More business leaders see onboarding as a strategic activity, according to a report released by SilkRoad at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. At the same time, they’re not so ready to put their money where their mouths are.
Silkroad—which provides onboarding software and services—said corporate leaders increasingly see employee engagement as an important contributor to retention, and predicted that onboarding efforts will carry more weight as the tight labor market continues.
The biggest driver of change is the growing use of big data, including its ability to identify at-risk employees. That’s especially true of HR leaders in the EMEA (76 percent) and the Asia-Pacific region (74 percent). In North America, 52 percent of HCM executives said data and technology was a major driver.
While 70 percent of those same North American leaders anticipated increasing their focus on onboarding over the next three years, they lagged their overseas counterparts her, as well: Some 85 percent EMEA HR executives planned more onboarding activities in the coming years, as did 75 percent of those in the Asia-Pacific region.
Across the board, executive goals showed signs of evolving from an emphasis on improving transactions to making more strategic gains. In North America, HR leaders see their key measures of success as “new hire engagement” (80 percent) and “new hire retention” (68 percent). Their least important measure was improving onboarding-related administration costs, which was considered important by only 24 percent.
Intentions are one thing, but is the will there to follow through? That’s not clear. SilkRoad’s research found that HR leaders have a limited tolerance for investment in onboarding programs, at least in terms of time. More than three quarters—77 percent—of those in North America said their onboarding programs last three months or less. (That same time period, IDC has noted, is when 20 percent of employee turnover occurs.) Nearly 40 percent said their efforts last a week or less. IDC has noted that 20 percent of employee t
“While most companies told us they believe their employee onboarding programs are ‘maturing’ or ‘mature,’ deeper analysis of their answers suggest they may not be as evolved as they think,” said Lilith Christiansen, SilkRoad’s vice president of Onboarding Solutions. “An onboarding program that merely focuses on the basics in the first week or so misses the opportunity to actively engage employees over a longer term.”
Of course, discrepancy between HR’s priorities and corporate leadership’s willingness to invest isn’t a new dynamic. As many observers have said, metrics that both provide possible courses of action as well as measurable results are still required to get CEOs and CFOs to move.
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