When does the onboarding process end?

Recruitment, onboarding and training: Are they pieces of the same process, or distinct mechanisms?

Recruitment, onboarding and training: Are they pieces of the same process, or distinct mechanisms? While it's true that every company will have a unique answer to this question, it's an important one to ask. Without a clear understanding of who is responsible for hiring, onboarding and coaching new hires, the risk of talent attrition is significant.

In fact, HR Dive reported that 28% of new hires quit within their first 90 days on the job. The reasons for premature departure vary from unmet expectations to misalignment with company culture. There is a clear opportunity for stakeholders to improve employee retention rates during the first quarter of employment.

Why recruiting, onboarding and training shouldn't be siloed

Often, onboarding is dismissed as a process separate from training. Employees watch a quick video or slideshow demonstrating the company mission statement before being turned loose on their first assignment.

Ideally, recruitment stakeholders, hiring managers and training supervisors will be aligned on how best to onboard candidates. Even before the first day of work, new hires interact with recruiters to learn about the organization as well as demonstrate the value they can bring to the company. This information can inform the onboarding process, but only if internal stakeholders are willing to collaborate. By tearing down silos between these processes, new hires will have a more consistent experience with their new employer.

"Recruiting and training are ongoing and cyclical processes, both of which impact the onboarding experience," says Edward Darisse, Solutions Partnership Director with Beacon Hill's Solutions Division. "If you are in a recruiting role, it is important to stay close to new hires even after they have signed their offer letter. As the first point of contact with them, you play a key role in answering questions and easing concerns early on. Fostering a positive onboarding experience helps improve retention, speeds up training, and makes it easier to attract new talent."

The onboarding process should have clear, tangible goals.

How informal onboarding sets a poor precedent

Startups and small businesses often run into a complicated problem: They don't have a formal onboarding process. New employees arrive on their first day and have to learn the ropes through osmosis - they watch what other employees are doing and figure out the policies as they go. There's no one to teach them about the company mission statement, standard procedures or to make introductions with senior staff members.

In these cases, there's no question as to when the onboarding process ends, because it never really begins. A formal process is necessary to help new employees settle in to the new job. According to HR Dive, 89% of new hires want to meet their new managers on the first day. Something as simple as making key introductions can keep the onboarding process moving smoothly.

Formal doesn't have to mean stuffy or boring. Onboarding can be fun and personalized, but it also needs to have structure. Research from the Wynhurst Group indicated that employees who participate in structured onboarding are 58% more likely to remain with the organization after three years. A process that is too informal can drive away new hires or reduce the effectiveness of training materials.

How managers can determine when new hires are ready

So when does onboarding end? When are employees considered fully ramped up and ready to take charge of their job responsibilities?

Consider this quote that is often attributed to Albert Einstein: "If you cannot explain a concept to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."

In other words, a person cannot be considered a master of a subject if they cannot communicate complicated ideas to non-specialists. This concept can apply to any job, and it represents a key way to determine when employees are ready to exit the onboarding process. Ideally, effective employees will be able to mentor and guide new hires just as they were once counseled by more senior team members. This goal is more tangible than simply waiting until employees finish their training materials. If employees can teach another qualified person to do the job, they're ready for the big show.

While there's no hard and fast answer to how long the onboarding process should last, hiring managers need to pay close attention to new employee job satisfaction during their first 90 days on the job. Clear and measurable goals can help managers, HR stakeholders and employees to stay on the same page.

To learn more about how to optimize your hiring process, check out our resource center today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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