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Does your company woo candidates sweetly and then leave them to fend for themselves after putting a ring on it? If so, you’re generating higher turnover and spending a lot more money than people who get onboarding right.

Ben Peterson, co-founder and CEO of BambooHR, says the key to retaining great employees is to never stop recruiting them. HR doesn’t just need to craft an amazing candidate experience. It needs to extend the candidate experience into the onboarding process.

Go Ahead. Throw Away Time and Cash.

Bad onboarding is the fastest way to let candidates know they’re committed, and the honeymoon’s over. It’s also one of the biggest ways your HR department is throwing away time and money.

  • The first 45 days. Twenty-two percent of turnover happens during the first month-and-a-half of employment. If you could make the first 45 days better, you could cut new hire attrition by around 20 percent.
  • The first year.When you lose an employee after the first year, it ends up costing you three times the employee’s annual salary to recruit, hire, and train someone else.

Right now, 79 percent of business leaders surveyed say onboarding is a top priority. And for good reason—according to Boston Consulting Group research, good onboarding correlates with more than doubled annual profit growth and almost doubled annual profit margin growth.

More Than Just Money

Spending money improving your onboarding process saves money on the back end. It will also create a far more loyal and hardworking workforce. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, employees increase their discretionary effort by 20 percent when they’re onboarded correctly.

Good onboarding, according to Peterson, follows a model developed by >George Bradt: accommodate, assimilate, accelerate.

  • Accomodate.Start your new hires off right by having them do real work right away. Don’t park them in a break room and review the employee handbook in your best monotone voice.
  • Assimilate.Introduce your new employee to the people who matter in your organization. This process includes more than just a handshake from the CEO. It includes unveiling informal networks, bringing new employees to team events, assigning them to cross-functional teams, and showing them how people communicate at your company, including the company’s intranet and social networks.
  • Accelerate. Pair your employee up with a good supporter, such as a mentor or in-building support group. Also, make sure your new hires understand team imperatives, and teach them to recognize early wins and important team milestones.

Building and coaching great teams is about a lot more than just getting great candidates in the door. It’s about never forgetting the proverbial chocolates, roses, and anniversary diamonds. In other words, never stop wooing.

Take a look at Peterson’s Talent Insights webinar to dig deeper into his thoughts on onboarding.

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