The challenge to engage with new hires during onboarding is nothing new—but Covid has opened up a can of worms. As you may be aware, the average US employer spends $4,000 and 24 days to onboard a new employee, but as much as 20% of turnover takes place in the first 45 days! Clearly, the early days of employee engagement contribute to how satisfied employees feel at their new jobs. Turnover is also nothing new. Millennials continue to fuel the uncertainty with their penchant for attrition. 60% of them are open to new job opportunities, which means not only are they hard to attract and hire, but hard to hold. And now because of pandemic restrictions and the evolution of the hybrid workplace, remote onboarding is becoming a part of the new tradition in business and learning.
It’s difficult to make assumptions about why turnover rates may be so high. But it’s important to note that the 20% rate is taken from data collected in 2016. These days, it’s even tougher for hiring managers. Employers are being put in the passenger seat as many employees are opting to work remotely or demanding more value. In other words, the job market is tilted towards the employee and away from employers. As this Forbes article puts it, “the bar has been raised and the power has transitioned.” This is the time for companies to step up to the task and meet their new hires head on. Finding qualified talent in a post-pandemic environment means that remote onboarding has become a major focus of attention, and we’ve put together this post to help you find some clarity among all the noise.
High impact remote onboarding makes a difference
The first few months of employment are the testing ground for how your new hires feel about your company. And it’s no honeymoon. Poorly delivered remote onboarding can result in apathy and disinterest, which may explain the 20% turnover rates. When an employee feels abandoned, they’re less likely to connect to company values and culture. According to this LinkedPlus article, “one out five new hires are unlikely to recommend their employer because they received insufficient guidance when they were remotely onboarded.” If a company is not engaging with employees and providing them ample guidance, they’re missing the opportunity to retain talent for the long haul. Today’s modern employee comes pre-trained in social media, mobile technology, and video learning. If your remote onboarding program isn’t taking that into consideration, it’s going to have an impact on how well your new hires take to their new company. But it’s not just about having the technology in place to deliver remote onboarding effectively (although it’s a big advantage). It’s about developing a deeper understanding of what thrills and delights your employees during the tenuous first months of employment.
Can you tell if your new hires are happy?
To be honest, many organizations have dry and uninspired onboarding programs to begin with. Add to that the challenge of reaching learners with remote onboarding practices, and the issue compounds. Your basic onboarding material is composed of static PDFs and eLearning modules that merely relay information about rules and policies, expectations, access to resources, information about pay and benefits. Of course, those elements are mandatory and extremely important. They rarely inspire happiness, though.
If your legacy onboarding program suffers from poor performance and design, your remote onboarding isn’t going to be any more effective. As these TINYpulse survey results reveal, satisfaction rates for onboarding were nearly the same pre- and post-pandemic. But a deeper inspection of that story regarding the levels of recognition and communication amongst new hires from the company shows a different result. The 2020 cohort gave 34% less recognition to their colleagues than the 2019 one. This indicates that while the overall onboarding experience remained steady, there has been a significant drop-off in engagement with and recognition of new hires, which leads to feelings of abandonment and apathy. Never a good sign for a company looking to retain new employees and get them excited about the work they’ll be doing.
What’s getting lost here? In all the desperate scrambling to attract new talent, remote onboarding has become less effective because of the loss of a critical factor: human connection.
How to provide better remote onboarding
Since your first 45 days are the critical moment in your employee lifecycle, focus and attention needs to be exhibited at this time. Communication and human connection are vital to remote onboarding success, and your leaders and managers bear the responsibility. Empower your leaders with soft skills training to upskill or reinvigorate their leadership capabilities to nurture new hires and build relationships as early as possible. Make sure they understand the importance of repeating these connections and communications regularly to keep new hires motivated to integrate to their new company, job, and culture.
This is also an opportunity to consider enhancing remote onboarding with innovative immersive learning technologies that are currently maturing within the L&D space. Augmented reality is an effective tool to drive skills and technical training with collaborative functionality. Virtual reality continues to delight and wow learners through immersive experiences and simulations. And new to the scene is the rise of metaverse training to allow multiple participants to interact with each other in new ways.
As we transition into the new normal of hybrid learning and work, L&D professionals have potential to evolve their learning programs to a more sustainable solution for the long term. This makes it both an incredibly challenging time, but one with exciting possibilities. Let’s have a chat about what your plans are for 2022, and let us show you how we can collaborate and innovate together. We can help support you through the transition to remote onboarding solutions as well as develop long-term learning strategies to support your business goals.