On-boarding evolving as firms realise its effectiveness

On-boarding evolving as firms realise its effectiveness


On-boarding trends are evolving as organisations become more aware of its value in supporting new employees and operational effectiveness.

This is according to research by Top Employers UK, which also identified five emerging best practice trends in on-boarding. The findings are based on analysis of 600 organisations across 102 countries, certified as Top Employers by the Top Employers Institute. Only organisations with more than 3,000 employees locally or more than 5,000 employees worldwide are included.

Together with the global report, UK-specific data has also been released which supports the wider trends; this is based on research into 71 companies.

The five key trends identified in the report are:

1. From event to process. Historically, on-boarding lasts for up to three days after an employee joins. Some employers, however, are starting on-boarding during the recruitment phase and maintaining it for up to six, or in some cases, twelve months. The scope is also broader; key practices remain around the role, HR policies and procedures, but there is a growing focus on internal connections. Three-quarters of the UK companies researched assign a buddy, 77% use internal social media to chat with employees, 92% conduct a post-hire assessment and 58% hold a follow-up session a year after the employee joined.

2. Towards a multi-dimensional programme. The first impressions new hires gain may well shape the way they feel about their new employer in the longer term. Effective on-boarding needs to cover three main areas:

  • The business context (mission and vision; organisational strategy, branding, positioning and, potentially, challenges)
  • The situational context (the job; expectations, deliverables and what success looks like)
  • The cultural context (organisational values; how they are lived and the way they shape what the business does)

3. More active involvement of senior management. Senior business leaders play a key role in inspiring new employees, while helping them to understand the overall business purpose. Some 77% of UK executive managers ensure they meet with new recruits (an increase of 15% since 2015) and 93% of executive management actively promote the importance of on-boarding.

4. On-boarding goes digital. Trends show technology assumes a central role in on-boarding, providing a quick and easy way to complete paperwork and reducing manual work and errors. It also provides data for reporting and gaining insights to inform process enhancements. Seventy-seven per cent of UK companies researched use internal social media to chat with employees (up 14% on last year), 66% share experiences over social media (up 20%) and 90% provide an on-boarding portal.

5. Gaining insight: data-driven programme improvement. Key metrics are being tracked, measuring impact and effectiveness. Sixty-nine percent of UK companies report on KPIs, up six per cent on 2015. Where KPIs are used it is often to measure operational effectiveness, such as induction training completed on time. Participants are beginning to measure programme effectiveness, such as first year retention.

Eleanor Nickerson, director of UK operations for the Top Employers Institute, said: “We’ve seen a lot of exciting growth in on-boarding during the last few years. Companies realise it’s a key time to engage with employees meaningfully and that it leads to a better employee experience, a more engaged team and better results for the company. The trends outlined in our report are things that any company can do in their own way – even off the shelf technology can be relatively inexpensive - and I would encourage employers who don’t currently invest much time or energy into on-boarding to build a programme – the results show it pays off.

“The benefits of creating a multi-dimensional programme are rewarding for employees and company alike. When a new employee is educated, not only on their new role, but on values, strategy and how the organisation operates, they gain a more rounded understanding of the business - and that pays off as they settle in.”

Monday, 23 May 2016

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Noel Thomas Date: May 26, 2016

Great to see more and more businesses realising the positive benefits of a engaging onboarding programme, that informs, embeds and excites new employees.

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