February 11, 2013

SHRM Finds Onboarding Necessary for Job Transition, Retention

newspaper graphicDespite the proven effectiveness of onboarding programs, many organizations fail to provide such programs and are worse off for it. According to a recent report by the Society of Human Resource Management Foundation (SHRM), about half of hourly workers resign within the first four months in a position while half of senior outside hires resign within 18 months. But the report also shows that successful onboarding improves job satisfaction, lowers turnover, increases performance levels, reduces stress, and leads to better career effectiveness.

An effective onboarding process, the report found, includes not only HR but also managers. While HR should handle tasks, such as orientation and benefits enrollment, managers should be responsible for ensuring an employee understands his or her role, job expectations, and other responsibilities. SHRM also found that making the first day of employment a special time effectively improves short-term retention rates. A positive first impression, particularly during the first two weeks, is crucial for an employee’s future and retention.

SHRM suggests employers remember that the onboarding process does not end after only a few weeks. Indeed, the report states that it usually takes about six months for an employee to routinize his or her job and feel more comfortable in the new position. During this time, managers should be involved in culturally assimilating the employee for a smoother transition. Onboarding process may be most effective even up to one year after the hire.

“The company and hiring manager spend so much time recruiting, interviewing and hiring,” Lisa Orndorff, manager of employee relations and engagement for SHRM said. “The last thing you want is for your No. 1 choice to leave because they didn’t feel like they fit in.”

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.