Interview: How to Prevent Employee Turnovers Through Onboarding

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For this interview post, I talked with Tim Rowley, the CTO of PeopleCaddie. He is an expert in human resources and employment, but he also has knowledge in the IT sector. Rowley received his undergraduate degree at MIT and his MBA from Stanford. 

Today’s topic of discussion is how IT and HR departments can help companies improve their retention rates by providing a great onboarding experience. Keep reading to discover some helpful strategies that will improve your retention rates.

Q: What do effective onboarding processes in our current labor economy look like?

“Like the change we’ve seen broadly in the work environment, onboarding processes have also shifted to being more remote. While easy, flexible, and quite often necessary, there is not sufficient research yet to conclusively support that remote onboarding is as effective as traditional on-site onboarding.”

Q: What are the benefits of having a good onboarding process?

“You never get a second chance to make a strong first impression. The onboarding process is an opportunity to start the employee journey off right and convert employees to strong ambassadors for the organization.

“The onboarding process should also arm the new employees with a set of relationships (resources, mentors, etc.) and tools that they can use to quickly course correct if anything goes awry.”

Q: How can HR and IT create an onboarding and offboarding experience that promotes support amongst new and leaving employees?

“Even when operating within a remote/hybrid environment, HR and IT should strive to onboard new employees in classes/groups whenever possible. In addition to the operational efficiencies, this approach creates shared experiences and fosters relationships that can lead to a stronger bond to the employer. The onboarding experience can also be a great opportunity to engage each new employee’s team. Getting all parties to understand that the success of the individual is critical to the success of the team can lead to a highly collaborative and high-performing team culture.

“Even offboarding should be viewed as a value creation opportunity. In today’s labor market, employees that depart often return as contractors or even as regular permanent employees – contingent upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the departure.

“The departing employees’ company knowledge and relationships make them highly attractive alumni of the organization, who can be tapped as a source of contingent labor and referrals. That said, companies should strive to create and/or preserve as much goodwill as possible – particularly when social media empowers disgruntled ex-employees to leave negative reviews that can have a chilling effect on a company’s reputation.”

Q: Where do most companies go wrong in the onboarding process?

“I think companies typically engage HR and the employee’s direct supervisor but often fail to get ample involvement from the employee’s full team. These team members will be critical to the employee’s success.”

Q: What are some aspects every onboarding process should include?

“On the information side, the onboarding process should include a thorough review of the company’s history, mission, values, organizational structure, benefits, and systems access.

“The other purpose of the onboarding process should be establishing a strong first impression and fostering the team connections that will be critical to the new employee’s success.”

Q: Do you have tips on how HR and IT can work together to have a good onboarding experience?

“I believe that HR should own the onboarding experience, but increasingly HR Tech solutions are critical to enabling an effective onboarding experience. This is particularly true in a remote environment. As with other technology solutions, once HR has defined the desired experience, IT should design and build a solution that meets HR’s requirements with HR having the final sign-off.”

“If the company has multiple employees working remotely in a particular geographic area, try to get these employees involved in the onboarding process, possibly even face-to-face. This could complement the remote onboarding process so that employees will not feel like they are alone on an island.”

Q: What policies can be implemented from an HR and IT perspective to foster a strong company culture?

“HR can leverage IT to ensure that a company’s history, mission, and values are clearly communicated and regularly reinforced. This knowledge is the foundation of strong company culture. For example, employees can be required to periodically take training courses wherein these topics are covered.

These training materials can also contain profiles of senior leaders who are modeling the culture, as companies – particularly smaller companies – are often a cult of personality, where the actions/behavior of founders and/or senior leaders strongly influence the overall company culture.

“IT solutions can also be utilized to measure employee satisfaction, capture important employee feedback, and communicate actions taken in response to the feedback so that employees feel their opinions are truly valued. Employee satisfaction and engagement should be measured on a routine basis, which can be easily facilitated with the right IT solutions.”

Q: As technology in the workplace continues to evolve, related explicitly to hybrid work models, how can IT and HR professionals get creative to involve employees and welcome them into the culture? 

“IT can be used to monitor an employee’s activity and engagement. Is the employee connecting with other employees? Is the employee actively utilizing tools that the company has provided? A lack of activity and engagement can be an early indicator that things are not going according to plan. This could be a signal for appropriate interventions to get the employee back on track before the situation worsens.”

Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

“Advocacy is critically important. Where possible, new employees should be connected with mentors and/or support resources as quickly as possible.”

Coming up with a great onboarding process is key to keeping the new employees that you spent your time sourcing, recruiting, and hiring.

If you’re struggling to hire new employees, is here to help. We have recruiting solutions that can help you through every stage of the recruitment process.

If you want to start finding qualified candidates, contact us today to figure out what solution would be the best option for you.


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By Alyssa Harmon