent acquisition phase. But by the time they accept the offer and begin the onboarding process, new hires feel duped, confused and disappointed.
“This is the Valley of Uncertainty,” Corrigan said. “It’s when the investment starts dropping, followed by receding employee engagement, confidence, satisfaction and in many cases, a departure.”
In support of our concept, Laurano revealed never-before-seen research findings from June 2022, providing undeniable clarity on the real state of onboarding today. Although often a process that’s overlooked, onboarding has an undeniable impact. How much? Laurano’s data underscored the impact:
- Quality of hire – 83% of employers believe managers know if a new hire is a quality hire within the first 90 days.
- Employer branding – 75% of new hires share their first day of work experience on social channels.
- Retention – 86% of employers believe new hires make the decision to stay at a company in their first 90 days.
Onboarding’s current state of affairs
One of the most startling facts from Aptitude Research data? Onboarding in 2022 is nearly identical to what it was when Laurano published her first onboarding benchmark analysis in 2006. That’s almost two decades! The lesson in all of this? If your onboarding process doesn’t evolve to tackle today’s challenges, you’ll likely continue to experience the same low-quality new hires, disappointing employer branding and rising retention rates.
Not convinced? Well, the numbers don’t lie. Research from Laurano shows today’s enterprise organizations are:
- 2x more likely to spend on talent acquisition and employee experience than onboarding.
- 42% do not have a dedicated onboarding solution.
- Only 26% have fully automated the onboarding process.
Even today, as companies prepare for the future of work and invest in talent transformation, onboarding is still overlooked. In fact, companies are twice as likely to spend on talent acquisition and employee experience than onboarding. Combined with a lack of ownership, limited technology capabilities and unclear metrics, creating a successful onboarding strategy can feel nearly impossible. But it’s not.
Key takeaways from the Valley of Uncertainty webinar
Laurano emphasized an employee’s success depends on the positive entry of and movement throughout the organization. “We’re just not doing enough to complement better onboarding. For example, whether it’s stretch assignments or moving across the organization, internal mobility must be a part of the plan.” Additionally, Laurano noted that new hire onboarding must be a priority if businesses want to maximize their investment in talent acquisition and employee experience.
What specifically can you do to protect your new hires from the Valley? Graham, Corrigan and Laurano shared their best advice:
- Start measuring retention at the point of offer.
- Instead of looking at fall-out, look at retention.
- Clearly define your onboarding program’s desired goals and outcomes.
- Then track against those KPIs at every stage. Corrigan says “onboarding must be seen as actions with outcomes, as opposed to a bucket of something we do in HR.”
- Upon offer acceptance, flip the script to show commitment to your new hire.
- Demonstrate the value with strategic experience and engagement, because it’s the true delivery of what you said in recruiting.
- Onboarding ownership is where many organizations get stuck.
- Don’t be discouraged! Remember that when you automate, ownership isn’t as much of a roadblock. Everyone has visibility to the process, and it’s clear who’s responsible for what. Onboarding needs to be collaborative, and everyone plays a role. To succeed, you must move beyond this barrier.
- A candidate-first, employee-first environment is where we’re at right now.
- There’s a new way to think about your technology investment. It’s much more than just technology that supports efficiency. Make sure it’s tied to providing a better, more human experience, not just employee experience.
- When starting out, think small.
- Go for low-effort, high-impact wins where we can quickly gain alignment and consensus to solve complex but routine problems.
Summing things up
The bottom line is pretty simple. It’s a brand new world out there, post-pandemic, and employees have the upper hand. Unless you want to watch your talent investment to walk out the door, it’s time to amplify your employee experience. And make sure to meet new hire engagement expectations today. When you’re ready to focus on people and let the process run itself, our dedicated employee journey experts are here for you.