Onboarding: A bespoke approach that reduces costs and increases productivity

Onboarding: A bespoke approach that reduces costs and increases productivity
Promoted by Onboarding: A bespoke approach that reduces costs and increases productivity

Approximately 25% of the working population make a job move every year1. Given the rise of the gig economy and the game changing impact of virtual technology, our increasingly automated workplaces can anticipate even higher levels of employee movement.  As the trend takes hold the cost of replacing leavers has the potential to rocket.  In fact, according to a study by Oxford Economics in 2014 it costs the organisation a staggering £30,000 to replace a single job2. This includes costly recruitment campaigns, lengthy selection activities, unsatisfactory temporary resources, labour costs, logistical expenses and loss of productivity. 

Over time, faced with a new reality, organisations will be forced to take steps to reign in the direct costs of recruitment finding innovative, faster and more cost effective ways to attract and select employees.  However, indirect costs such as loss of productivity are more evasive and more complex to address.  For example, there is a period of time when the departing employee starts a process of ‘letting go’.  As they disassociate the impact of their diminishing productivity will be felt keenly by the people who rely on their know-how and contribution.  To further compound the dilemma, it also takes some time for the incoming employee to reach an optimal level of productivity.

So, is loss of productivity inevitable and can it be minimised?

It’s probably impossible for someone to leave a job without reducing their productivity to some extent – surely that’s inherent to leaving isn’t it? Clearly, organisations will benefit from implementing effective exit strategies to minimise disruption but as about 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days3 (not forgetting the impact of those who remain and are unproductive) a strong focus on helping new recruits to smoothly integrate into an organisation or role, thereby reducing their ‘mean time to contribution’, will generate much greater value. Getting your onboarding process right then is central to your success for both increasing retention and productivity.

Here are a few scenarios where onboarding is very effective:

1. Internal promotion

Effective onboarding can support an employee to successfully undertake a significant internal promotion particularly when the nature and scope of that job is quite different.

2. Long term international assignment

Utilising onboarding for international transfers can help employees acclimatise to a new culture with greater ease and acceptance.

3. External executive hire

New executives that experience onboarding have the opportunity to quickly integrate with the new organisation and more clearly understand the strategy, goals and objectives they are pursuing.

Alarmingly, less than a third of organisations invest in formal onboarding despite the commonly held belief that organisations that do so are more effective than those that don’t4.

Too often onboarding is passive, short term and focused solely on the organisation.  Ironically, organisations routinely use recruitment as an opportunity to bring in new talent and fresh perspectives yet frequently the focus of onboarding is about assimilation and conformity. Information is imparted, hands are shaken, objectives are clarified and then the onus is firmly placed on the individual to navigate through deep routed traditions, customs and challenges – on their own.  In such circumstances, regardless of the organisation’s good intentions, new recruits can be left feeling overwhelmed, disconnected and undervalued.

Instead, organisations that break the mould, and design onboarding programmes that put new recruits first are far more likely to generate early engagement.  According to surveys, employees who receive onboarding that emphasise individual identity are a third less likely to quit5

An effective way to emphasise the individual’s value is to incorporate executive coaching into their onboarding programme.  The integration of executive coaching with more traditional onboarding techniques creates a two way street that enables both the individual and the organisation to grow together during the transition.  This not only demonstrates the organisations commitment to the individual - improving engagement and retention rates - it can also decrease time to contribution and minimise loss of productivity.  Moreover the individual’s contribution will be more aligned, intentional and value added than had the individual been left to their own devices.

At Notion we work with organisations to help build highly individualised onboarding programmes.  Our first class Executive Coaches are skilled in helping people to explore and acknowledge their individual strengths and to identify pathways that will help them add value fast in an authentic and meaningful way.  Our programmes also provide an opportunity for individuals to recognise the potential gaps in their skills, knowledge and behaviours and to create bespoke development plans that they feel ownership of. Critically, the Executive Coach accompanies and supports the individual as they progress through the entire 100 day onboarding period which is typically accepted as the optimal period of time new recruits have to ‘prove’ themselves.  The executive coaching sessions can provide purposeful touch points and a neutral space for the individual to explore strategy, priorities, aspirations, relationships, conflicts and challenges; and to consider more fully both their practical and emotional responses. This can then be translated into clear action plans designed to deliver the best results.  Consequently, this releases some of the negative pressure on the individual and redirects their energy to achieve quick wins and sets the foundation for long term success. 

Don’t take our word for it.  We measure the effectiveness of all our onboarding programmes and can demonstrate tangible return on investment.  So not only does your new employee stay, grow and successfully transition, they will also deliver clear financial returns that will help to obliterate the initial costs of recruiting.  For more information on how to create highly effective individualised onboarding programmes call us on 01926 889885 or visit www.BusinessCoaching.co.uk

1 Rollag, K., Parise, S., & Cross, R. (2005) Getting new hires up to speed quickly, MIT Sloan Management Review, 46, 35-41

2The cost of the brain drain: understanding the financial impact of staff turnover (2014). Available at www.oxfordeconomics.com/my-oxford/projects/264283.

3 Available at http://thewynhurstgroup.com/articles-and-resources/#panel0

4 Bauer, T.N (2010) Onboarding new employees: Maximising success, SHRM Foundation

5 Cable, D.M., Gino, F., Staats, B.R. (2013) Breaking them in or eliciting their best? Reframing socialisation and newcomers’ authentic self-expression, Administrative Science Quarterly, 58: 1


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