Updating your onboarding process might not be at the top of every HR professional’s priority list, but it probably should be — especially if it’s been over a year since your last update.
Why? Because an outdated onboarding experience might be sending the wrong signals about a company — and causing needless confusion — at the very time when new hires are looking to understand their new employer and find their place in the organization.
If that’s not enough incentive, updating your onboarding also produces some major long-term benefits.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 69% of employees are more likely to stay at a company for three or more years if they had a positive onboarding experience.
New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.
Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity.
The problem isn’t that we don’t believe quality onboarding is important, it’s that we fail to recognize that it isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of thing — it should be ever-evolving.
Why the Onboarding Process Needs to Evolve
When was the last time you updated your onboarding process? Was it six months ago? One year ago? Five years ago?
We get it — time flies. And while it might feel like it was just yesterday when you created your awesome new onboarding process, before you know it, a year has passed and it’s time to review, refine and update again.
Here are some key reasons to update your onboarding experience.
Your service or product evolved
The key to great onboarding is clarity. When you have a new employee join your ranks, you need to make it easy for them to understand all they can about what you do, how you do it, and how they fit into the big picture. And if the heart of what you do as a business shifts, you might need to double-check your onboarding communication to ensure everything is aligned and that you’re communicating it accurately.
Onboarding should make things clearer, not more confusing — so make sure what you say is what you actually do.
Your culture has shifted
Social integration and knowledge of culture are two more vital elements to great onboarding. And while your defined core values really shouldn’t change much, if you have gone through a cultural shift, you’ll likely have to update your onboarding materials.
Be warned: Not all cultural changes are apparent without reading the fine print.
For example, if you decide to include some office inside jokes with the intention of making the new hire feel welcome, you might have to actually put yourself through the process to confirm understanding. Do the jokes still make sense? If your onboarding materials tell your new hire that most people eat their lunch in the cafeteria, make sure it’s still true. While your core values may not have changed, behaviors and cultural norms of the office may have.
Your brand just got updated
Lastly, you should update your onboarding experience if your employer branding has changed. It’s safe to assume that like your brand, your employer brand has evolved over time. And while you might not formally update your employer brand through brand guidelines, you can still look at the way you’re communicating to new hires and determine whether or not it feels like your organization.
Keep your onboarding on track
Great onboarding leads to great things — increased retention, a reduction in ramp-up time and increased employee engagement. But it’s not easy to get it right the first time around. Most onboarding processes go through multiple iterations, revisions and “rebrands.” But if you invest the time and energy to refine your process, you’ll be one step closer to creating an experience that will benefit your organization for years to come.