Best in Class Performance For New Hire Retention and Productivity

As many as 46 percent of employees will fail within the first 18 months, with only 19 percent achieving success – just two of the bleak figures from a previous report by Leadership IQ.

New hire retention remains a constant issue for businesses, particularly with the dip in employee morale which came hand in hand with the global recession.

However, the very fact that certain companies are better at retaining new hires than others proves the solutions are out there.

Best in Class Performance

The key to boosting the productivity of an employee from day one is a successful onboarding process, and there are clear areas in which best in class organizations stand out.

Aberdeen Group earlier this year published its Onboarding 2011: The Path to Productivity report, in which it identified two key areas where top organizations thrive.

"First, organizations must standardize the process to ensure a quality experience, and then they must automate that process to gain efficiencies," Mollie Lombardi, senior research analyst for human capital management at Aberdeen Group, said.

The figures from the report speak for themselves. Companies which have a standardised onboarding process experience 54 percent greater new hire productivity, 50 percent greater new hire retention, and twice the level of new hire engagement.

And those which had this onboarding process in place for the longest period of time were most likely to be experiencing success, 51 percent of best in class organizations had their systems for three years or more.

Starting Early

Those which achieve the best results also get the ball rolling with the onboarding process before an employee started their first day of work. Some 83 percent of best in class organizations start this process before the new staff member begins, with 43 percent beginning when the offer is extended.

Technology has a significant role to play in this, allowing workers to essential start their training process before they set foot inside the office.

Charlotte Wolff, training editor at XpertHR, outlined the use of theGet Up To Speed e-learning portal, which is used by the broadcaster Sky to prepare staff for working in its call center. New employees were expected to complete the induction program from home prior to their first day on the job.

"It reduced staff induction time by one week, improved retention and performance among its call center staff, and ultimately led to improved sales conversion rates.

"This is because the new recruits were all up to speed on essential product information and felt engaged with the company," Wolff said.


In addition, to having in place a standardized process and starting recruits early, the Aberdeen research found automation to be a key factor for success in onboarding initiatives.

The best performing companies were twice as likely to have a fully automated onboarding process and were reaping the benefits.

According to the research, automating just two processes – new hire forms and benefits enrolment – was enough to triple hiring manager satisfaction and bring about a 16 percent increase in employee retention.

Automated benefits enrolment was the technology most likely to be used by best in class companies (60 percent), followed by assessments designed to determine the best career path for new employees and automated new worker forms.

The automated assessments presented one area in particular where laggards were dropping behind, with just 14 percent using these compared to 57 percent of best in class.

Of those who did not use automation technology, a common reason given was that the solutions available did not meet the needs of their business – a point that Aberdeen Group disputed.

"This may indeed be true for some organizations, but it also may be a lack of awareness about which offerings exist. Even if a fully automated turnkey solution does not appear to match the unique company needs, at least partial automation is still beneficial," the report concluded.

And with just 43 percent of best in class currently automating the onboarding workflow, this is an area where savvy HR organizations can prove they can bring about the significant business benefits increasingly required of them.