What is onboarding and why is it important?

What is onboarding and why is it important


Onboarding: Definition

Translation and onboarding don’t mean much. As the world of management likes to invent new words, it is a neologism. The term “onboarding” could be translated by “embarking” or “integration” in more HR terms. It often corresponds to the duration of the trial period.

So integration and onboarding are interchangeable terms? Yes, it sounds better if it’s just onboarding, don’t you think? Moreover, this term seems to imply a methodology, a process and tools in addition to a “simple” onboarding. Well, you need them to successfully onboard a new employee! Because that’s where the employee experience begins.

Let’s define HR onboarding in more detail: In order to establish a successful and lasting working relationship, the new employee must go through the onboarding process from the moment he or she learns of the hire until he or she starts working for the company. This involves, among other things:

  1. Onboarding is a whole process, a set of sequences built as such, with reference points. More reasonably, it’s not just a matter of asking yourself what to do on the first day! Even if the first day is decisive.
  2. Onboarding is the process of getting to know and integrating into a position, with a team, a manager, a company, etc. It’s about integrating a position… and the entire company system!

According to a recent survey conducted by Korn Ferry, 98% of executives consider onboarding as a crucial lever to improve employee retention !

What is the onboarding process?

According to Mrs. Brigitte Aubine, HRD member of the Finaxim network, “we always remember the first hour spent in the company, and an employee is more likely to stay in a position when the first contacts are pleasant” (source Monster)

Onboarding is the process by which an employee is welcomed and integrated into the company. The French equivalent of the term is “Embarquement“, which refers to the actions taken by a company to integrate new arrivals.

Brigitte Aubine from Finaxim “The leading network of outsourced managers“, underlines the interest of devoting the necessary time to the integration of a collaborator, on the other hand the integration period takes into account the necessary learning period of a new work functioning.

“Employers expect employees to be immediately operational; they forget about the time it takes to learn a new environment, a new type of management, a new tool and different operational activities”.

Consequently, it is essential to value the integration period of a new recruit and not to consider it as a loss, on the contrary it is an investment, similar to its learning, adaptation and discovery phase.

Onboarding in history

The term onboarding appeared in the 1970s. It is a concept linked to a service side, formalized in 2011 in the book by Talya N. Bauer and Berrin Erdogan. According to the professor of management at the University of Portland “Talya N.Bauer, it takes about 90 days for an employee to prove themselves in a new job.

In reality, it is up to each organization to decide how much time is needed to acclimate to the company culture, routines, procedures and specifics of the new position. One week is sufficient to get used to the environment, daily activities ….etc. It is advisable to give the employee at least 90 days to feel at home and to work in the best conditions. The future satisfaction of employees within the company is directly linked to the duration and, above all, to the quality of the “onboarding” process.

Introducing the location, staff and operations of the company has always been a part of welcoming newcomers. But today, it’s given much more thought. Even though the first steps of an onboarding are often similar – a tour of the workplace in 69% of cases, a presentation of the company by a member of management in 56% of cases, a presentation of the position in 55% of cases, a welcome breakfast or lunch in 52% of cases – there are some key differences. These phases of onboarding are just the beginning. It is a complete immersion in the company’s culture and its brand image. The employer, managers and HR specialists must make a real effort.

A bad onboarding can, in fact, quickly prove to be costly from an economic point of view. A breach of contract during the trial period would cost the company more than €50,000, according to an article in L’Express . To this cost must be added the human resources used for hiring, administrative follow-up and employee training. There are two good reasons for companies not to skip onboarding.

Onboarding key figures

The onboarding process should not be taken lightly. According to some statistics, it is essential to give a new employee time to integrate in order to avoid losing them permanently. It is an investment in the future.

According to Workelo:

  • Resignations occur within the first year in 45% of cases.
  • It is estimated that about 80% of new hires decide to stay with the company within the first six months.
  • A recruit who experiences full onboarding is about 58% more likely to stay with the company.

Even if the majority of companies are ready to formalize an onboarding process, the results are still far from satisfactory. It’s hard to be surprised by the 88% of employees who are dissatisfied with their onboarding when more than half of companies (58%) are content to focus on administrative tasks or process integration.

According to Payjob:

  • The reason for termination is job disappointment in 40% of cases.
  • Employees break their contracts six out of ten times during the probationary period.

The onboarding process also puts the company’s reputation at risk. According to recent statistics, one in five employees would not recommend their employer following the hiring process. Yet recruiting through employee referrals is more efficient in terms of time and money. Potential talent is lost because 20% of employees are unwilling to recommend their place of employment.

What is the purpose of onboarding?

Structuring the onboarding process requires some effort to be well implemented. So why bother? After all, there are employees who have never experienced a real onboarding process. Sure, but imagine what it would have been like with real onboarding. Then “it’s up to the employee to integrate too! In any case, it is certain that reducing or skimping on onboarding exposes us to three circumstances we could do without:

  1. the voluntary departure of the new employee in the first year. Because you have not amortized the costs of hiring, training and managing the employee, you lose an average of €20,000 of investment and you have to start from scratch. This is all the more regrettable if the employee was promising.
  2. The inertia in the rise in competence of the new employee. Yes, increase your skills, but in what areas? At what speed? What kind of monitoring and control? Without answers, the new employee has a hard time getting up to speed. Moreover, an employee is affected by a prolonged situation of incompetence or even boredom the same way you are.
  3. Indecision of the new employee and towards the new employee. Without a milestone or trajectory, how do you know if you are willing or able to make a long-term plan for an employer or employee? It’s a bit like using only your eyes to navigate and telling yourself it’s going to happen by crossing your fingers. You might as well say that’s not a real choice

Developing and implementing an onboarding journey has reverse benefits, That is:

  • Give yourself the tools to make informed post-hire decisions and develop unbiased judgments throughout the probationary period on both sides.
  • Lay the foundation for retention by encouraging a new employee’s commitment and attachment to the company.
  • Make the employee successful and competent as soon as possible to get the best return on investment (on both sides).
  • And as a bonus: be more attractive! Candidates for a position with you will be thrilled to learn that you have a new employee onboarding and coaching program… perhaps so much so that you are their #1 choice

As you can see, the integration process or onboarding is an essential step in building loyalty among your recruits from the moment they are hired. Better yet, convince them that they have made the best choice by joining you!

At Pentabell, HR onboarding is at the heart of the Human Resources and training department’s strategy. For us, it is a first contact to share our values, company culture, and all your internal communication and project management processes.

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