Best Practices to Combat an Increasingly Expensive Turnover Rate - Whitepaper

In today’s new normal of talent acquisition and job seeking, candidates and potential new employees gravitate toward companies that provide a hiring process that’s fast, easy, and ultimately, engaging and personal. From sourcing, to recruiting, to onboarding, iCIMS provides the tools companies need to navigate through the ever-changing demands of today’s workforce.

In this white paper, we’ll discuss how, in conjunction with iCIMS’ applicant tracking system, companies can use iCIMS Onboard and ensure that new hires will stay longer and perform better. 

Why is Onboarding Important?

According to SHRM’s onboarding study, nearly half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first four months and half of outside senior hires fail within 18 months.[1]  One way companies can improve these statistics is by use of strategic onboarding techniques that help employees assimilate into your organization. While every organization has different onboarding techniques ranging from a formal onboarding process to the sink-or-swim mentality, the important thing to remember is that the faster a new hire feels welcomed and prepared for their new job, the faster that employee will be able to contribute to the company’s overall success.  As SHRM points out, employees who are onboarded using the sink-or-swim technique often struggle to figure out what is expected and how they can be successful in their new work place.


When Should an Onboarding Program Begin and End?

Studies have shown that organizations that provide new-hires with easy access to forms, employment information, and a view into the company’s culture prior to the first day of work benefit from enhanced employee retention, productivity, and overall satisfaction. Top companies use an onboarding portal to provide new hires with a comprehensive onboarding portal to provide new-hires with online access to company information, tax forms, policies, and company cultural information before they even start work.

The length of an onboarding program varies from organization to organization and depends heavily on the complexity of the job responsibilities. A standard onboarding program is three - six months long; however some organizations classify the first twelve months of a new-hire’s employment as the onboarding period. It is beneficial to view onboarding as the first step of a detail- oriented employee support and mentorship program. 

What is a Well-Managed Onboarding Program?

A well-managed onboarding program is both well thought out and coordinated.  The most important thing to remember is that onboarding is not one-size-fits-all. Different employees, depending on the level of their career, job function, geographic or cultural influence, etc. will require different onboarding techniques to ensure success.  Although onboarding programs vary greatly from organization to organization, there are several over-arching characteristics present in all well-managed onboarding programs.

One of the most important elements of a successful onboarding program is to focus on the new hire’s experience. The onboarding experience should be enriching, yet still simple.  To accomplish this, onboarding requirements like forms and manuals should be presented in a clear and self-explanatory task-driven workflow. Additionally, the organization should not overlook the importance of introducing the employee to the company culture. This can be done using videos, images, and even biographical introductions to key people with whom the employee will work.

In addition to this, successful onboarding programs:

  • Provide ongoing, clear, concise and consistent channels of communication
  • Facilitate learning at every organizational level
  • Clearly align new-hires to key business strategies
  • Set milestones to gauge new-hire success
  • Present information in easily-digestible amounts
  • Reinforce employment brand and positive aspects of the company culture

Common Onboarding Mistakes

Many organizations make the mistake of using the terms onboarding and orientation interchangeably. Onboarding is not orientation!  Onboarding is an ongoing process of assimilation and integration, not a one-time orientation event.  One of the most common onboarding mistakes is taking a cookie-cutter approach. With onboarding, one size does not fit all; it is important for every organization to implement an onboarding program that is closely aligned to their culture and ongoing business objectives. 

Automated Onboarding Programs

Some of the most successful organizations have automated their onboarding programs to further streamline their talent acquisition initiatives and increase their return-on-investment. The talent acquisition software used to automate onboarding programs helps to reduce preliminary recruiting costs, while improving employee retention and productivity in the long run. An automated onboarding program also eliminates reliance on paper documents and overloading new-hires with too much information, the majority of which they will not use for several months. Automated onboarding programs take advantage of an onboarding portal, a comprehensive and easily accessible location to store the documents necessary for the entire onboarding process. This gives new-hires the opportunity to access information when they need it- placing critical documents at their fingertips even before their first day of work.

This, however, begs the question, “What features should I seek when selecting an automated onboarding software?”

  • Strong onboarding software should include the following features:
  • An easy to understand, task-driven new-hire experience
  • Configuration options that allow the organization to create different onboarding experiences for different employee categories
  • Automated reminders when tasks are nearing due or overdue
  • Easy access for the employee to retrieve important company documents
  • Electronic forms that the employee can complete and submit electronically
  • Automated data collection for Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC), I-9 and E-Verify
  • Strong reporting capabilities that allow the organization to identify areas for improvement
  • Convenient self-administration that allows the organization to make adjustments and improvements as necessary

Onboarding Portal

If your organization moves forward with an automated onboarding process, the onboarding portal contributes heavily to the new-hire’s opinion of the company. To get your new-hires off on the right foot, make sure that the onboarding portal contains all the relevant information that the employee will need.

Below is a list highlighting some of the most common information stored in an automated onboarding portal:

  • Welcome message from the CEO and other key stakeholders (new hires need to feel welcomed and to minimize “buyer’s remorse”)
  • Summary of company vision, values and mission statements.
  • Meet your co-workers page
  • Company videos or pictures that expose the new-hire to the company culture
  • Tasks that need to be completed
  • Information on mentorship and leadership development programs
  • Benefits enrollment, direct deposit, 401K and tax forms
  • Candidate experience surveys
  • Organizational policies, vacation calendar, expense and travel guidelines
  • Internal and external training schedules

Case Study – New Hires Deserved More at ServiceSource

The Challenge

ServiceSource, a provider of training and employment to people with disabilities, previously used an automated onboarding software that could not accurately reflect the company’s employment brand.[2] “When onboarding new hires with our old system, the experience was cold and impersonal,” explained Julia DeLuca, Corporate HR Manager at Service Source.

The Solution

In conjunction with iCIMS’ applicant tracking system, iCIMS’ automated onboarding software lets companies like ServiceSource create an engaging and dynamic experience with specific content, tasks, and even videos depending on employee type through onboarding portals. As a result, new hires are engaged with the company’s brand, mission, and values from the start.


How iCIMS Can Help

iCIMS is the leading provider of talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent. iCIMS empowers companies to manage their entire hiring process within the industry’s most robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Built on the foundation of a best-to-market talent acquisition software suite, iCIMS’ PaaS framework, UNIFi, allows employers to expand the capabilities of their core talent acquisition technology by integrating with the largest partner ecosystem in talent acquisition to help them attract, find, screen, and manage candidates. Offering scalable, easy-to-use solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service, iCIMS supports more than 3,500 contracted customers and is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition solution providers.