Virtual Onboarding: The Dam that Safeguards your Resources

Finding the right fit for a role is often a mad scramble in the current job market. Most recruiters dash off an offer letter as soon as they identify the right candidate and then wait for the candidate to join their organisation. This is like dropping a vital catch during a cricket match. They missed a vital link in the recruitment process — onboarding. Your onboarding process should be so engaging that candidates should feel compelled to join your organisation, and stay on too. “With up to 20 per cent of staff turnover occurring within the first 45 days of employment, a standardised onboarding process is essential,” states a recent HBR article.

Virtual Onboarding: The Dam that Safeguards your Resources

A few years ago, onboarding was a purely transactional onboarding process that required new hires to share relevant documentation, and the company to share policies and handover hardware. The story has changed since. Today, onboarding is an opportunity to introduce new hires to their team members and the organisation’s culture. Your onboarding process should enable an employee to get acquainted with the new work environment and allow you to set expectations. A successful onboarding process will enable the new hire to understand his or her role in the organisation and become productive at the earliest.

Every organisation can choose an onboarding style that suits its culture. Some organisations prefer to have a more formal onboarding process that includes workshops and training sessions. While others choose to use a buddy system where the new hire is encouraged to shadow other people in the team and learn on the job.

A transparent and engaging onboarding process has become more crucial than ever. With remote work becoming the norm, a strategic and streamlined virtual onboarding process is the name of the game. In a remote work environment, new hires do not get to personally meet anyone during the recruitment and hiring process. Virtual or remote onboarding introduces new hires to the organisation without bringing them into the workplace for conventional onboarding meetings and training. Instead, these activities take place via video conferencing, webinars, online interactive exercises, and other technologies.

When Covid-19 forced most of the world into remote work environments, organisations resorted to virtual onboarding to meet the changing resource demands. Even now, when we are returning to normal, a hybrid model of office and remote work seems to be the way forward. Virtual onboarding offers unique advantages that have changed the way we view the entire onboarding process.

A well-managed virtual onboarding process:

  • Is easy to set up
  • Saves time and resources
  • Delivers consistent training quality
  • Enhances employee engagement

You might have been able to get away with a reactive, on the fly onboarding process when it was in person. But today it is imperative that your virtual onboarding process is designed to be seamless, dynamic and informative. In short, the impact of virtual onboarding post covid-19 on employee retention cannot be underestimated.

It’s an employee market out there!

Josh Bersin recently predicted that we are entering the hottest job market in a decade. While this prediction must sound like manna to most job seekers, it sounded warning bells all over the recruitment world. A look at the unemployment trend depicted by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy will make those warning bells toll with more urgency. The unemployment rate in India hovers around 7.8 percent in Dec 2021. This is a significant improvement from an unemployment rate of 9.06 per cent in 2020. This rate ballooned to 11.84 per cent in May 2021. Now it’s inching down.

cmie - Unemployment Rate in India

A recent Gartner report states, “ IT spending in India is forecast to total $101.8 billion in 2022, an increase of 7% from 2021”. This forecast also lends credence to the prediction that the coming year will be an employee’s market.
A favourable job market encourages employees to look around and shop for better conditions. This, in turn, will mean that organisations will have to scramble to fill existing roles as well as the new roles. Job advertising, employment branding and other aspects of recruitment will be marked as survival skills by organisations in this market.

But is it enough to spread your net and extend an offer to the best candidate? In today’s job market, candidates are more likely to make a decision after they have two or three offers in hand. In such cases the candidate will evaluate the offer made, on the basis of a few factors such as:

  • Stronger career path and more opportunities
  • Better compensation and benefits
  • Employer brand and company culture

It’s imperative that you make such a good impression with the candidate that they keep your offer at the top of their list. An onboarding process that allows the candidate to engage with the company will go a long way in keeping you high up in the employee ranks. You will see a marked improvement in your offer to joining ratio if you implement a strategic and engaging virtual onboarding process.

The high price of attrition

The high price of attrition

Organisations pay a high price for attrition in a tight labour market like the current times. It can cost two to three times the first year’s salary to replace someone. This calculation is based on what you would have spent on advertising, recruiting, onboarding and training the new hire. It also includes the loss of productivity. The chart below demonstrates that it’s worth your while to spend time and effort on onboarding and acclimatising the new hire.

graph-cost to value of an employee

A study by Digitate indicated that a negative onboarding experience makes employees twice as likely to move jobs in the future. If a new hire walks out of a role because of a negative onboarding experience, it will effectively double your cost and time to hire. The data given below clearly demonstrate why you should have a structured approach to your virtual onboarding process.

  • Organisations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 per cent.
  • According to research done by the Corporate Leadership Council, a positive onboarding process increases productivity by about 20 per cent when they’re subjected to an effective staff onboarding programme.
  • A study by Wynhurst Group indicates that newly-hired staff are 58 per cent more likely to work at their respective companies if a well-structured employee onboarding practice is put in place.
  • According to Human Capital Institute (HCI), 87 per cent of organisations that have a buddy programme as part of their onboarding process say that it’s an effective way to improve new hire proficiency.

In fact, the efficiency of your new hire process could even impact your ability to attract employee referrals. A study by Digitate indicates that only 20 per cent of new hires are likely to recommend an employer after a mediocre onboarding experience. This is a huge loss for the organisation as employee referrals are a very reliable pipeline for suitable candidates.

The million dollar question!

So, how does a good onboarding process impact your offer to joining ratio and retention?

    It enables you to give clear direction and optimise the performance of new hires.

    It is to your advantage that your new hire joins the mainstream as early as possible and becomes productive. An AI powered onboarding platform would introduce new hires to your systems and processes quickly and efficiently.

    It helps set short-term goals for new employees and keeps them engaged.

    If new hires are left to fend for themselves, they will lose interest and eventually start looking for new jobs. A virtual onboarding process that keeps in constant touch with the new hire and helps them set short-term goals will keep them engaged and connected with the organisation. This also helps in optimising their productivity from the get-go.

    It increases employee motivation and efficiency

It increases employee motivation and efficiency

    Businesses can lose billions of dollars because of ineffective staff onboarding. New hires who fail to understand their job descriptions are one of the main reasons for this loss. A well- designed virtual onboarding process reduces the costs associated with staff training. It also increases employee motivation and efficiency.

    It builds a sense of community

    Some companies throw their new hires into the deep end without any training. This is not the most efficient way of onboarding a valuable resource. Virtual onboarding processes where the manager introduces the new hire to teammates and shows them the ropes is a much more effective practice. It makes new hires feel more comfortable in their new environment and gives them a sense of belonging to a community. A smooth onboarding process increases the chances of retaining the new hire.

    A recent HBR article states, “Organisations with a standardised onboarding process experience 62 per cent greater new hire productivity, along with 50 per cent greater new hire retention.” If you want to reap the benefits of the hard work you put into recruiting top talent, you need to invest in a top of the line virtual onboarding solution. The Hirepro onboarding platform offers a great virtual onboarding experience.