Talent Acquisition | What should onboarding look like in 2022?

What should onboarding look like in 2022?

An in-depth survey from 2021 highlights key areas of focus for TA professionals.

As we move into 2022, vacancy levels are high and candidate availability is low in virtually every sector. Many talent acquisition teams are facing the toughest recruitment conditions in their career. In this environment, onboarding has never been more important. Once you’ve attracted scarce new talent, lowering dropout and attrition is more vital than ever.

But how do your onboarding strategies need to adapt to meet the challenges of the current climate, from talent scarcity to a hybrid workplace? The TALiNT Partners Benchmark Report has some key answers. Produced in partnership with over 200 employers, and across sectors from banking to engineering, retail to technology, it’s a comprehensive overview, and onboarding is a key focus.

The results reveal that although 2021 saw an increase in onboarding activity – especially before day one – the quality of those interactions often fell, year on year. Which begs the question – in a hybrid world of work, how do you deliver onboarding that not only drives process, but also creates connections, builds engagement, and helps you hold on to key talent?

Pre day one onboarding

There’s more effort to cover the basics ……

New starter engagement between offer and start date has altered the most significantly year on year. Against the backdrop of increasing fall-out post offer, this response is clearly vital. Set up for new joiners has tightened with moderate ratings increasing from 45% to 75% for login and tech set up, and from 55% to 88% for communication of directions for the first day.

Moderate ratings for “keep in touch” activity post-offer rose from 45% to 75%, but high ratings fell from 35% to 13%, indicating that quantity may be winning out over quality. It all suggests that organisations are focusing on getting the basic logistics right whilst their new starters are marooned away from the office, but that they are doing so at the expense of more in-depth engagement.

…But measures to drive engagement have decreased

Two important onboarding activities decreased – meaning two key opportunities to increase engagement prior to a new joiner’s first day are being lost. First, the follow-up post reference taking has reduced, with low ratings increasing from 9% to 50% and moderate ratings falling from 36% to 13%. Again, this suggests organisations are concentrating on driving the compliance and process elements of onboarding such as reference collection, whilst neglecting the building of human interactions.

The second example is the provision of an onboarding schedule pre-start; low ratings rose from 27% to 38% and moderate ratings fell from 45% to 38%. This represents a real missed opportunity to build belonging for the new hire.

An onboarding platform designed to connect people, like Eli, can plug both these gaps. Its functionality allows for each new starter to have their own bespoke 90-day onboarding checklist, which they can access as soon as they receive their offer. It also has a messaging system that makes interactions between new employees, their line managers and buddies easy and quick (and includes reminders to ensure interactions aren’t forgotten in the midst of a busy work day). It also has a social wall where new employees can interact with each other. It all helps build connections, encourage networking and boost a sense of belonging, way before day one.

Induction and the first 3 months

Points of contact are shrinking, line manager responsibilities are increasing

Day 1 communication, including introduction to the organisation, saw moderate ratings increase from 27% to 63%, as companies attempted to make sure that those starting in a virtual or hybrid environment had proper support. However, the high ratings for this category fell from 45% to 25%, showing that this activity was often of a lower quality than in previous years. The allocation of a day-1 contact, saw high ratings rise from 55% to 75%, but the focus seemed to be the introduction to a single point of contact, rather than introduction to the wider team.

In line with this trend of shrinking points of contact, management check-ins have increased, with moderate ratings rising from 36% to 63%. Quality has fallen here too, with high ratings in this category falling from 45% to 38%.

It’s important to empower busy line managers to deliver the very best in onboarding, whilst informing and connecting new starters. Technology can help here, using bespoke content, and event planners to make it easy for line managers to set up meetings and training for their new employees to connect with key contacts across the organisation. Tech can also enable managers to see at a glance where their new starters are on their journey, and can give them their own timeline to keep to, to help them plan for the arrival and induction of their new hire.

A reduction in feedback and data

Results showed a drop in both moderate and high ratings for seeking feedback on the recruitment experience; both ratings fell to 13% while low ratings increased from 18% to 63%. This is bad news for those trying to pinpoint areas for improvement in driving onboarding performance.

A potential area of concern, in light of the current retention challenges, is the reduction in post-induction follow up from Talent Acquisition teams, for both candidates and hiring managers; high ratings fell to 0% and low ratings increased to 63% for both activities.

Again, an onboarding portal such as Eli can support you here, providing a rich source of data on your onboarding process, with an MI dashboard that allows you to analyse information easily and act swiftly on key insights – highlighting where a new joiner is unhappy or hasn’t been responding to communication from their line manager for example. The platform enables both line managers and TA users to ensure that key milestones have been met in each new starter’s checklist. It also allows new starters to deliver feedback – including rating every page of the platform, to help you evolve content to make it ever more useful and engaging.

An overall drop in effectiveness

Despite some positive improvements (high ratings for induction completion were up from 55% to 75%, for example) the overall effectiveness of induction and onboarding up to 3 months fell overall in 2021. It shows that there is a way to go before onboarding solutions are meeting the challenge of working in a hybrid world – and finding new ways of delivering connection and inclusion that don’t rely on physical presence in the office space.

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CA3 is an award-winning creative agency that helps organisations attract and engage with talent through fabulously compelling employer brands, careers websites, videos, print and advertising campaigns. We’re also the creators of Eli; personalised onboarding technology that’s changing the way businesses onboard new people. Used by clients such as AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, NatWest Group, and Aviva, Eli is 100% about engagement, and we’ve got the stats to prove it.