In recent years, big structural changes have presented new pressures and requirements for People Operations leaders.

Shorter employee tenures, distributed workforces, increasing competitive advantages of people investment and more, the challenges and new opportunities have never been more evident.

In response to a lot of these changes, we work with Program Leads to help them build the case for strategic employee onboarding programs. As we get underway, they are often asked by their executive teams - what is strategic employee onboarding and how is it placed to take advantage of these changes?”

We’ll get to that soon, but first - let’s dig a little deeper to what’s happening in the talent markets.

Big Changes creating Strategic HR

The significant shift in the relationship between employees and employers are motivating both sides to rethink the employee experience.

Companies are often frustrated with high employee demands and a competitive talent market, and employees are also frustrated with the lack of career path and personal development. But what’s behind these factors?

  • Declining Tenures: Employee tenures continue to decline and new hires take roughly 8 months to fully ramp. With recruitment investment relatively fixed as well as the cost of the hiring initiatives, employee lifetime value is being increasingly impacted. There’s a greater need to decrease time to ramp and increase tenure and retention, and business leaders are looking to their People Ops leaders to make this happen.
  • Increasing Distribution: Multiple locations and a distributed workforce are quickly becoming status quo, even for small to medium-sized businesses. According to a study conducted by Intuit, more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers by 2020. This new way of work requires even more robust HR technology to serve as the operational and strategic backbone of organizations.
  • Growing focus on employee success: The Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV) framework was first mentioned by Bersin in 2013, and is gaining momentum in the People Operations industry with recent publications providing even more focus on the importance of people investment in corporate success.

These structural changes are shifting the role of HR from administration and compliance to front office talent development and employee success.

Subsequently, the technology and associated budget allocated to the foundation of employee success - onboarding - is rapidly accelerating.

But Does Onboarding Really Matter?

Historically, onboarding has been one of the most neglected parts of the employee lifecycle and, in turn, has received the smallest budget.

Today shows a vastly different landscape: business leaders and People Ops professionals are actively searching for concrete solutions to the new demands and changes listed above.

Research has found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Companies with weak onboarding programs can often lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.

What the best companies have in common is onboarding programs that focus heavily on the higher levels of the Hierarchy of New Hire Needs, we call this Strategic Onboarding.

Administrative vs Strategic Onboarding

Strategic onboarding solutions embody a philosophy and approach to onboarding that takes care of the paperwork and administration, and supports the maximum return on investment of new-hires by accelerating time to peak performance.

What are the big differentiators of strategic onboarding?

  • Pre-boarding Assimilation: Provides validation on new hire decision with assimilation into your company’s history, team and culture.
  • Cross department Workflows: With growing team distribution, onboarding workflows impact more than just the hire and manager. Strategic onboarding mobilizes your organization to achieve onboarding success.
  • Developmental Focus: In periods of transition, small inputs can have a disproportionate impact on results. By equipping hiring managers and buddies with best practice playbooks and technology (i.e. bench strength) to create their employee onboarding plans, they can deploy the right resources to provide new hires with a path to success.

Most importantly, these differentiators need to be managed with consistency, visibility and data.

When we work with companies to develop, launch, and manage a strategic onboarding program, having these data feeds coming back to the Program Lead is critical to any initiative’s success.

Want to learn more about how you can use employee onboarding to amplify Employee Engagement and Performance? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo below.

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Administrative vs. Strategic Onboarding