New employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in an organisation
22 per cent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days
90 per cent of new employees make their decision to stay at a company within the first six months on the job.
Talya Bauer, Cameron Professor of Management at Portland State University, United States, who presented the keynote address at the Australian Psychological Society’s Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference in Perth a few years ago, says ‘with the high cost of recruiting, business leaders must understand that effectively integrating new employees into the organisation is an important step to ensure their success’.
Professor Bauer says in Fortune 500 companies alone it is estimated that 500,000 new managers move into new roles or companies each year, and that an estimated half of all senior hires fail within 18 months on the job. She also says that for hourly workers, turnover is a major problem in the first three months where approximately 50 per cent leave their jobs.
‘Losing an employee who is a poor fit or not performing well may be fine, but losing employees because they are confused, feel alienated or lack confidence indicates inadequate onboarding,’ says Prof Bauer.
‘Good onboarding leads to good retention rates.’
Onboarding is the process through which new employees learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviours required to function effectively within the organisation.
Professor Bauer says organisations should have a written, step-by-step, onboarding program that outlines specific timelines, what employees should do, what assistance they should expect and from whom.
‘The key is to engage important stakeholders and new employees in interactions that help them understand one another and how they interact over time,’ she says.
Professor Bauer says organisations should use milestones, such as 30, 60, 90 and 120 days on the job — and up to one year post job commencement — to check on employee progress.
‘After 90 days in the job people think they are set and ready to go, but research shows that organisations that check-in early have a chance to identify potential problems,’ she says.
Employees who are adjusting well to the onboarding process will show self confidence in the job, role clarity, good social integration and good knowledge and fit within the organisational culture. In the long-term, this leads to higher job satisfaction, organisational commitment, lower turnover, higher performance levels, career effectiveness and lowered stress.
Professor Bauer (Ph.D., Purdue University) is the Cameron Professor of Management at Portland State University. Dr. Bauer is an award-winning teacher and researcher. She conducts research about relationships at work. More specifically, she works in the areas of new hire onboarding, recruitment, selection, overqualification, mentoring, and leadership which have resulted in numerous journal publications discussing research-based onboarding best practice.