Pre-boarding? There’s a new gold standard to retain new hires

Top employers are already embracing a new onboarding roadmap

5 minutes

June 21, 2023 Adecco

Portrait of an young woman sitting in the classroom

You found the perfect new hire, but is your team ready to keep them? When it comes to retaining a new worker, a well-executed onboarding process is key.

However, many managers still rely on only a half-day of training. That sink-or-swim approach might be the easiest route for supervisors, but in reality, it’s a fast way to alienate and lose that new hire you spent months searching for.

One study found that up to 20% of new hires resigned within the first 45 days.

Improving your new hire process starts by implementing a few simple steps – from investing in a pre-boarding program, selecting an onboarding buddy, or fostering an internal network.

1. Leverage the power of pre-boarding

Managers don’t need to wait until a start date to begin onboarding. Invest in pre-boarding and engage new employees before their official start date. Send welcome emails and provide early access to training materials.

Pre-boarding is a critical part of our toolbox. When one of our clients needed more than 1,000 customer service agents hired in four months, we instituted several touchpoints before and during their assignment. The result? Our customer saw a 37% increase in their show-up rate.

2. Define onboarding at your organization

Before you start overhauling your process, start by examining your onboarding definition. Onboarding refers to the process of integrating and orienting new employees into an organization. It is a critical step that sets the stage for their success and retention, but it needs to be structured specifically to your business and workflow.

Establish a timeline that spans weeks, not days. For our customer above, our communications with associates continued throughout their assignment – which helped lead to a 95% retention rate. Your onboarding should include the standard training necessary for the role, like safety guidelines or best practices, but it should also include discussions on company culture and values.

3. Create an onboarding buddy program

One effective way to support new hires during their onboarding journey is by assigning them an onboarding buddy. An onboarding buddy is an experienced employee who acts as a mentor, providing guidance, answering questions, and offering support. This relationship helps new employees feel more connected and accelerates their integration into the company culture.

Microsoft has become one of the biggest advocates of the onboarding buddy system. They’ve reported that new hires in the program were 23% more satisfied with the overall onboarding experience after the first week. The tech giant also saw a 36% increase in satisfaction after 90 days, a critical improvement when the US labor participation rate is stubbornly low.

4. Establish clear expectations

Clarity is crucial when it comes to setting role expectations for new hires. During the onboarding process, provide detailed information about their responsibilities, goals, and how their work contributes to your organization as a whole.

Clearly defining performance metrics and communicating available resources will empower new employees to thrive in their roles, but workers also want to know how they fit into the larger picture. A recent study found that more than half of young workers are questioning the purpose of their careers, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect with your new hire deeper.

5. Foster internal relationships and networking

Relationship-building plays a significant role in new hire retention. Regularly hold team-building activities, social events, or mentorship opportunities. These initiatives allow new hires to interact with colleagues, build connections, and feel a sense of belonging. Plus, promoting collaboration and cross-functional interactions enhances engagement and reduces turnover.

This can be a massive benefit for Gen Z employees. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing economic turbulence, new graduates are uncertain about their future. Mentorship and internal coaching opportunities are a great way to engage your young new hires.

Let’s talk about your turnover.

An effective onboarding process is crucial for retaining new hires and ensuring their long-term success within an organization. By defining onboarding, leveraging pre-boarding techniques, assigning onboarding buddies, and focusing on clear expectations, training, and relationship-building, you can enhance new hire retention and foster a positive work environment.

Reimagining your onboarding process is no easy feat. At Adecco, we have experience helping our clients from recruiting to onboarding to retention. Check out some of our more recent success stories, or reach out to us today to go over your staffing challenges.