What are the top concerns for talent managers today? According to a Harris Poll of 225 human resource managers and 2,027 employees, 48 percent of respondents noted finding qualified candidates to fill positions as the top concern, followed closely by 33 percent citing employee turnover/retention as the top concern.

Talent management must address both of these issues to ensure organizational growth. One of the best ways to do this is through effective onboarding of new employees. Helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly should be a priority for talent managers.

Why Onboarding Matters

According to a 2007 study by the Wynhurst Group, when employees go through structured onboarding, they are 58% more likely to remain with the organization after three years.

Understanding the strong connection between a well-designed onboarding process and later employee retention can help you assign onboarding the priority it deserves in your talent management strategies. The question is, what can you do to bolster your process and turn it into the employee magnet that it needs to be?

Strategies for Onboarding Success

There are a number of things that a successful onboarding process includes. Perhaps the most basic of these things is a clear understanding of the difference between orientation, training, and onboarding. While some use those terms interchangeably, that is not exactly accurate.

Orientation and training are essential parts of the onboarding process, but by no means are they the process in its entirety. Onboarding involves much more. It is a process of immersing a new hire into the corporate culture, ensuring a smooth transition to valued, loyal employee. Here are some steps to take to make that happen.

1. Start Onboarding before Hire

Though this may seem counterintuitive, successful onboarding starts well before a candidate is actually hired. Remembering that onboarding is the process of integrating a new hire into your company culture, it is easy to see that exposure to your company culture begins in the recruitment process.

Is your talent acquisition all that it should be? For instance, do you have a robust applicant tracking system in place that provides candidates with a user interface that is easy to access and use? Do your recruiting strategies align with your company culture? If not, candidates coming into your organization can experience “culture-shock” — a negative initial impression which may linger and lead to a retention issue at some point.

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2. Optimize Orientation

The orientation process is an important next step. Planning ahead for an employee’s first day indicates a sincere interest in his or her successful transition. IBM sets a good example in this regard by preparing a work area for a new hire and assigning a mentor to make them feel welcome on day one.

Some organizations handle much of the orientation process, including education about compliance issues and company policies, even before the first day of employment. This is done by utilizing an online portal whereby a new hire can access all required orientation material and fill out all necessary documentation in the comfort of home, eliminating the dreaded paperwork stack usually handled on the first day.

3. Train with Clear Purpose

According to research by Careerbuilder, 92 percent of employees are more loyal to employers who have invested in their skills by training them. Training of your new hire should commence immediately and should be an ongoing structured process.

Initial training involves clarifying and confirming what the new hire already knows about your company. Once that is done, training should cover such things as organizational programs that lead to career path advancement, company best practices, instruction on how to best use technology and equipment provided, practice-based learning, and goal-setting sessions to help a new hire focus on making the most of the opportunities provided by your organization.

4. Coach for Culture

A key part of talent management in the onboarding process is matching a new hire with the appropriate mentor within your organization. The goal of the mentor should be to help the new hire understand and appreciate your organizational culture.

Many successful companies use this stage of the process to introduce a new employee to key executives in the organization. Demonstrating that C-suite executives are invested in fostering new talent engenders loyalty in new employees.

Coaching should also include regular check-ins during the first few months of employment, as some issues a new hire may face do not manifest themselves on day one. This nurturing environment takes some of the stress of transition out of the equation and ultimately leads to better employee outcomes.

employee training

5. Build a Better Network

The final piece of the onboarding process is helping a new employee make the connections he or she needs to succeed long-term with your organization. Social integration with other key employees is essential for success. Encourage a new employee to form high-quality relationships with leaders and other team members. An employee who feels a part of the corporate community will be less likely to decide to leave your company down the road.

The Takeaway

As part of your talent management strategy, a structured onboarding process leads to greater employee retention. Investing appropriate time in structuring an onboarding process and integrating new hires into your company culture via this process will net a positive ROI in terms of employee engagement and retention.

If you’re interested in developing talent management system that starts your onboarding process on the right foot, schedule a demo today and start reaping the rewards of a streamlined system right away.