By James Orr
Think about the first couple of days at your most recent job. I bet your days were filled with piles and piles of paperwork, hours spent reviewing the employee handbook, receiving your company issued laptop, figuring out how to navigate the halls of your new workplace, and if you are lucky, maybe several of your new colleagues took you out to lunch.
While all of these things are very important, did any of these activities help you be more effective and engaged in your current position? Did any experience help you better understand the role you play in helping your company execute its strategy and ultimately succeed in the marketplace? I bet the answer to all these questions is, "No." Or at best, "Not really." And you're not alone. A recent global study spanning a two year period revealed that only 39 percent of leaders were satisfied with their employer's onboarding process.1
What if you could transform the typical onboarding approach into a rich, interactive and immersive experience that motivates a strong connection between the employee and the employer? What if new hires better understood the company's history, values, strategy, and future direction as well as their unique role in driving the company's success? What if, throughout this experience, you could build teams and help to establish a cohort for new employees to network and build relationships as they moved into their unique roles?
The short answer is that you can. And if you do, it will drive engagement, commitment and impact your company’s business' results.
Developing High-Performing, Engaged Employees is More Critical than Ever
In today's business environment, “speed to proficiency” is critical. Successful onboarding leads to accelerated productivity, improved retention and deeper bench strength, higher employee satisfaction, and engaged employees who effectively execute and deliver results. The stakes are high. Each year, 25 percent of the U.S. working population experiences career transitions and most employees make the decision to stay with the firm or leave within the first three months of employment. 2 With little opportunity to recoup their investment in recent hires, companies face negative impacts on productivity, workforce stability, and ultimately, organizational results.
The cost of new hire turnover is immediate and significant. For companies across industry sectors, the average cost of voluntary employee turnover is approximately $106,000.3 For senior executives, it is often the equivalent of 400% of the employee’s salary.4 Even if you are able to retain the talent, employees who do not fully understand their jobs cost U.S. businesses nearly $47 billion annually, according to recent research by the International Data Corporation. Given these realities, many companies today are re-evaluating their onboarding programs and investing in new approaches to engage this critical audience more effectively.
Build Short and Long-Term Company Value
For Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world's leading generic pharmaceutical company with 46,000 employees globally, this is no surprise. Built through rapid acquisitions, the company was challenged to better connect new and acquired employees to the company and its goals while honoring the organization's unique history. To strengthen employees' understanding of the organization, the generic drug business model, and how each employee contributes to ongoing success, Teva engaged employees in a one-day customized EngageMap™ experience. Teams of participating employees explored the company's values and evolution over time, considered the full value chain, and connected their roles to strategic imperatives, identifying stakeholders and career goals. The innovative, experiential learning approach proved critical to accelerating their employee onboarding and increasing time to productivity. Read the full case study here.
Effective onboarding will never be conveyed through logoed t-shirts, coffee mugs, pep rallies led by company employees, or mastery of a company’s unique vocabulary and acronyms. Short and long-term company value is built by immersing new employees in the company’s business and industry, engaging employees in an experience to communicate the organization’s history, core values and strategy, and enable new hires to connect the company’s objectives to their individual roles.
Learn more about our onboarding point of view.
About the Author: James Orr is a Director at BTS.
1 "What Your New Hires are Telling You Without Saying a Word", Workspan. World at Work, 2010.
2 Bauer, Tayla N. Ph.D, "Onboarding Employees: Maximizing Success", Society for Human Resource Management, 2010.
3"Best Practices for Retaining New Employees: Effective Onboarding", PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010.
4Allen, David G., "Retaining Talent", Society for Human Resources Management, 2008.